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US FDA gathering information on Indian spices after alleged contamination

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Photo of a pack of spices from Everest spices (left) and MDH spices | Photo: Everest spices website and MDH website


-The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is gathering information on products of Indian spice makers MDH and Everest after Hong Kong halted sales of some of their products for allegedly containing high levels of a cancer-causing pesticide.


“The FDA is aware of the reports and is gathering additional information about the situation,” an FDA spokesperson told Reuters on Friday.


Hong Kong this month suspended sales of three MDH spice blends and an Everest spice mix for fish curries. Singapore ordered a recall of the Everest spice mix as well, saying it contains high levels of ethylene oxide, which is unfit for human consumption and a cancer risk with long exposure.


Reuters is the first to report the US FDA’s review of alleged contamination of Indian spice products.


MDH and Everest did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment on this matter.


Everest has previously said its spices are safe for consumption. MDH has not responded to queries about its products so far.


MDH and Everest spices are among the most popular in India and are also sold in Europe, Asia and North America. India’s food regulator, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), is now checking the quality standards of the two companies, following the moves in Hong Kong and Singapore.


India’s Spices Board, the government’s regulator for spice exports, said on Wednesday it had sought data on MDH and Everest exports from authorities in Hong Kong and Singapore, and was working with the companies to find the “root cause” of the quality issues as inspections started at their plants.


In 2019, a few batches of MDH’s products were recalled in the US for salmonella contamination.


(Reporting by Rishika Sadam; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Tom Hogue)

First Published: Apr 27 2024 | 12:29 PM IST

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