Four spices from Indian establishments banned in Singapore and Hong Kong

  • Inclusion of spices from reputed establishments MDH and Everest
  • Claims that spices can cause cancer
  • Testing of these spices will also be done in India

New Delhi – The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) always urges to buy packaged spices from reputed establishments while buying spices, but the food safety regulators of Singapore and Hong Kong have alleged that MDH and Everest masalas containing pesticide ‘ethylene oxide’ beyond permissible limits. It has been claimed that these spices can cause cancer.

A report by the Centre for Food Safety of Hong Kong’s Department of Food and Environmental Sanitation said that ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing pesticide, was found more than allowed limits in the products of the famous spices ‘MDH’ and ‘Everest’. It has been found that 4 spices namely Madras Curry Powder, Sambar Masala Mixed Masala Powder, Curry Powder Mixed Masala Powder and Everest Fish Curry Masala of Everest. However, both the above establishments have not given any statement regarding this.

After banning these spices in Hong Kong and Singapore, India’s FSSAI asked states to test branded spices amid quality concerns. Nepal has also taken this step.

What is ‘Ethylene oxide’ ?

According to the National Cancer Institute, ethylene oxide is a flammable colourless gas. It smells sweet. It is used in very small quantities as an insecticide and disinfectant. This pesticide is used to preserve many things. For this reason, tobacco, some medical products, cosmetics and some tools used in beekeeping may also contain this ingredient. Exposure to ethylene oxide increases the risk of various types of cancer. These include lymphoma, leukaemia, stomach cancer and breast cancer.