Nepal bans Everest, MDH Masala brands, starts test for cancer-causing chemical

The Spice Board of India has taken steps to ensure the safety and quality of Indian spice exports to these regions


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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Published: Thu 16 May 2024, 9:04 PM

Nepal's Department of Food Technology and Quality Control has banned the import, consumption and sale of two Indian spice brands, Everest and MDH, as it starts test for levels of ethylene oxide, an official confirmed to ANI.

Nepal has banned these two spice brands after the news about high levels of ethylene oxide traces in their products.

"Everest and MDH brand spices, which are being imported in Nepal, have been banned from import. This comes after the news about traces of harmful chemicals in the spices. The ban on import was imposed a week earlier and we also have banned the sales of it in the market," Mohan Krishna Maharjan, spokesperson of Nepal's Department of Food Technology and Quality Control told ANI over the phone.

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"Tests are underway for the chemicals in the spices of these two particular brands. The ban will remain in place until the final report comes up. Hong Kong and Singapore have already banned it, this move comes following their move," Maharjan added in a telephone conversation with ANI.

Indian Government sources told ANI that the use of EtO is allowed in different countries from 0.73 per cent to up to 7 per cent.

Government sources said a standard should be devised for the use of EtO by different countries. Also, the spices banned in these countries are less than one per cent of India's total spice exports.

Meanwhile, the Spice Board of India has taken steps to ensure the safety and quality of Indian spice exports to these regions.

The board has implemented the recommendations of the Techno-Scientific Committee, which conducted the root cause analysis, inspected processing facilities, and collected samples for testing in accredited labs.

The Spice Board of India also organised a stakeholder consultation involving over 130 exporters and associations, such as the All India Spices Exporters Forum and the Indian Spice and Foodstuff Exporters' Association.

The board has also issued guidelines for the EtO treatment to all exporters. The spice board has taken these steps to prevent EtO contamination in spices exported from India.

In April, the Hong Kong food safety watchdog banned four spice products of Indian brands MDH and Everest after they found they contained cancer-causing chemicals, ethylene oxide.

The Centre for Food Safety of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region announced on April 5 that routine surveillance programmes had uncovered the presence of ethylene oxide in three spices from MDH Group, Sambhar Masala Powder, and Curry Powder.


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