Indian brands MDH, Everest spices banned in Hong Kong, Singapore; here's why

The Centre for Food Safety, Hong Kong has published the list of banned Indian spice variants on its website

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Image used for representational purpose
Image used for representational purpose

Published: Mon 22 Apr 2024, 3:26 PM

Last updated: Mon 22 Apr 2024, 8:56 PM

Hong Kong has banned several products of MDH and one product of Everest, both popular Indian spice brands. The step comes after the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region reportedly detected ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing pesticide, in the spice variants.

In a statement dated April 5 on its website, the CFS, Hong Kong has published the list of banned spices: MDH’s Madras Curry Powder, Sambhar Masala Mixed Masala Powder and Curry Powder Mixed Masala Powder, and Everest’s Fish Curry Masala.


Ethylene oxide is recognised as a cancer-causing substance by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

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According to the CFS, it had collected food samples from three stores in Tsim Sha Tsui for regular testing and found ethylene oxide in them. The CFS then directed the stores to remove these products from their shelves.

The distributors and importers have already started recalling these products.

According to food safety laws, foods with pesticide residues can only be sold if they are safe to eat. If someone breaks this rule, they could face up to a $50,000 fine and six months in jail, the CFS added.

Meanwhile, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) recalled Everest Fish Curry Masala on April 18 "due to the presence of ethylene oxide exceeding permissible limits".

“Ethylene oxide is a pesticide that is not authorised for use in food. It can be used to fumigate agricultural products to prevent microbial contamination. Under Singapore’s Food Regulations, ethylene oxide is allowed to be used in the sterilisation of spices," the Singapore SFA said in a media release on its website.

“Consumers who have purchased the implicated products are advised not to consume it. Those who have consumed the implicated products and have concerns about their health should seek medical advice," it added.

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