News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay  » Business » FSSAI launches probe into MDH and Everest products

FSSAI launches probe into MDH and Everest products

By Sanjeeb Mukherjee & Sharleen D'Souza
April 23, 2024 17:12 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has commissioned a quality check on MDH and Everest products.


Photograph: MDH/Facebook

This follows complaints that several popular spice mixes of the two leading brands contained traces of ethylene oxide more than the permissible levels, official sources said.

This move by FSSAI comes after Hong Kong and Singapore recalled variants of the two masala majors’ products in their countries.


Sources said that FSSAI, in the quality checks, will also assess whether the products sold by MDH and Everest match the Indian standards of chemical residue as prescribed by the law.

However, on exports, sources said the regulator may not have much role to play as it is the duty of the importing country to test the products and allow their entry.

Ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol are chemicals which are used in spices and millets to preserve them for longer periods.

They are also used in pesticides as stabilising agents.

Scientists said that consumption of these chemicals beyond a permissible level could be carcinogenic.

Meanwhile, the sources said the food regulator has already started the process of sample collection to test the presence of ethylene oxide in the spices beyond their permissible limits.

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department of Hong Kong had recalled spice mixes of MDH and Everest on April 5. Following this, even the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) recalled Everest Masala. Both agencies found that the premixes contain a pesticide ethylene oxide, both the regulators had said in their press releases.

CFS Hong Kong said, in its release, that it has recalled MDH Madras Curry Powder, Curry Powder Mixed Masala Powder, Sambhar Masala Mixed Masala Powder and Everest Fish Curry Masala.

After CFS’ release on April 5, SFA also recalled Everest Fish Curry Masala on April 18.

A spokesman for the CFS had said in its release, “The CFS collected the above-mentioned samples from three retail outlets in Tsim Sha Tsui, respectively, for testing under its routine Food Surveillance Programme.

"The test results showed that the samples contained a pesticide, ethylene oxide.” It added, “The CFS has informed the vendors concerned of the irregularities and instructed them to stop sale and remove the affected products from the shelves.

"According to the CFS's instructions, the distributors/importers concerned have initiated recalls on the affected products.”

It also added that members of the public should not consume the affected products.

The trade should also stop using or selling the affected products immediately if they possess any of them.

While SFA said that as the implicated products were imported into Singapore, it directed the importer, Sp Muthiah & Sons Pte, to recall the products.

It added that the recall is ongoing.

“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,” SFA said in its release.

It also said that although there is no immediate risk to consuming food contaminated with low levels of ethylene oxide, long-term exposure may lead to health issues.

CFS also said in its statement, “The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified ethylene oxide as a Group 1 carcinogen.”

This is not the first time Everest has come under heat from a foreign food regulator.

In 2023, US Food & Drug Administration recalled Everest Sambhar Masala and Garam Masala as samples tested positive for Salmonella.

It advised consumers not to consume the products and destroy them.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
Sanjeeb Mukherjee & Sharleen D'Souza
Source: source

Moneywiz Live!