" "

After Singapore, Hong Kong bans India's Everest, MDH spices; Here's the single reason

Jaya Vishwakarma
Updated On
New Update
Hong Kong bans India's Everest, MDH spices

Hong Kong's Centre for Food Safety (CFS) has issued a ban on four spice products from Indian brands MDH and Everest due to contamination with ethylene oxide, a pesticide recognized as a carcinogen.

Last week, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) recalled India's 'Everest fish curry masala' due to the presence of ethylene oxide. 

Products and health risks identified


On April 5, CFS detected this chemical in MDH's Madras Curry Powder, Mixed Masala Powder, Sambhar Masala, and Everest's Fish Curry Masala as part of its routine food surveillance program.

Ethylene oxide, the pesticide found in these spices, is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a Group 1 carcinogen, indicating a proven risk of cancer such as lymphoma and breast cancer.

Regulatory response and measures

Following the discovery, the Hong Kong authorities informed retailers to remove the contaminated spices from shelves, emphasizing the severe health risks associated with them.

In Singapore, the SFA has directed Sp Muthiah & Sons Pte. Ltd., the importer, to conduct a thorough recall of the affected Everest product. Both regions have highlighted the illegal status of ethylene oxide in food products and warned of significant penalties for violations.

Ethylene oxide presence is contrary to Hong Kong's food safety regulations, which disallow food with pesticide residues above specified safe limits.

The Authorities in Hong Kong and Singapore advise consumers to avoid using the affected products. While the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) clarified that there is no immediate risk from low levels of ethylene oxide, prolonged consumption could pose health risks due to the chemical's carcinogenic properties.

Previous incidents and consumer concerns

This is not the first instance where MDH and Everest products have faced international scrutiny. Last year, the U.S. FDA requested the recall of several MDH masalas due to Salmonella contamination.

The repeat offences raise significant concerns about the safety standards and regulatory compliance of Indian spice exports. 

What did FSSAI say?

According to media reports, The food safety regulator, FSSAI, has reportedly ordered quality checks on major branded spices, including popular brands like MDH and Everest.

FSSAI has deployed state food commissioners and issued orders to collect samples from the manufacturing units of major spice brands across the country. The report said these samples will be sent to accredited testing laboratories to detect the pesticide ethylene oxide.

Additionally, the report mentioned that while FSSAI regularly conducts quality checks on products available in the domestic market, it does not regulate the quality of spices intended for export.