Hong Kong and Singapore Ban MDH and Everest Spices Over Cancer-Causing Chemical

April 23, 2024

Hong Kong and Singapore have taken action against spice products from popular Indian brands MDH and Everest due to concerns over a cancer-causing chemical. Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety (CFS) detected ethylene oxide, a pesticide classified as a carcinogen, in several spice products.

The banned products include MDH’s Madras Curry Powder, Mixed Masala Powder, and Sambhar Masala, along with Everest’s Fish Curry Masala. These products were found to contain ethylene oxide residues exceeding safe limits, prompting the regulatory bodies to take swift action.

According to the Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety, these products were tested as part of their routine Food Surveillance Programme, revealing the presence of ethylene oxide. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies ethylene oxide as a Group 1 carcinogen, indicating its high risk of causing cancer.

Moreover, Singapore has also taken action regarding the Everest Fish Curry Masala, recalling it due to higher-than-permissible levels of ethylene oxide. While ethylene oxide is sometimes used to sanitize agricultural products, its presence in food products is not authorized, and long-term exposure can lead to health issues.

Both Hong Kong and Singapore have ordered the removal of the affected products from shelves and initiated investigations into the matter. While there is no immediate risk from low levels of ethylene oxide, continuous exposure to this chemical through food consumption could have detrimental effects on health.

Consumers are urged not to consume the implicated products and to minimize exposure to ethylene oxide as much as possible. The recalls highlight the importance of stringent food safety regulations and ongoing monitoring to ensure the safety of consumers worldwide.

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