No Traces of Carcinogen Found in MDH, Everest, and Other Indian Spices: FSSAI

May 25, 2024

In a significant reassurance for consumers, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) announced that no traces of the carcinogen ethylene oxide (EtO) were found in tested samples of MDH, Everest, and other Indian spices. This announcement follows extensive testing in response to recent recalls in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Nepal.

Comprehensive Testing and Inspections

FSSAI, the apex food regulator, conducted a nationwide drive starting April 22, involving extensive inspections and sampling from spice manufacturing units. The initiative was launched after media reports highlighted the recall of certain MDH and Everest spice products due to impermissible levels of EtO, a pesticide classified as a Group 1 carcinogen.

Samples and Testing Parameters

  • Everest Spices: Nine samples from two manufacturing facilities in Maharashtra and Gujarat.
  • MDH Spices: Twenty-five samples from 11 facilities in Delhi, Haryana, and Rajasthan.

These samples underwent rigorous testing at NABL accredited laboratories for compliance with quality and safety parameters, including:

  • Quality Parameters: Moisture content, presence of insects, rodent contamination, volatile oil content, ash, acid insoluble ash.
  • Safety Parameters: Heavy metals (Lead, Cadmium, Copper, Tin, Arsenic, Mercury, Methyl mercury), aflatoxins, melamine, pesticide residues (230 types), microbiological content (Yeast and Mold Count, Enterobacteriaceae, Staphylococcus aureus, Aerobic Colony Count, Salmonella, Sulphite Reducing Clostridia, Bacillus cereus), and various additives.

Ethylene Oxide Analysis

The primary focus of the investigation was the presence of ethylene oxide. The 28 lab reports received so far, examined by FSSAI’s Scientific Panel, showed no traces of EtO. Additional test reports of over 300 samples from other brands also confirmed the absence of EtO.

Scientific Validation and Future Guidelines

The Scientific Panel comprised experts from various prestigious institutions including Spice Board, CSMCRI (Gujarat), Indian Spice Research Institute (Kerala), NIFTEM (Haryana), BARC (Mumbai), CMPAP (Lucknow), DRDO (Assam), ICAR, and National Research Centre on Grapes (Pune). The panel validated the findings and confirmed that the tested spices were free from EtO contamination.

To address microbial contamination concerns, the Spice Board of India has issued guidelines for exporters on using EtO as a fumigant according to importing countries’ standards.

This comprehensive testing and clear results provide significant reassurance about the safety and quality of Indian spices in the domestic market, following concerns raised by international recalls.

Share this:

Subscribe To Our Newsletter