Nepal to Examine Indian Spice Brands for Carcinogenic Pesticide

MDH Everest Masala carcinogenic pesticide

Nepal’s food regulatory authority, the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control, has announced plans to test samples of popular Indian spice brands MDH and Everest Masala.

This move comes after Hong Kong and Singapore banned the sale of certain products from these brands due to the alleged presence of the carcinogenic pesticide ethylene oxide beyond permissible limits.

Dr. Matina Joshi Vaidhya, Director General of the department, stated, “We will test [the products] to determine the level of pesticides they contain. Necessary action will be taken if the said products exceed acceptable pesticide limits.”

The controversy erupted when Hong Kong’s food regulatory agency found that three MDH products – Madras Curry Powder, Sambhar Masala Mixed Masala Powder, and Curry Powder Mix Masala Powder – as well as Everest’s Fish Curry Masala, contained ethylene oxide.

This pesticide is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, meaning it is known to cause cancer in humans.

Following Hong Kong’s lead, the Singapore Food Agency also ordered the recall of Everest’s Fish Curry Masala from the market due to the presence of the prohibited pesticide beyond acceptable limits.

Widespread Availability and Popularity
MDH and Everest Spices are two of the largest Indian spice producers and exporters, with their products widely available and popular in Nepal. Experts have expressed concern over the presence of ethylene oxide in these spices, as it poses a potential health risk to consumers.

Vaidhya emphasized that countries have their own acceptable limits for pesticide use, and if the tested products are found to exceed Nepal’s limits, the department will direct the relevant authorities to take appropriate action.
Consumer rights activists in Nepal have demanded an immediate recall of the tainted products from the market, citing the potential health hazards associated with the consumption of ethylene oxide-contaminated spices.

Ensuring Food Safety
The Nepalese government’s decision to test the Indian spice brands underscores the importance of maintaining strict food safety standards and protecting public health. As the investigation unfolds, consumers are advised to stay informed about any product recalls or advisories issued by the authorities.

Ensuring the safety of food products, particularly those widely consumed, is a crucial responsibility for regulatory bodies. The outcome of Nepal’s investigation into the Indian spice brands will likely have implications for the broader regional market and could potentially lead to further scrutiny of food production practices.

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