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UK Tightens Controls on Indian Spice Imports Due to Contamination Concerns

Sat 18 May 2024    
The Brew News Team | < 1 min read

New Delhi: The UK has implemented stricter control measures on spice imports from India following reports of contamination with ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen.

This move by the UK’s Food Standards Agency is driven by concerns over pesticide residues. Similar actions have been taken by Hong Kong, which banned and recalled certain spices from Indian brands Everest and MDH, and Singapore, which recalled Everest’s fish curry spice mix. Investigations are also ongoing in New Zealand, the US, and Australia.

James Cooper, Deputy Director of Food Policy, told agencies, “The use of ethylene oxide is not allowed here and maximum residue levels are in place for herbs and spices,” However, the food safety regulator did not detail the specific measures being taken to scrutinize product quality.

An analysis by agencies of US regulatory data revealed that since 2021, an average of 14.5% of US shipments of MDH spices were rejected due to bacterial presence. Both Everest and MDH insist their products are safe.

In April, the Hong Kong food safety watchdog banned four spice products from MDH and Everest after detecting ethylene oxide. Following this, in May, Nepal’s Department of Food Technology and Quality Control also banned the import, consumption, and sale of these two Indian spice brands.

Despite these international concerns, the Indian government asserts that its standards are among the strictest globally. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) recently raised the maximum pesticide residue limit from 0.01 to 0.1 milligrams per kilogram to align with the Codex Alimentarius Commission standards where Indian norms are undefined.

Agency: Reuters

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