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Hong Kong and Singapore Issue Recall of Indian Spice Products Over Safety Concerns

Hong Kong and Singapore Issue Recall of Indian Spice Products Over Safety Concerns

Gangtokian News Desk: Hong Kong and Singapore have recently announced a recall of certain Indian spice products due to safety concerns, raising alarm over potential health risks associated with these popular items. The recall comes after routine food surveillance conducted by the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) in Hong Kong revealed the presence of ethylene oxide, a pesticide classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, in four products from renowned Indian brands MDH and Everest.

The affected products include MDH’s curry powder, mixed masala powder, and sambhar masala, as well as Everest’s Fish Curry Masala. In response to these findings, regulatory authorities in both regions have taken swift action, instructing vendors to cease sales and remove the implicated products from shelves.

According to the Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation (Cap. 132CM), food containing pesticide residue may only be sold if it is not deemed dangerous to health. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines and imprisonment.

Singapore’s food regulator, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), has directed the importer of Everest’s Fish Curry Masala to initiate a comprehensive recall of the affected products. While immediate health risks from consuming food with low levels of ethylene oxide are minimal, prolonged exposure to this substance may lead to serious health issues, including an increased risk of cancer.

This is not the first time Indian spice products have come under scrutiny in international markets. Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested Everest Food Products to recall certain items due to contamination with Salmonella, a bacteria known to cause foodborne illnesses.

Dr. Cyriac Abby Philips, a Kerala-based liver specialist, has voiced concerns over India’s food safety standards in light of these incidents. He emphasized the importance of stricter regulations and increased accountability to ensure the safety of food products, particularly those intended for export.

In response to regulatory action in Hong Kong and Singapore, Everest Food Products has reassured consumers of the safety of its spices. Rajiv Shah, company director, stated that their products undergo rigorous quality checks and receive necessary clearances and approvals from the laboratories of the Spice Board of India before export. He emphasized that Everest’s spices are safe for consumption, dismissing concerns raised by regulatory authorities.

As investigations into the presence of ethylene oxide in Indian spices continue, consumers are advised to refrain from consuming the implicated products. Those who have already consumed these products and have health concerns are urged to seek prompt medical advice.

The spotlight on Indian spice companies Everest and MDH underscores the importance of maintaining stringent food safety standards and regulatory oversight to protect public health and consumer confidence in the global food supply chain.

Gangtokian Web Team, 23/04/2024

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