Food regulators flag ‘cancer-causing’ ingredient in MDH, Everest spices

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Medlarge Lifestyle
Iethylene oxide in spices

Food regulators based in Hong Kong and Singapore have warned people against using four products from two big spice brands MDH and Everest species. A total of three products from MDH and one from Everest have been asked to withdraw products over the presence of ethylene oxide at “levels exceeding the permissible limit”.

An advisory has also been issued to consumers, warning of high levels of ethylene oxide, a recognized Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Understanding the Concern

A report by Business Standard states that MDH’s Madras Curry Powder, Sambar Masala, and Curry Powder, as well as Everest’s Fish Curry Masala, contain notable amounts of the pesticide ethylene oxide. Following these findings, further statements and comments from MDH and Everest Foods are pending.

How Was This Discovered?

The discovery was made during routine inspections by the CFS, which sampled these products from three retail stores in Hong Kong. The findings prompted immediate actions to halt sales and remove the products from shelves. According to a CFS spokesperson, only food products free of adverse health effects are permissible for sale, and violations could lead to a fine of up to $50,000 and six months in prison. The CFS has indicated that further investigations are ongoing and necessary actions will be taken as required.

Why Did Singapore React?

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has also ordered a recall of Everest Fish Curry Masala due to ethylene oxide levels exceeding safe limits. Although the SFA mentioned that ethylene oxide at low levels does not pose an immediate threat, prolonged exposure can be hazardous. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ethylene oxide can potentially cause cancer in humans.

Following this report, Indian doctors have urged the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to conduct similar investigations in India. This situation highlights the importance of stringent safety measures and regular monitoring of food products to protect public health.