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International agency finds cancer-causing chemicals in popular Indian spice brands

Vaseline 4 weeks ago

Recently, a report published on April 5 on the official website of Hong Kong’s food regulatory body, the Center for Food Safety (CFS), stated that three spice products in India contained cancer-causing chemicals containing a pesticide known as ethylene oxide . Here’s everything you need to know about this shocking report.

The report
Food regulators in Hong Kong and Singapore released a report in the first week of April, warning the masses not to add spice products from India as they had been tested with carcinogen ethylene oxide. The herbal list includes three herbal products from two major Indian companies, MDH, and one from Everest, which have exceeded the permissible limit for chemicals. However, the companies have not responded to the report that levels exceed the permitted limit.


The spices and carcinogens
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified ethylene oxide as a ‘Group 1 carcinogen’. Hong Kong’s food regulatory agency said three spice products from MDH – Madras Curry Powder (spice blend for Madras Curry), Sambhar Masala (Mixed Masala Powder) and Curry Powder (Mixed Masala Powder) – along with Everest’s Fish Curry Masala contain a pesticide, ethylene oxide .

Also see:Benefits of Indian spices

This study was conducted as part of its routine food surveillance program. The CFS sourced the products from three stores in Hong Kong. “Test results showed the samples contained a pesticide, ethylene oxide,” a CVS spokesperson said.


To expand

According to a report by IANS, it was stated that the regulator directed the sellers to “stop sales and withdraw the affected products from the shelves”.

“Under the Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation (Cap. 132CM), food for human consumption containing pesticide residues may only be sold if the consumption of the food is not dangerous or injurious to health. If convicted, an offender faces a fine of up to $50,000 and a prison sentence of six months,” the CFS spokesperson said.
Also read: 7 spices used in South Indian dishes and their benefits

AS per CFS noted that “investigations are ongoing” and “appropriate action” may be taken in this case. Meanwhile, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has also ordered a recall of Everest’s Fish Curry Masala due to the presence of ethylene oxide at levels “exceeding the permissible limit”.

The SFA posted a press release on its website on April 18 stating that it had “resolved the importer, Sp Muthiah & Sons Pte. Ltd., to recall the products. The recall is still ongoing.”

The SFA noted in the report that ethylene oxide is not suitable for consumption but is “used to fumigate agricultural products to prevent microbial contamination.” However, according to Singapore food regulations, ethylene oxide “may be used in the sterilization of spices”.
It was also stated that there is no immediate risk from consuming foods low in ethylene oxide, but the carcinogenic properties of this pesticide can cause cancer cells if consumed for long periods of time and lead to long-term health risks. According to the SFA, exposure to the substance “should be minimized as much as possible”.
Also read: This herb has more health benefits than meat and vegetables