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MDH and Everest Spice Brands Under Fire for Ethylene Oxide Contamination

Overview: Concerns Raised

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) in Hong Kong has taken action against famous Indian spice brands MDH and Everest following the alleged detection of the carcinogenic pesticide ethylene oxide in several spice mixes. This action comes after a similar notification by Singapore on April 18.

Ethylene oxide causes cancer and is not suitable for human consumption. On April 5, the CFS disclosed its results, which showed that the quantities of ethylene oxide in several spice goods exceeded Hong Kong norms. Under Hong Kong’s Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation (Cap. 132CM), selling food with pesticide residues beyond acceptable levels is legally forbidden.

The CFS revelation

According to CFS, “A food for human consumption containing pesticide residue may only be marketed if eating is neither harmful nor detrimental to health.” The presence of ethylene oxide in the spice products violated this regulation, prompting immediate action from the food safety watchdog.


The CFS revealed that routine surveillance programs had uncovered the presence of ethylene oxide in three spice mixes from MDH Group – Madras Curry Powder, Sambhar Masala Powder, and Curry Powder. The affected products were collected from retail outlets in Tsim Sha Tsui for testing under its routine Food Surveillance Programme.


Regulatory Actions

In response to the findings, the CFS has instructed the vendors concerned to cease the sale and remove the affected products from shelves. Similarly, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) had previously recalled India’s ‘Everest fish curry masala’ due to the presence of ethylene oxide beyond permissible limits, advising against its consumption.

Everest, founded by the late Vadilal Bhai Shah, is India’s largest spice brand of pure and blended spices. The company operates in more than 80 countries worldwide. In a media release, the company highlighted its commitment to thorough tests before delivery and export, including quality inspection by the Spice Board of India. The company declared its commitment to adhering to the highest hygiene and food safety requirements, as well as its willingness to collaborate once official notice about the matter was received.

Source: Inputs from various media Sources

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Priya Bairagi

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