India Expands Spice Probe Amid Contamination Concerns: All Mix Makers Under Scrutiny

India’s food safety regulator has escalated its investigation into the spice sector, ordering testing and inspections at all companies producing spice mixes amidst mounting global concerns over contamination issues.

The move comes after Hong Kong and Singapore suspended sales of spice blends from India’s MDH and Everest brands due to suspected contamination with ethylene oxide, a substance deemed unfit for human consumption and associated with cancer risk.

With MDH and Everest products being popular not only in India but also in Europe, Asia, and North America, authorities in the US and Australia are also gathering information on the matter, underscoring the global reach of the issue.

In response, India’s Food Safety and Standards Authority has directed officials to conduct comprehensive inspections, sampling, and testing at all manufacturing units producing powdered spices, particularly those making curry powders and mixed spice blends for both domestic and international markets.

Each product sampled will undergo analysis for compliance with quality and safety standards, including checks for the presence of ethylene oxide, which is banned in India. The regulatory agency has pledged to take appropriate actions based on the test results.

India’s spice industry, which holds a significant position in the global market, faces potential repercussions from increased scrutiny. The Spices Board revealed that India exported spice products worth billions of dollars annually, with major manufacturers including Madhusudan Masala, NHC Foods, Tata Consumer Products, and ITC.

However, the heightened global attention poses risks to India’s spice exports, with potential downturns predicted if other countries follow suit in implementing measures against contaminated products.

As India grapples with the fallout from the spice contamination issue, stakeholders in the industry are closely monitoring developments amid concerns about the sector’s reputation and future export prospects.