US FDA Investigates Alleged Contamination of Indian Spices Amid Health Concerns

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has initiated an investigation into products made by Indian spice manufacturers MDH and Everest following allegations of contamination with a cancer-causing pesticide, revealed in recent actions taken by Hong Kong and Singapore.

An FDA spokesperson confirmed to Reuters on April 26 that the agency is actively gathering information on the situation. Hong Kong suspended sales of three MDH spice blends and an Everest spice mix, citing concerns over high levels of ethylene oxide, a substance deemed unfit for human consumption and associated with cancer risk after prolonged exposure.

Singapore also ordered a recall of the Everest spice mix due to similar contamination concerns. This marks the first time the FDA has publicly acknowledged its review of alleged contamination in Indian spice products.

Both MDH and Everest are prominent spice brands in India and have a significant presence in international markets, including Europe, Asia, and North America. While Everest has previously asserted the safety of its spices, neither company has responded to Reuters’ requests for comment.

India’s Food Safety and Standards Authority and Spices Board are also investigating the matter, seeking data from authorities in Hong Kong and Singapore while collaborating with the companies to identify the root cause of the quality issues.

This incident follows a previous recall of MDH products in the US in 2019 due to salmonella contamination, highlighting the importance of stringent quality control measures in the food industry to ensure consumer safety. As the investigation unfolds, consumers and regulators alike await further updates on the safety of Indian spice products in international markets.