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Spices safe, no notice from Hong Kong, Singapore: MDH

MUMBAI: Amid row over the alleged presence of carcinogenic ethylene oxide , a form of pesticide , in its select spice packs, MDH (Mahashian Di Hatti) said that the company has not received any communication from regulatory authorities of Singapore or Hong Kong and such claims are untrue, lacking any substantiating evidence. The over 100 year old brand which is a household name in India said that it does not use ethylene oxide at any stage of storing, processing or packaging its spices . “MDH’s statement is further supported by the fact that nodal regulatory authorities such as the Spice Board of India and FSSAI have not received any communication or test reports from Hong Kong or Singapore authorities regarding this matter. This reinforces the fact that the allegations against MDH are baseless, unsubstantiated and not backed by any concrete evidence,” the firm said.

Two of India’s biggest spice brands MDH and Everest have come under the scanner over alleged unsafe food practices. Everest’s Fish Curry Masala and MDH’s Madras curry powder, Sambhar masala mixed masala powder and Curry powder mixed masala powder have been recalled by Hong Kong after the country’s Centre for Food Safety (CFS) found traces of ethylene in the spice packs as part of testing under its routine food surveillance programme. Singapore also issued a similar notification for Everest’s Fish Curry Masala. Ethylene oxide is classified as carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The FSSAI has begun collecting samples of spices in powder form of all brands across India amid the development, TOI had reported.

“MDH Group reassures their consumers that MDH abides by health and safety standards, both domestically and internationally. MDH tagline ‘asli masale sach sach’ reflect the company’s genuine commitment to provide authentic, high-quality spices to their customers,” the company said.

Everest and MDH lead India’s branded spices market the size of which has been pegged by analysts at well over Rs 20,000 crore. Everest’s revenue from operations stood at Rs 3,053 crore while that of MDH stood at Rs 2,172 crore as of FY23, data sourced from market intelligence platform Tofler showed.

The All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation (AICPDF) said that since there are no restrictions imposed by FSSAI on the MDH and Everest products, it does not see any reason for retailers to stop selling them. “We believe that until FSSAI raises any concerns or restrictions, it is safe for kirana store owners to continue selling these products,” the association said.