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UK has tightened scrutiny of Indian spice imports amid allegations of pollution

Business NewsUK has tightened scrutiny of Indian spice imports amid allegations of pollution
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kathmandu | Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has imposed additional controls on all spice imports from India due to concerns about pesticide residues, particularly ethylene oxide, found in Indian spices. This action follows Hong Kong’s decision to halt sales of certain spice blends from MDH and Everest, citing elevated levels of ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen. Singapore has also issued a recall of an Everest spice mix for similar reasons.

James Cooper, Deputy Director of Food Policy at the FSA, stressed that the use of ethylene oxide is prohibited in the UK, and strict maximum residue levels are enforced for herbs and spices. Although the FSA did not specify the exact measures being taken, this move represents a notable step in the global response to contamination claims against these Indian spice brands.

In response to these developments, India’s Spices Board, which oversees exports, has not yet issued a statement. India, as the world’s largest producer, consumer, and exporter of spices, could face significant trade repercussions if issues with spice exports persist. The UK imported $128 million worth of spices in 2022, with India accounting for nearly $23 million of that total.

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MDH and Everest are extensively exported to various regions, including the US, Europe, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Australia. In the US, MDH has experienced rejection of approximately 14.5% of its shipments since 2021 due to salmonella contamination. Indian regulators have conducted tests on spice products, including samples from MDH and Everest, but the results have not been made public.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed that it is closely monitoring the situation and currently has no evidence to suggest that the issues raised affect products in the Canadian market at this time. This ongoing scrutiny highlights global concerns over food safety and underscores the regulatory response to potential hazards within international food supply chains.

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