No traces of carcinogen found in tested MDH, Everest, other Indian spices: FSSAI : The Tribune India

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No traces of carcinogen found in tested MDH, Everest, other Indian spices: FSSAI

The regulator said no such traces were found in 300 samples of other Indian spices sampled from manufacturing units either

No traces of carcinogen found in tested MDH, Everest, other Indian spices: FSSAI

These samples were also analysed for Ethylene Oxide at NABL accredited laboratories notified by FSSAI.



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, May 21

Apex food regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Tuesday said no traces of carcinogen ethyleve oxide (EtO) were found in sampled spices from MDH and Everest facilities across the country.

The regulator said no such traces were found in 300 samples of other Indian spices sampled from manufacturing units either.

Releasing the first set of lab findings on the quality of spices after Hong Kong, Singapore and recently Nepal recalled certain batches of MDH and Everest products flagging impermissible levels of EtO, a pesticide classified as Group 1 carcinogen, FSSAI said no EtO was found in any samples spice in India.

This does not rule out possibilities of contamination of spices recalled by Hong Kong, Singapore and Nepal occurring at any other stage during transport, storage or handling.

FSSAI said following media reports on the recall of certain spice products by Hong Kong Food Authority on the basis of the presence of ethylene oxide exceeding the permissible limit  in exported spice products of Mahashian Di Hatti (MDH) and Everest Food Products (Everest),  a pan India drive was initiated through all Commissioners of Food Safety of States/UTs and Regional Directors of FSSAI on April 22 for extensive inspections of the spice manufacturing units and sampling and testing of products manufactured for selling/distribution for consumption in the domestic market.

Under this drive, nine samples of Everest spices were picked up from two manufacturing facilities, one from Maharashtra and one from Gujarat and 25 samples of MDH from their 11 manufacturing facilities – one from Delhi, seven from Haryana and three from Rajasthan for testing.

Food regulator said each product sampled was analysed for the compliance with quality parameters (like Moisture, Live and dead insects, Insect fragments, Rodent contamination, Volatile oil content, Ash, Acid insoluble ash) and safety parameters, namely, heavy metals (Lead, Cadmium, Copper, Tin, Arsenic, Mercury, and Methyl mercury), aflatoxins (Total aflatoxin, and Aflatoxin B1), Melamine, pesticide residues (230 pesticide residues), microbiological (Yeast and Mold Count, Enterobacteriaceae, Staphylococcus aureus, Aerobic Colony Count, Salmonella, Sulphite Reducing Clostridia, and Bacillus cereus), additives (Acesulfame potassium, Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), Tertiary butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), Sorbic acid, Sulfites, Added colour, Coal tar dyes) as per the relevant Food Safety and Standards Regulations at NABL accredited laboratories notified by FSSAI.  

In addition, these samples were also analysed for Ethylene Oxide at NABL accredited laboratories notified by FSSAI.

Out of the same, 28 lab reports have been received and 6 reports are awaited. The received lab reports have been examined by the Scientific Panel at FSSAI and observed that the samples showed no traces of ETO, authorities said. 

They said test reports of over 300 of spices of other brands samples lifted across the country were also examined by Scientific Panel which also conclusively indicated no presence of ETO.  

The Scientific panel of FSSAI has scientists from Spice Board, CSMCRI (Gujarat), Indian Spice Research Institute (Kerala), NIFTEM (Haryana), BARC (Mumbai), CMPAP (Lucknow), DRDO (Assam), ICAR, National Research Centre on Grapes, (Pune).

Spice Board of India has meanwhile issued guidelines to exporters for using ETO as a fumigant for sterilising spices to deal with microbial contamination as per the standards of importing countries. 

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