Hong Kong banned the sale of Indian spice brands MDH Pvt. and Everest Food Products Pvt. after authorities detected the presence of carcinogenic pesticide ethylene oxide in several spice mixes. The Centre For Food Safety of The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region said that there was a presence of ethylene oxide in MDH Group’s Madras Curry Powder, Sambhar Masala Powder and Curry Powder.

Singapore Food Agency directed importer Sp Muthiah & Sons Pte. Ltd. to initiate a recall of the products. Hong Kong has also taken a similar action against MDH and Everest spices.

What Hong Kong authorities said on the action?

It said, “The CFS collected the above-mentioned samples from three retail outlets in Tsim Sha Tsui respectively for testing under its routine Food Surveillance Programme. The test results showed that the samples contained a pesticide, ethylene oxide. The CFS has informed the vendors concerned of the irregularities and instructed them to stop sale and remove from shelves the affected products.”

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It added, “The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified ethylene oxide as a Group 1 carcinogen. According to the Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation (Cap. 132CM), a food for human consumption containing pesticide residue may only be sold if consumption of the food is not dangerous or prejudicial to health. An offender is liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and to imprisonment for six months upon conviction.”

Singapore’s action against Everest products

Singapore Food Agency said in a statement, “The Centre for Food Safety in Hong Kong has issued a notification on the recall of Everest Fish Curry Masala from India due to the presence of ethylene oxide at levels exceeding permissible limits.” 

The authorities also directed importer Sp Muthiah & Sons Pte. Ltd. to initiate a recall of the products. It added, “Those who have consumed the implicated products and have concerns about their health should seek medical advice. Consumers may contact their point of purchase for enquiries.”

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