Leaves contracts worth crores of rupees in jeopardy

The National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) is facing the heat as the Kerala Food Safety Commissioner has ordered it to destroy 900 tonnes of adulterated black pepper, leaving the contract worth crores of rupees in jeopardy.

In December last , six warehouses accredited by NCDEX in Ernakulam and Alappuzha district in Kerala were sealed over complaint of adulteration of pepper stock. “We have ordered that black pepper found to be adulterated with mineral oil be destroyed immediately in concurrence with the Spice Board of India,” Commissioner, Food Safety (Kerala), Biju Prabhakar said in its order.

As per the order, about 6,000 tonnes of black pepper has been sealed after found to be adulterated with mineral oil.

Mineral oil used in adulterated black pepper is made of burnt diesel, paraffin oil, white petroleum and other un-digestible and insoluble petroleum products. Black pepper coated with mineral oil is considered carcinogenic, and even otherwise harmful for human consumption.

NCDEX officials said they could not comment unless the exchange received a copy of the order.

The Food Safety Commissioner sealed six warehouses and issued notice to NCDEX to ensure that commodity did not enter the market. The Spices Board of India was asked to examine the samples of the black pepper.

On suspicion, the Commissioner had collected samples of the black pepper from NCDEX-accredited warehouses in October, 2012.

Meanwhile, the writ petition filed in the Indore High Court by the Kalimirch Vyapari Association will be heard on September 17. The association represents traders suffering due to non-delivery of black pepper by NCDEX.

The KVA members have reportedly bought black pepper on NCDEX by paying about Rs.350 crore.

With seizure of six warehouses in Kerala, black pepper traders of NCDEX have also made representation to the FMC and also to the exchange demanding delivery of valid goods or refund of the value of the pepper.

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