Nepal bans sale of Indian spice-mix products over quality concerns

Madras Curry Powder, Sambhar Mixed Masala Powder; Mixed Masala Curry Powder of MDH and Fish Curry Masala of Everest have been banned in Nepal

Updated - May 18, 2024 04:50 pm IST

Published - May 18, 2024 04:39 pm IST - Kathmandu

Boxes of Everest fish curry masala are stacked on the shelf of a shop at a market in Srinagar, April 23, 2024. File Photo

Boxes of Everest fish curry masala are stacked on the shelf of a shop at a market in Srinagar, April 23, 2024. File Photo | Photo Credit: Reuters

After Singapore and Hong Kong, Nepal has also banned the sale and import of certain spice-mix products manufactured by Indian brands over alleged quality concerns.

Four spice-mix products by MDH and Everest were banned in the Himalayan nation from Friday due to suspected ethylene oxide or EtO contamination, according to the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control here.

Under this, Madras Curry Powder, Sambhar Mixed Masala Powder; Mixed Masala Curry Powder of MDH and Fish Curry Masala of Everest have been banned in Nepal.

Also read: Why are Indian spices facing the heat? | Explained 

“As residue contents of ethylene oxide are found to be exceeding the prescribed limit in these four products, the import and sale of these products are banned within the country as per Article 19 of the Food Regulation 2027 B.S.,” the department said in a notice issued on Friday.

“Our serious attention has been drawn towards media reports about the sale of these sub-standard products in the market, and they are harmful for consumption,” it said.

The food quality control watchdog has also urged importers and traders to recall these products from the market.

Last month, Singapore and Hong Kong halted sales of some spices produced by MDH and Everest over suspected elevated levels of ETO linked with some cancers.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has since initiated steps to examine the quality of powdered spices from various brands in the country.

On Friday, the Federation of Indian Spice Stakeholders (FISS) said India's spice export may decline nearly 40% in FY25 if the issue of ethylene oxide contamination in spices meant for exports is not addressed at the earliest.

India is among the world’s leading spice producers, exporting over 200 spices and value-added products to some 180 countries worth $4 billion in 2021-22, according to the Spices Board of India.

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