Exporters’ forum bats for legalising ethylene oxide treatment for spices

Published - May 16, 2024 09:16 pm IST - KOCHI

The All India Spices Exporters Forum (AISEF) has emphasised the urgent need to allow ethylene oxide (EtO) treatment for spices within the country to align with the stringent quality requirements of importing nations.

The appeal was made on behalf of the Indian spice industry in the wake of the recent rejections on specific spice exports by Singapore and Hong Kong due to the presence of EtO residue.

AISEF chairman Sanjeev Bisht said in a communication that the country’s position in the global spice market would have a detrimental effect, if exporters were not permitted to supply EtO-treated spices. The industry had addressed misconceptions surrounding EtO and emphasised that it was not a pesticide but a sterilising agent crucial for containing and minimizing microbial contamination and life-threatening pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli present in spices and food products, he said.

The forum highlighted the safety and efficacy of EtO treatment, citing its permissible use in several countries, including the United States where it is employed to sterilise food items to control food-borne pathogens. Disallowing EtO treatment could lead to increased risks of microbiological pathogens, non-compliance with regulations, and product recalls in importing countries, potentially jeopardising India’s market share, it said.

The industry has called for awareness initiatives to educate consumers on the benefits and safety of EtO-treated spices, underscoring the necessity of a robust regulatory framework encompassing monitoring, testing, and certification of EtO-treated spices.

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