Nepal latest to ban Indian spice brands over safety concerns

The nation has become the latest jurisdiction to ban the import and sale of two popular Indian spice brands after reports that some of their products contained a cancer-causing pesticide, officials said Friday.

Hong Kong and Singapore last month banned products from Everest and MDH – two brands popular in India and exported worldwide – after tests detected the presence of ethylene oxide, according to media reports.

Besides its use as a pesticide, ethylene oxide is used to sterilise medical equipment and as a sterilising agent in spices to prevent illnesses caused by salmonella and E Coli bacteria.

Regular exposure to the colourless and odourless compound increases the “risk of cancers of the white blood cells”, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Matina Joshi Vaidya, chief of Nepal’s Department of Food Technology and Quality Control, said that the Himalayan country had also decided to halt the sale of the spice blends.

“It is an issue of public health,” she said. “We have its banned import and sale from Thursday.”

Nepal has banned four products – three variants produced by MDH and one by Everest.

“We do not have the lab resources to run the tests in the country. The ban will be lifted when Indian authorities declare it safe,” Vaidya said.

Everest and MDH are India’s top two spice brands with a market share of 16% and 10% respectively in 2022, according to consumer research monitor Statista.

Both companies have put out statements denying their products pose a health hazard to consumers after the Singapore and Hong Kong import bans.

“We clarify and state unequivocally that these claims are untrue and lack any substantiating evidence,” MDH said last month on X. — AFP

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!



Next In Aseanplus News

Life's getting worst for farmers as Vietnam drought dries up income
Economic Watch: China's durian fever spreads to snacks, milk tea and even hotpots
China’s ‘freedom to eat beef’ belies farmers’ mood of udder chaos as cash cow hits tipping point
'No joy': Gazans mark sombre Eid al-Adha in shadow of war
Lao government discusses tourist visa exemptions to attract more visitors
Brunei among top five tourist sources for Malaysia in Jan.-April
Three more convicts in RM10.5bil money laundering case deported to Cambodia, says Singapore Immigration
Double joy for squash as men and women emerge as Asia team champions
Purple-dressed policewomen on motorcycles to make presence felt in Kota Kinabalu
Olympic-bound Zii Jia captures Australian Open title after beating Kodai

Others Also Read