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Hong Kong Joins Singapore in Banning Sale of MDH and Everest

Hong Kong/Singapore

Hong Kong has joined Singapore‘s lead in banning the sale of popular Indian spice brands MDH and Everest after the alleged detection of the carcinogenic pesticide ethylene oxide in several spice mixes. Singapore last week took similar action against Everest, alleging the presence of ethylene oxide at levels surpassing permissible limits.

The Centre For Food Safety of The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region announced on April 5 that routine surveillance programs had uncovered the presence of ethylene oxide in three spice mixes from MDH Group – Madras Curry Powder, Sambhar Masala Powder, and Curry Powder.

“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,” it said in a statement.

Additionally, Everest Group’s Fish Curry Masala was found to contain the pesticide. Ethylene oxide, classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, poses serious health risks, including an elevated risk of breast cancer.

In response to the findings, both Hong Kong and Singapore have taken action to protect public health. Singapore, in a parallel move, has also recalled Everest’s products from its shelves, citing the presence of pesticides above safe levels. This is not the first time that an Indian spice brand has faced action abroad. In 2023, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered a recall of Everest Food Products after they tested positive for Salmonella.

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