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After Cough Syrups, Some Of The Indian Spices Face Rejections For Containing Cancer-causing Pesticide

After killer cough syrups, some of the popular Indian spices brands are currently facing bans or increased scrutiny in several export countries due to contamination concerns, including the presence of cancer-causing pesticides.

The scare hit the home turf now, with the Rajasthan state government reportedly informing the federal government it found some spices of popular brands MDH and Everest ”unsafe” for consumption after tests.

The Rajasthan government conveyed its test findings in a letter to the federal government, Reuters reported.

Hong Kong in April suspended sales of three spice blends produced by MDH and one by Everest, saying they contained high levels of a cancer-causing pesticide ethylene oxide, triggering scrutiny by regulators in India and other markets.

Singapore also ordered a recall of the Everest mix, and New Zealand, the United States and Australia have said they were looking into the issues.

Britain has applied extra controls on all spices entering from India, the world’s biggest exporter, producer and consumer of spices.

Rajasthan government checked samples of many spices and found a batch of Everest spice mix and two of MDH’s ”unsafe”, according to a private letter from a senior health official in the northwestern state, Shubhra Singh, to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the Reuters report said.

Reuters said MDH and Everest – two of India’s most popular brands – have said their products are safe for consumption.

The wire service, however, said the companies did not respond to a request for comment on the state’s letter.

State authorities of Gujarat and Haryana, where the MDH and Everest batches were made, “should be asked to take action in the matter without delay,” Singh, who is the additional chief secretary for health, wrote in her letter which is not public but has been seen by Reuters.

The FSSAI and Singh did not respond to requests for comment, the wire service said.

The statements added that Rajasthan collected dozens of samples of spices in May, and found that some contained a “very high level” of pesticide and insecticides.

MDH and Everest spices are among the most popular in India and are also sold in Europe, Asia and North America.

India’s domestic market for spices was valued at $10.44 billion in 2022, according to Zion Market Research.

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