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Cancer-causing chemicals found in Indian spice brands


Recently, a report published on the official website of Hong Kong’s food regulatory authority–

Centre for Food Safety

(CFS) on April 5th mentioned that three spice products in India have cancer-causing chemicals that contain a pesticide known as

ethylene oxide

. Here’s all you need to know about this shocking report.

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The report
Food regulators

in Hong Kong and Singapore released a report in the first week of April and warned the masses to avoid adding spices products from India as they were tested with cancer causing substances Ethylene oxide.

The list of spices include three spice products from two big Indian companies


and one from Everest that have exceeded the permissible limit of chemicals. However, the companies haven’t responded to the report of levels exceeding the permissible limit.

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The spices and cancer causing substances

International Agency for Research on Cancer

has classified ethylene oxide as a ‘Group 1 carcinogen’. Hong Kong’s food regulatory authority, said that three spice products of MDH — Madras Curry Powder (spice blend for Madras Curry), Sambhar Masala (Mixed Masala Powder), and Curry Powder (Mixed Masala Powder) — along with Everest’s Fish Curry Masala contains a pesticide, ethylene oxide.

Also watch:Benefits of Indian spices
This study was conducted under its routine food surveillance programme, the CFS took the products from three retail outlets in Hong Kong. “The test results showed that the samples contained a pesticide, ethylene oxide,” said to a CFS spokesperson.

HK, Singapore food regulators red flag ‘cancer-causing’ ingredient in certain MDH, Everest spices

As per a report by IANS, it was mentioned that the regulator instructed the vendors “to stop the sale and remove from shelves the affected products”.
“According to the

Pesticide Residues

in Food Regulation (Cap. 132CM), food for human consumption containing pesticide residue may only be sold if consumption of the food is not dangerous or prejudicial to health. An offender is liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months upon conviction,” the CFS spokesperson said.
Also read: 7 spices used in South Indian foods and their benefits
AS per CFS noted that “investigations are ongoing” and “appropriate action” may be initiated in the matter. Meanwhile, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) also ordered a recall of Everest’s Fish Curry Masala due to the presence of ethylene oxide at levels “exceeding the permissible limit”.
The SFA posted a release on its website on April 18 that said it “has directed the importer, Sp Muthiah & Sons Pte. Ltd., to recall the products. The recall is ongoing.”
The SFA mentioned in the report that ethylene oxide is not fit for consumption, but is “used to fumigate agricultural products to prevent microbial contamination”. However, under Singapore’s food regulations, ethylene oxide can be “used in the sterilization of spices”.
It was also mentioned that there is no immediate risk to consuming foods with low levels of ethylene oxide, but the carcinogenic properties of this pesticide may trigger cancer cells on prolonged consumption and may lead to health hazards in the long run. As per the SFA, noting that exposure to the “substance should be minimized as much as possible”.
Also read:This spice has more health benefits than meat and veggies

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