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Hong Kong's Food Regulator Finds Cancer-causing Chemicals in Popular Indian Spice Brands

Popular Indian spice brands MDH and Everest were found to contain carcinogenic chemicals by Hong Kong's food regulatory body, which raises the risk of breast cancer and lymphoma.

Saurabh Shukla
Hong Kong's Food Regulator finds cancer-causing chemicals in Popular Indian Spice Brands (Photo Source: Pexels)
Hong Kong's Food Regulator finds cancer-causing chemicals in Popular Indian Spice Brands (Photo Source: Pexels)

Hong Kong's food regulatory authority recently published a report on April 5, 2024, revealing concerning findings about four products from famous Indian brands MDH and Everest. The report identified cancer-causing chemicals in these brands.

Among the identified products, three belong to MDH, including curry powder (a spice blend for Madras curry), mixed masala powder, and sambhar masala. The fourth product identified by the report is Everest Fish Curry Masala. The discovery of ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen, in these products has raised serious health concerns.

The Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety (CFS) recently undertook routine food surveillance, finding concerning results regarding four products from familiar Indian brands. The investigation found the presence of ethylene oxide, a pesticide considered unfit for human consumption.

Ethylene oxide, classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, poses significant risks, including an elevated likelihood of breast cancer and lymphoma. The Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety (CFS) conducted tests on samples collected from retail outlets, confirming the presence of this harmful pesticide.

In response to the findings, the CFS has taken swift action, instructing vendors to close the sale and remove the affected products from shelves. Distributors and importers have also been directed to initiate comprehensive recalls to prevent further exposure to consumers.

Notably, this isn't the first instance of Indian spice brands facing scrutiny in overseas markets. Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration mandated the recall of Everest Food Products' sambhar masala, garam masala, and maggi masala due to Salmonella contamination. Such incidents highlight the imperative for rigorous quality control measures throughout the food supply chain to prevent health hazards and ensure consumer safety.

Amidst growing concerns over food safety, concerted efforts are essential to uphold stringent standards and safeguard public health.

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