Nepal Bans Popular Indian Spice Brands Over Cancer Concerns ➤

Nepal Bans Popular Indian Spice Brands Over Cancer Concerns

Food Safety Watchdog Prohibits Sales and Imports of MDH and Everest Spices Containing Carcinogenic Ethylene Oxide

In a move to safeguard public health, Nepal’s food safety agency has imposed an immediate ban on the sales and imports of popular Indian spice brands MDH and Everest. This decisive action comes after findings from several countries revealed the presence of ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing chemical, in these spice products.

The Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC), Nepal’s quality watchdog, has announced the recall and seizure of these spice products currently in the customs clearance process. Matina Joshi Vaidhya, the director general of DFTQC, stated, “We decided to ban the spices of the two Indian companies with immediate effect based on scientific evidence from several other countries showing high levels of carcinogenic pesticide ethylene oxide in many spice mixes. This poses a cancer risk.”

The move follows similar bans imposed by countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Maldives, as well as scrutiny by Australian authorities. Vaidhya further added, “We will allow their sale, imports and distribution once we get clearance from the manufacturing country that they are safe to consume.”

Experts have expressed concern over the presence of ethylene oxide, a flammable, colorless gas with a sweet odor, in these spices, as varieties of MDH and Everest products are easily available and popular in Nepal.

Ethylene oxide is primarily used in the production of other chemicals, including antifreeze, and in smaller amounts, as a pesticide and sterilizing agent. Exposure to this chemical has been linked to an increased risk of lymphoma, leukemia, stomach cancer, and breast cancer.

The DFTQC has issued a circular to relevant agencies, directing them to recall the affected spices from the market. Additionally, the National Food and Feed Reference Laboratory has been instructed to prioritize testing for ethylene oxide.

While distributors like Jay Ganapati Enterprises in Biratnagar have acknowledged the issue and plan to stop selling the affected products, consumer rights activists are calling for urgent action from authorities, emphasizing the direct link between this matter and public health.

As Nepal takes proactive measures to protect its citizens, the ban on these popular Indian spice brands highlights the importance of stringent food safety regulations and the need for vigilance in the face of potential health risks.