Hong Kong Banned Sales of MDH and Everest Spices Due to Ethylene Oxide Discovery

In a recent crackdown on contaminated food imports, Hong Kong authorities announced the banning of two major Indian spice manufacturers—MDH Pvt. and Everest Food Products Pvt. Testing conducted by The Centre For Food Safety of The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region revealed the presence of the carcinogenic pesticide ethylene oxide in select spice blends produced by both companies.

Affected MDH Group products include Madras Curry Powder, Sambhar Masala Powder, and Curry Powder, all found to contain harmful amounts of ethylene oxide during routine inspections. Following an investigation, the CFS requested vendors to halt sales immediately and remove affected items from store shelves.

Ethylene oxide, categorized as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, poses significant health risks when ingested through tainted consumables. Under the Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation (Cap. 132CM) in Hong Kong, any food item containing unsafe pesticide residues cannot legally be sold without risking consumer health. Violators face penalties of up to HKD $50,000 (SGD $8,796) and six months imprisonment.

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Across borders in Singapore, the Singapore Food Agency responded promptly to the situation. In collaboration with Hong Kong’s CFS, they released a public warning urging consumers to cease eating Everest Fish Curry Masala imported from India. Exceedingly high concentrations of ethylene oxide were discovered within the product, leading to immediate recalls over fears of serious health consequences.

Sp Muthiah & Sons Pte. Ltd., the responsible importer in Singapore, initiated rapid withdrawal procedures following directives from local authorities. Those having consumed the recalled merchandise are advised to consult healthcare professionals with any health concerns. Questions pertaining to purchases can be addressed directly to points of origin.

With a heightened focus on food safety globally, such incidents emphasize the importance of vigilance amongst regulators and businesses alike. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, ensuring stringent checks on food exports prevents potentially hazardous situations impacting millions around the globe.

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