Nepal bans sale of Indian spice-mix products

[ Shirish B Pradhan ]

KATHMANDU, 18 May: After Singapore and Hong Kong, Nepal has also banned the sale and import of certain spice-mix products manufactured by Indian brands over alleged quality concerns.
Four spice-mix products by MDH and Everest have been banned in the Himalayan nation from Friday due to suspected ethylene oxide or EtO contamination, according to the food technology & quality control department here.
Under this, Madras curry powder, sambhar mixed masala powder, mixed masala curry powder of MDH and fish curry masala of Everest have been banned in Nepal.
“As residue contents of ethylene oxide are found to be exceeding the prescribed limit in these four products, the import and sale of these products are banned within the country as per Article 19 of the Food Regulation, 2027 BS,” the department said in a notice issued on Friday.
“Our serious attention has been drawn towards media reports about the sale of these substandard products in the market, and they are harmful for consumption,” it said.
The food quality control watchdog has also urged importers and traders to recall these products from the market.
Last month, Singapore and Hong Kong halted sales of some spices produced by MDH and Everest over suspected elevated levels of ETO linked with some cancers.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has since initiated steps to examine the quality of powdered spices from various brands in the country.
On Friday, the Federation of Indian Spice Stakeholders said that India’s spice export may decline nearly 40 percent in FY25 if the issue of ethylene oxide contamination in spices meant for exports is not addressed at the earliest.
India is among the world’s leading spice producers, exporting over 200 spices and value-added products to some 180 countries worth USD 4 billion in 2021-22, according to the Spices Board of India. (PTI)