Economy & Business

    New Zealand looking into spice brands MDH and Everest over contamination

    The Hawk
    May15/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    New Zealand's food safety authority investigates potential contamination in popular Indian spice brands MDH and Everest. MDH and Everest face global examination, impacting their exports and reputation.

    MDH and Everest Spices kept in a Store

    Hyderabad: New Zealand's food safety regulator on Wednesday said it is investigating possible contamination in spice products of top Indian brands MDH and Everest after they faced scrutiny in other countries.

    The United States and Australia have been looking into contamination after Hong Kong last month suspended sales of three spice blends of MDH and one of Everest, saying they contained high levels of a cancer-causing pesticide, ethylene oxide. Singapore ordered a recall of the Everest spice mix.

    In a statement to Reuters, the regulator, New Zealand Food Safety, said it is aware of the overseas recalls.

    "Ethylene oxide is a chemical known to cause cancer in humans, and its use for food sterilisation has been phased out in New Zealand and other countries. As MDH and Everest spices are also available in New Zealand, we are looking into this issue," said Jenny Bishop, the regulator's acting deputy director general.

    MDH and Everest did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment. They have said their products are safe for consumption.

    Regulators in India have inspected MDH and Everest plants and sent samples for testing after the global scrutiny, though the results have not yet been made public.

    For decades, MDH and Everest have been household names in India. Their products are also exported to the United States, Europe, South East Asia, Middle East and Australia.

    MDH has since 2021 also seen an average 14.5 per cent of its US shipments rejected over the presence of bacteria salmonella, a Reuters analysis of US Food and Drug Administration data found.