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HomeHeadline newsIndian spice brand faces US rejections over contamination concerns

Indian spice brand faces US rejections over contamination concerns

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A recent analysis of US regulatory data by Reuters has revealed that popular Indian spice brands, MDH and Everest, have encountered rejections from US authorities due to contamination concerns. Since 2021, MDH has experienced an average rejection rate of 14.5 per cent of its shipments to the US due to the presence of bacteria, primarily salmonella.

Last month, Hong Kong suspended sales of certain spice blends from MDH and Everest due to the detection of high levels of a cancer-causing pesticide, ethylene oxide. Both companies have asserted the safety of their products, with MDH emphasizing that it does not utilize ethylene oxide at any stage of its spice production process.

The scrutiny extends beyond the US, with authorities in Australia and India also investigating the matter. Despite the challenges, MDH and Everest remain popular in India and are exported globally.

 

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India, being the largest spice producer, consumer, and exporter globally, faces significant stakes in ensuring the safety and quality of its spice products. With an estimated domestic market worth of $10.44 billion in 2022 and exports valued at $4 billion during 2022-23, maintaining international standards is crucial for the industry’s reputation and market access.

Prior to the recent scrutiny, MDH faced rejections in the U.S. primarily due to salmonella contamination. The rejection rate stood at around 15 per cent in fiscal 2022-23, with similar patterns observed in previous years. Everest, on the other hand, has had fewer rejections, with only one shipment rejected for salmonella contamination in the ongoing fiscal year.

Both MDH and Everest have affirmed the safety of their products, with MDH highlighting its century-old legacy as a family-run Indian company. However, the FDA and the Spices Board are yet to release the results of their inspections into the companies’ facilities for compliance with quality standards.

Despite occasional setbacks, MDH and Everest remain prominent players in the Indian spice market, synonymous with flavoring curries and dishes in home kitchens and restaurants alike.

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