The Chemical Found in MDH-Everest Spices: How It Increases the Risk of Cancer

Two major Indian spice companies, MDH and Everest, have come under scrutiny. Hong Kong and Singapore have banned some of their spices, in which allegedly high levels of ethylene oxide were found. Ethylene oxide increases the risk of cancer.
The Chemical Found in MDH-Everest Spices: How It Increases the Risk of Cancer
The Chemical Found in MDH-Everest Spices: How It Increases the Risk of Cancer

'Asli Masale Sach, Sach... MDH... MDH...', 'Test Mein Best... Mummy aur Everest...' - These two spice manufacturing companies are now under investigation.

According to the news agency, the food safety regulator FSSAI has requested samples from spice companies, including MDH and Everest.

This action was taken after Hong Kong imposed a ban on four spices from MDH and Everest. Following Hong Kong's lead, Singapore has also halted orders for MDH spices.

It is reported that following the actions in Hong Kong and Singapore, FSSAI has now asked for samples from all spice companies in the country. These samples will now be examined.

Hong Kong and Singapore have taken this action because some spices from these two companies have allegedly been found to contain a dangerous chemical that could potentially cause cancer.

What's the Full Issue?

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) in Hong Kong found excessive amounts of ethylene oxide in three MDH spices—Madras Curry Powder, Mixed Masala Powder, and Sambhar Masala, and in Everest's Fish Curry Masala.

Ethylene oxide is a type of pesticide that increases the risk of cancer. CFS reported that these four spices were sampled during routine checking and were found to contain ethylene oxide, which is not safe for human consumption.

In Hong Kong, there is a ban on the sale of food products containing pesticides beyond a certain limit.

CFS states that in Hong Kong, food products containing pesticides can only be sold if they are not harmful to humans and health.

Following Hong Kong's actions, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has also temporarily halted the sale of Everest's Fish Curry Masala. The agency has returned orders of curry masala, claiming that the levels of ethylene oxide in the Fish Curry Masala are far above the prescribed limits.

The agency states that while low levels of ethylene oxide do not pose an immediate risk, prolonged consumption can increase the risk of cancer.

What is Ethylene Oxide?

Ethylene oxide is a colourless gas that emits a sweet odor when kept at room temperature.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), this gas is used to produce chemicals like ethylene glycol (antifreeze).

Additionally, it is used in the manufacturing of textiles, detergents, foams, medications, adhesives, and solvents.

In food spices, it is used in small amounts to prevent microbial contamination like E. coli and Salmonella.

Hospitals also utilize ethylene oxide to sterilize surgical equipment.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has categorized ethylene oxide as a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning there is sufficient evidence to suggest that it can cause cancer in humans.

Prolonged exposure or consumption of this chemical can cause irritation in the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs, and may also harm the nervous system.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to ethylene oxide significantly increases the risk of lymphoid and breast cancer in women.

The Chemical Found in MDH-Everest Spices: How It Increases the Risk of Cancer
Spices of All Companies Including Mdh-Everest Will Be Tested, Indian Government’s Action After Ban in Hong Kong and Singapore

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