Everest Food Products, which has been facing the heat from food regulators in Hong Kong and Singapore over one of its spices, has said that its products undergo “stringent quality control checks.” Government bodies, FSSAI and Spices Board, have started examining the matter related to the recall of certain spice products in the two markets.

The Spices Board, under the Commerce Department, which promotes exports of spices from the country, is getting in touch with regulatory bodies of Hong Kong and Singapore to get more details on the recall of some products of Everest and MDH in the two countries, officials told businessline.

Food safety and standards

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has also ordered a pan-India testing and sampling drive of spice products of major spice brands. These samples are being picked up from major manufacturing sites of spice brands.

Responding to businessline’s queries, a spokesperson of Everest Food Products Pvt Ltd said, “There have been reports of Everest being banned in Singapore and Hong Kong, but we want to clarify that this is false. Everest is not banned in either country. Singapore’s food safety authority referred to Hong Kong’s recall alert and asked our Singapore importer to recall and temporarily hold the product for further inspection. This is a standard procedure and not a ban. Only one out of 60 Everest products has been held for examination. We reassure our customers that our products are safe and of high quality, so there is no need for concern.”

“Everest, a brand with over 50 years of experience, upholds strict hygiene and safety standards in its state of the art manufacturing facilities, earning numerous national and international certifications. Food safety is our top priority and all our products undergo stringent quality control checks. Exports are cleared only after receiving necessary clearances and approval from the laboratories of the Spices Board India,” the company spokesperson added.

On April 5, Hong Kong’s food safety regulator, the Centre for Food Safety stated that samples of Fish Curry Masala product of brand Everest and three products of brand MDH were allegedly found to be containing a pesticide, ethylene oxide. It asked consumers not to consume the affected products and also said that it has initiated recall of these products.

On April 18, referring to Hong Kong’s recall order, Singapore Food Agency issued a notification for the recall of Everest Fish Curry Masala “due to the presence of ethylene oxide at levels exceeding permissible limit.”

Responding to businessline’s emailed queries, FSSAI on Tuesday stated that it is “looking into the matter and the food product samples are being tested for presence of the said pesticide along with other parameters as prescribed for Mixed Masala category ( under Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011. Consequently, the appropriate action and legal proceeding will be undertaken based on the violations committed by the Food Business operator.”

MDH did not respond to businessline’s queries.