The Spices Board will issue an advisory for exporters to raise awareness on ethylene oxide (ETO) contamination and the regulations in various countries, in addition to launching mandatory testing for the chemical in consignments bound for Hong Kong and Singapore. 

The move comes after industry consultations on Wednesday pertaining to the recall of spice mixes sold by Indian brands Everest and MDH in Hong Kong and Singapore over concerns of potential ETO contamination.

Testing labs

Testing for ETO contamination in spice export consignments will be carried out by the board’s NABL-accredited laboratories, it said in a statement.

The Spices Board, under the Commerce Department, is the regulatory authority overseeing spice export promotion.

Mandatory testing of spices for ETO, a sterilising agent that may be carcinogenic for humans, is already in place for exports to the EU and the UK. Consignments to other countries will also be strictly monitored for ETO,  the board said.

“This proactive approach underscores the board’s commitment towards ensuring consumer health and safety along with upholding the reputation of Indian spice brands worldwide,” it said.

Global rules

Recognising the importance of global food safety parameters, the board is familiarising exporters and the public with the ETO regulations in various countries.

In the wake of the spice product recall, efforts are on to gather technical information, analytical reports, and exporter data from authorities in Hong Kong and Singapore.

“The board is in touch with Indian missions in Singapore and Hong Kong to get more information and official notification. The board is working with the exporters whose consignments have been recalled to ascertain the root cause of the issue and propose corrective measures. Thorough inspections at exporter facilities are also underway to ensure adherence with regulatory standards,” a source said.