The Food Safety and Standards of India (FSSAI) is probing adverse lab reports received regarding some samples of branded spices from certain States including Rajasthan. This is part of its nationwide testing and sampling drive of packaged spice products.

Sources said that these samples of packaged spice products were found to have pesticides and insecticides higher than permissible limits. Officials said strict action will be taken against brands found to be in violation of the standards which could include levying penalty and recalling of products.

Heightened scrutiny

This comes amidst the Indian spices brands being under heightened scrutiny from global and Indian regulators. Earlier, regulators in Hong Kong and Singapore had recalled certain spice products of brand MDH and Everest over higher than permissible levels of ethylene oxide. This had prompted FSSAI to undertake comprehensive nation-wide testing and sampling drive on various safety and quality parameters including ETO.

Recently, Rajasthan officials flagged concerns about higher levels of pesticides found in samples of brands including Everest and MDH to the FSSAI. The State offiicials also wrote to the FSSAI to take action against these brands of spices citing them to be unsafe for consumption.

In May, FSSAI had said that out of 34 lab reports, 28 lab reports showed no traces of ETO. But it was still awaiting 6 lab reports.

Meanwhile, agencies on Friday evening reported that Rajasthan has begun recalling some batches of packaged spice products of certain brands including MDH and Everest.