Nepal Bans Import and Sale of Everest and MDH Spices Due to Pesticide Concerns

Nepal Bans Import and Sale of Everest and MDH Spices Due to Pesticide Concerns

The Food and Quality Control Department of Nepal has banned the import, sale, distribution and consumption of packaged spices from two major Indian brands - Everest and MDH - after the pesticide chemical ethylene oxide was detected in some of their products.

Mohankrishna Maharjan, spokesperson for the department, stated that they have stopped importing Everest brand spice powder and three types of MDH brand spices into Nepal for now. "After the news that chemicals harmful to health were found, we have stopped the import for a week," Maharjan told reporters.

He added that the department has also halted the sale and distribution of these brands currently available in Nepal markets. Testing is underway on product samples, and they will not allow sales to resume until the results confirm the spices are safe for consumption.

The ban comes after Hong Kong's food safety authorities found excessive levels of the pesticide ethylene oxide in some packaged masala and curry powder products from Everest and MDH produced in India. Singapore has also recalled Everest's fish curry masala from the market due to this issue.

Ethylene oxide is a colorless gas used as a pesticide and fumigant to protect foods from bacteria, fungi and insects. However, it is classified as a carcinogen, and food regulators enforce strict limits on residue levels permitted in food products as long-term exposure can pose health risks like cancer.

While small amounts may not cause immediate harm, the Hong Kong Center for Food Safety stated these products violate their rules for acceptable pesticide residues and should not be sold unless proven safe.

Nepal, which imports significant quantities of Indian spices in addition to its own domestic production, has acted swiftly to prevent any contaminated product from reaching consumers until stringent tests can verify the safety of the remaining stock.

Maharjan assured that border authorities have also been instructed to prevent entry of these two brands into Nepal until the ban is lifted based on test results. He stated the government will not compromise on food quality and public health.

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