Limit stocking of branded spices, says FMCG distributors’ association

  • India's consumer products distributors' association AICPDF has warned distributors of spice brands to exercise caution and limit stocking of branded spices following reports of India’s top food regulator testing spice brands for quality.

Suneera Tandon
First Published11 May 2024
A man adjusts the spice boxes of MDH and Everest on the shelf of a shop at a market in New Delhi, India, April 29, 2024. (Photo: Reuters)
A man adjusts the spice boxes of MDH and Everest on the shelf of a shop at a market in New Delhi, India, April 29, 2024. (Photo: Reuters)

Mumbai: An industry body of consumer products distributors in India has issued an advisory to distributors of spices to exercise caution and limit the stocking of branded spices following reports of India’s top food regulator testing spice brands for quality.

“There is a high probability that these brands will come under the radar of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), and necessary measures will be taken to safeguard human health. This could potentially have a significant impact on the sales of these products. Therefore, the All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation (AICPDF) urges you to exercise caution regarding heavy stocking of these products,” AICPDF—that represents distributors of fast-moving consumer goods pan-India—said in a statement on Saturday.

The advisory comes after samples of spices from India were found to have more than the permissible level of ethylene oxide in some overseas markets. This has prompted India's top food regulator to inspect branded spices to detect the presence of ethylene oxide in them. FSSAI has deployed state food commissioners and issued orders for samples of major spice brands to be collected from their manufacturing units from across India, Mint reported earlier.

Also Read: India has one of the most stringent standards of maximum residue limits in the world: FSSAI

Last month, samples of spices from India were found to have more than the permissible level of ethylene oxide in some overseas markets. On 5 April, Hong Kong banned three MDH and one Everest-branded spice powder. Similarly, Singapore too recalled variants of Everest spices after detecting the presence of ethylene oxide in it.

Meanwhile, companies have denied the claims. "We reassure our buyers and consumers that we do not use ethylene oxide at any stage of storing, processing or packing our spices,” MDH spice maker said in a statement.

Dhairyashil Patil, national president, AICPDF, said the advisory is for all the spice brands sold in the market. “This is a very alarming situation as there are numerous local spice manufacturers whose products will also come under scrutiny,” he said.

Also Read: In charts: India’s spices exports raise a stink abroad

India has a large spices market; as of 2020 the total spice market stood at 67,500 crore. Of this, the branded spice market was estimated to be at 24,000 crore, according to a 2021 report by Avendus Capital. Several large brands such as Everest, MDH, Baadshah, Sakhti Masala, Suruchi, Catch, Goldiee, etc. operate in the market.

“In the event that restrictions are imposed on these brands, heavy stocking could result in dead investment, and retailers may be left with damaged stock. We advise you to proceed cautiously and restrain yourself from stocking up on these products to a limited extent, until clearance is received from the necessary authorities,” Patil said.

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