MDH faces scrutiny in US after HK & Singapore; 31% of spice exports rejected by customs over salmonella contamination

The US customs has rejected 31% of MDH products in six months over salmonella contamination, according to a new report. The report comes soon after sales of several products of MDH and Everest were banned in Hong Kong and recalled in Singapore.

Livemint
Updated29 Apr 2024
MDH controversy: Nearly 31 per cent of MDH products have been refused in the United States since October because of salmonella contamination.
MDH controversy: Nearly 31 per cent of MDH products have been refused in the United States since October because of salmonella contamination.

After a ban on certain spices of Mahashian Di Hatti (MDH) in Hong Kong and Singapore related to contamination, a new report revealed that nearly 31% of the products of the Indian spice maker have been rejected by the US customs authorities over the last six months. The refusal rate of MDH shipments has doubled from 15 per cent to 31 per cent over salmonella contamination since October 2023,  The Indian Express reported. 

The spike in refusal rate over salmonella contamination comes at a time when sales of certain MDH products have been suspended in Singapore and Hong Kong after authorities there claimed carcinogenic pesticides exceeded acceptable limits.

The US has rejected a total of 11 shipments of MDH since October 2023. The number is equivalent to one-third of all shipments from MDH products categorised as “spices, flavours, and salts”, Express reported, referring to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data. 

Livemint could not independently verify the report. India is the world's largest producer, consumer and exporter of spices.

The FDA was gathering information on products of MDH and Everest amid the controversy, Reuters reported on April 20\. MDH and Everest spices are among the most popular in India and are also sold in Europe, Asia and North America.

MDH controversy

Earlier, this month, Hong Kong had suspended sales of three MDH spice blends and an Everest spice mix for fish curries. Soon after Hong Kong's action, Singapore ordered a recall of the Everest spice mix as well, saying it contains high levels of ethylene oxide, which is unfit for human consumption and a cancer risk with long exposure.

MDH says its products are safe for consumption

Soon after the controversy erupted over the allegations, MDH said its products are safe for consumption, and the company has not received any communication from regulators and authorities in Hong Kong or Singapore about the reported contamination in its products.

"We reassure our buyers and consumers that we do not use ethylene oxide at any stage of storing, processing, or packing our spices," MDH said in a statement on Sunday.

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