MDH, Everest Fallout: Not the First Time Indian Spice Brands Came Under Radar

MDH and Everest have come under regulatory radar multiple times in the past years owing to contaminations
Contamination in Food Products
Contamination in Food Products

The recent MDH and Everest row has heightened concerns among Indian food regulatory bodies and consumers. While this isn't the first time domestic food products have faced regulatory scrutiny, what was worrying for Indian consumers was the fact that spice products fall in the daily use kitchen category. 

The well-known Indian spice brand 'MDH' has been under investigation since 2021 due to suspected contamination in certain products. According to a report by Reuters, an average of 14.5 per cent of MDH's shipments to the U.S. have been rejected owing to bacterial presence.

Last month, Hong Kong halted the sale of three spice blends manufactured by MDH and one by Everest. This came after high levels of a cancer-causing pesticide was found in the product.

MDH had said that it does not use ethylene oxide at any level of storing, processing or packing process. Authorities in the United States, Australia, and India are reportedly investigating the issue. 

India holds the title of the world's largest spice producer, consumer, and exporter. According to Zion Market Research, the domestic spice market in India was valued at $10.44 billion in 2022. The Spices Board reported that India exported goods worth $4 billion during the 2022-23 period.

Before the recent scrutiny, MDH had faced restrictions on its sale in the United States owing to the presence of salmonella, a bacterium known to cause gastrointestinal illness. 

During FY23, nearly 15 per cent of 119 MDH shipments were rejected primarily due to salmonella contamination. This rejection rate stood at 8.19 per cent in FY22, as per the data.

In 2019 as well, some batches of MDH's spice mix were removed from U.S. shelves for similar reasons.

Even Everest has faced such rejections in the past years.

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