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India's MDH says its spices safe after quality allegations

Boxes of Everest fish curry masala are stacked on the shelf of a shop at a market in Srinagar

By Chris Thomas

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian spice maker 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 alleged contamination in its products.

Hong Kong this month suspended sales of three MDH spice blends and an Everest spice mix for fish curries. 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.

"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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Reuters on Saturday reported the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was gathering information on products of MDH and Everest.

MDH and Everest spices are among the most popular in India and are also sold in Europe, Asia and North America.

Following the moves in Hong Kong and Singapore, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is checking the quality standards of the two companies.

India's Spices Board, the government's regulator for spice exports, has sought data on MDH and Everest exports from authorities in Hong Kong and Singapore, and was working with the companies to find the "root cause" of the quality issues as inspections started at their plants.

MDH said India's FSSAI and Spices Board have not received any communication or test report from authorities in Hong Kong or Singapore.

This reinforces that allegations against MDH are baseless, unsubstantiated, and not backed by any concrete evidence, the statement said.

Everest has previously said its spices are safe for consumption.

(Reporting by Chris Thomas; writing by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by David Holmes)