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FSSAI tests 1500 spice samples from across country, says govt wont hesitate to cancel licences if violations proved

Ziraat Times Web Desk

New Delhi: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), with its 237 testing labs, has collected over 1,500 spice samples from around the country and is currently in the process of testing them for chemicals, microbes, mycotoxins, Sudan dye, and as many as 234 pesticides, including Ethylene Oxide (ETO).
According to FSSAI, reports
from the tests are expected to come out in 15 days.
The food regulator, on April 25, had commissioned nationwide quality checks on spices in the market.
This had come after the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) in Hong Kong and the Singapore Food Agency had flagged the presence of ETO in samples of pre-packaged spice mix products of two Indian brands — MDH and Everest Spices.
Meanwhile, FSSAI said that the government will not hesitate to cancel licences of spice manufacturers if they are found to be flouting the norms for permissible limits for pesticide residue in packed products.
“Pesticides like ETO are used for fumigation purposes to aid storage of these products. Ideally, products meant for exports should not be directed to the domestic market,” an FSSAI official said.
Sources said the regulator has collected samples from all Indian spices manufacturers.
In a letter to the Spice Board of India dated Friday, The American Spice Trade Association (ASTA), clarified that the US regulations permit the use of ETO treatment on imported spices and spice products as long as residues adhere to the prescribed limits.
“Prohibiting this critical treatment method has the potential to result in serious unintended implications regarding compliance of Indian spices with US food safety regulations,” states the letter addressed to the Spice Board of India.
The regulator is also in the process of conducting tests on baby food samples. The test reports are expected in the next 15 days, the government official added.

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