Centre refutes claims of spice ban by Hong Kong, Singapore: Sources

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Public TV English
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NEW DELHI : The Centre moved swiftly to dispel misconceptions surrounding the alleged ban on Indian spices by Hong Kong and Singapore.

Clarifying the situation, government sources affirmed that there exists no blanket prohibition on Indian spices in these regions, contrary to reports circulated by certain media outlets.

Instead, specific batches of spices from renowned brands MDH and Everest faced rejection, prompting a proactive response from Indian authorities.

According to government sources, officials from the Indian Mission in Nepal conducted a thorough investigation into the matter, engaging with Nepalese authorities who had acted based on news reports rather than independent assessments.

In line with directives from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Spices Board undertook meticulous inspections and sampling exercises on products from the implicated companies.

Out of the 18 samples from MDH scrutinized, all were found to be compliant. However, among the 12 samples from Everest, some were deemed non-compliant, necessitating corrective action and directives.

An official elaborated that the government facilitated three industry-wide consultations, revealing a concerted effort within the sector to address the issue comprehensively and ensure full compliance with regulatory standards.

Companies have been duly advised to exercise caution throughout the procurement, storage, packaging, and transportation phases of their products.

Moreover, stringent directives have been issued to guarantee that shipments reach their designated destinations intact, particularly considering instances where rejected batches in Hong Kong were intended for alternative markets.

In a proactive approach to bolster food safety measures, the government has enlisted the support of the Health Ministry and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to navigate the intricacies of import-export dynamics pertinent to this issue.

Subsequently, the Spices Board has mandated pre-shipment sampling and testing for Ethylene Oxide (EtO) for exports destined for Singapore and Hong Kong. Several mandatory testing protocols are already in place to uphold stringent quality standards.

Exporters have been furnished with comprehensive guidelines to preempt EtO contamination in spices, encompassing every stage of the supply chain.
Extensive capacity-building initiatives have been rolled out across the country to mitigate the risk of EtO contamination, including collaborative training endeavors with esteemed entities such as the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the past two years.

The Spices Board’s ongoing surveillance through periodic sampling from exporters ensures diligent enforcement of corrective measures. (ANI)

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