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FSSAI Denies Approval of Excessive Pesticides in Spices: Investigates Compliance with Standards

FSSAI Revokes Media Reports Alleging Excessive Pesticides in Indian Food

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has dismissed all media reports claiming that ten times more pesticides than the prescribed standards were being added to Indian food products and spices.

FSSAI stated in a newspaper notice that “such news is false and misleading.” The Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) in India is one of the strictest standards globally. The MRLs for pesticides are determined separately for various food commodities based on risk assessment.

Increase in Limits for Some Pesticides

While FSSAI has acknowledged that certain pesticides were not registered with the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIB&RC), they increased the permissible limits for these substances from 0.01 mg/kg to 0.1 mg/kg.

This decision was based solely on the assessment by a scientific panel. The CIB&RC regulates the production, import-export, transportation, and storage of pesticides.

Registration of Over 295 Pesticides with CIB & RC

In India, over 295 pesticides are registered with the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIB&RC), with 139 of them approved for use in spices. This contrasts with the Codex, which allows the use of only 75 pesticides in spices out of a total of 243.

Codex is a global body that safeguards consumer health and oversees food standards in both governmental and non-governmental organizations internationally. It grants approval for defining and implementing food standards.

Comparison of Pesticide Limits: Codex vs. FSSAI

In marjoram powder, the Codex standard allows for a maximum of 20 milligrams per kilogram of mixed myclobutanil, whereas the FSSAI permits only up to 2 milligrams per kilogram.

For other pesticides, such as spiromesifen, the Codex sets a limit of 5 milligrams per kilogram, while the FSSAI grants approval for mixing only up to 1 milligram per kilogram.

In the case of black marigold, the Codex standard permits the use of metalaxyl and metalaxyl-M up to 2 milligrams per kilogram, whereas the FSSAI approves mixing only up to 0.5 milligrams per kilogram.

Ban on Indian Spices in Foreign Countries and Regulatory Scrutiny

Last month, Indian spice brands Everest and MDH faced bans on their sales in Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Maldives. This decision was followed by investigations by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States into the spices manufactured by these companies.

FSSAI’s Inspection of Spice Companies and Factories

Recently, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued directives for the inspection, sampling, and testing of spice powder production units. Additionally, the food regulator stated that testing for the presence of ethylene oxide will be conducted in all company products.

Ethylene Oxide Found in MDH’s Three Spice Mixes

The Food Safety Department of Hong Kong recently reported that three spice mixes from MDH Group – Madras Curry Powder, Sambhar Masala Powder, and Karahi Paneer Masala Powder – contained elevated levels of ethylene oxide. This carcinogenic substance was also detected in Everest’s Fish Curry Masala.

Rahul Sharma

My name is Rahul Sharma. As a passionate writer and explorer, I'm always seeking inspiration in lifestyle, fashion, beauty, food & drink, and travel. With years of experience in the industry, I bring a unique perspective to my writing, blending my love for culture, style, and adventure.