Food & DrinkLifestyle

How to Safeguard Your Diet from Ethylene Oxide, a Cancer-Causing Agent Found in Spices: Tips

Indian cuisine holds a special place for spices. Whether it’s vegetarian or non-vegetarian, any dish gains a delightful aroma and flavor from a pinch of spices. Their medicinal uses are also mentioned in Ayurveda. The use of these spices is still prevalent to manage common issues like cold, fever, weakness, and digestive problems.

Beyond Indian Kitchens

Spices are not just a part of Indian kitchens; they are our global identity. India is the largest producer, consumer, and exporter of spices worldwide. However, due to recent controversies, the market for well-established brands of spices like MDH and Everest Spices has seen a decline. Both these brands faced bans on many of their products in Hong Kong, and earlier in Singapore too.

Health Risks Associated with Packaged Spices

Ethylene oxide has been found in large quantities in these spices, which is highly harmful to health. Due to its carcinogenic properties, there is a risk of serious illnesses like cancer.

So, let’s discuss packaged spices in today’s ‘Health Corner.’ You will learn:

  • What types of risks can these packaged spices pose to our health?
  • Can packaged spices become a cause of cancer?
  • What are the homemade alternatives for packaged spices?
  • FSSAI will conduct an investigation of Indian spices.
  • The Indian Spices Board has also taken action following bans in Hong Kong and Singapore, announcing investigations into this matter. When the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) initiated sampling of all brands of spices across the country, FSSAI will scrutinize their quality anew.

Reasons for Bans in Hong Kong and Singapore

Investigations in Hong Kong and Singapore revealed that these spices have higher levels of carcinogenic ethylene oxide. Delhi-based dietitian Dr. Anu Agarwal stated that extensive research has been conducted on ethylene oxide, indicating a strong link to cancer.

Dr. Agarwal further mentioned that consuming these spices poses significant health risks, indicating that factory workers handling these substances could be at risk due to prolonged exposure. It’s crucial to wear quality masks for breathing to avoid exposure, especially during extended contact periods exceeding 10 minutes, with concentrations ranging from 0.1 PPM (parts per million) to 5 PPM or more.

Understanding the Risks

Imagine the potential harm if you use these contaminated spices in your daily meals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this could lead to severe health issues. Let’s delve into the graphics to understand more.

Title: Rise in Cases of Breast Cancer in Men

Dr. Anu Agarwal, who works as a dietitian in the oncology department at AIIMS Rishikesh, states that cases of breast cancer are increasing among men nowadays. Experts believe that ethylene oxide could be a major factor behind this.

Why is Ethylene Oxide Used in Spices?

Food companies use ethylene oxide to preserve food items from contamination by bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella and fungi, which can significantly reduce the shelf life of spices. To prevent spoilage for an extended period, these companies are utilizing ethylene oxide as a preservative or sterilizing agent.

Ice Cream and Dried Fruits Are Not Safe Either

This concerns the sterilization process. It is aimed at keeping all dried goods safe from deterioration due to exposure to air or moisture. Dried fruits and ice cream also undergo preservation through ethylene oxide to extend their shelf life significantly.

People Advancing towards Cancer without Smoking

Dr. Anu Agarwal mentions numerous items that involve the use of ethylene oxide for sterilization purposes. As companies don’t always disclose this information on their packaging, many people are unaware that they are contributing to the rise in cancer rates by smoking or consuming alcohol.

It’s Better to Make Spices at Home If You Want

Trusting any purchased item from the market is becoming increasingly difficult. A new trend suggests that relying on the brand, cream, or powder of food items we have been using for years can be harmful to our health. In this situation, it’s better to prepare all essential spices at home.

You Can Make Hot Spices at Home

Gather the following ingredients:

  • Black pepper
  • Cloves
  • Black cardamom
  • Cumin seeds
  • Cinnamon
  • Bay leaf
  • Nutmeg
  • Mace
  • Coriander seeds
  • Red chili peppers

Wash all spices together once, then dry and roast them. After that, cool them down and grind them in a mixer. Pack them in an airtight container and store.

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.