Sources: Center refutes Hong Kong and Singapore’s Allegations of a Spice Ban

The Center responded quickly to clear up misunderstandings around Singapore’s and Hong Kong’s purported ban on Indian spices. To set the record straight, officials confirmed that, in contrast to what certain media outlets have reported, there is no outright ban on Indian spices in these areas. Rather, several spice batches from well-known companies like MDH and Everest were refused, which prompted Indian authorities to take precautionary measures.

Officials from the Indian Mission in Nepal, who spoke with Nepalese authorities who had taken action based more on news reports than independent evaluations, reportedly carried out a comprehensive inquiry into the situation. The Spices Board carefully inspected and sampled items from the involved enterprises in accordance with orders from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

All eighteen of the MDH samples examined were confirmed to be compliant. Nevertheless, four of the 12 samples from Everest were found to be non-compliant, requiring instructions and remedial action. An official clarified that the government organized three discussions including the whole industry, demonstrating a coordinated effort by the business to fully adhere to regulatory norms and resolve the problem in its entirety.

Businesses have been properly cautioned to handle their goods with care throughout the stages of sourcing, storage, packing, and shipping. In addition, strict guidelines have been released to ensure that shipments arrive at their intended locations undamaged, especially in cases where rejected batches in Hong Kong were meant for other markets.

The government has requested the assistance of the Health Ministry and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to promote food safety measures by navigating the complex import-export dynamics that are relevant to this problem.

Consequently, for exports going to Singapore and Hong Kong, the Spices Board has made pre-shipment testing and sampling for ethylene oxide (EtO) mandatory. To maintain strict quality standards, there are currently a number of required testing procedures in place. Exporters have received extensive instructions covering all phases of the supply chain to prevent EtO contamination in spices.

To reduce the risk of EtO contamination, numerous capacity-building programs have been implemented nationwide over the last two years, including cooperative training projects with prestigious organizations like the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA). The attentive application of remedial measures is ensured by the Spices Board’s continual monitoring, which involves frequent sampling from exporters.

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