WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched an inquiry into spice blends produced by Indian companies MDH and Everest following allegations of elevated levels of cancer-causing pesticides. This move comes after Hong Kong halted the sale of certain MDH and Everest spice mixes due to suspected contamination with ethylene oxide, a potentially hazardous substance.

According to a Reuters report, the FDA is actively examining the reports of potential health risks associated with these spice blends. A spokesperson for the agency confirmed that they are currently gathering additional information to better understand the situation.

Everest, one of the companies implicated, has strongly defended the safety of its products for consumption. The company asserted that its spices undergo rigorous testing and obtain necessary clearances from Indian Spice Board laboratories before export, as reported by Hindustan Times.

In contrast, MDH has denied the allegations, labeling them as unfounded and lacking credible evidence. This isn’t the first time MDH has faced scrutiny; in 2019, batches of its sambar powder were recalled in the U.S. due to salmonella contamination.

India’s Spice Board, responsible for regulating spice exports, has also stepped in. It has reached out to authorities in Hong Kong and Singapore for export data and is collaborating with MDH and Everest to investigate the underlying cause of the alleged quality issues. Inspections have commenced at the respective plants to ensure compliance with regulatory standards.

Ethylene oxide, the suspected contaminant, is commonly used as a fumigating agent for spices. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified ethylene oxide as carcinogenic to humans, citing evidence linking exposure to an increased risk of lymphoid and breast cancer.