The Spices Board has taken up with CODEX, the worldwide meals requirements physique, the essential challenge of setting limits for ethylene oxide (ETO) utilization in spices. The follows the recall of sure branded spices exported by Indian corporations to Hong Kong and Singapore on issues associated to ETO (ethylene oxide) contamination.

“India has taken up with the CODEX committee the necessity for establishing limits for ETO utilization as totally different international locations have totally different limits. CODEX has not prescribed a restrict to date. Additionally, there is no such thing as a customary for ETO testing. India has additionally given a proposal for that,” an official informed businessline.

ETO, a chemical used as a sterilising agent in spices, is taken into account carcinogenic when used past sure limits.

Whereas work to stop contamination must be intensified, India’s pattern failure in spices is lower than 1 per cent of its exports in main markets, the official mentioned.

Necessary order

“The Spices Board has taken steps to make sure the security and high quality of Indian spice exports to Hong Kong and Singapore. The board has made it necessary to check such consignments destined to those two international locations,” the official mentioned.

A techno-scientific committee has additionally carried out a root trigger evaluation, inspected processing amenities, and picked up samples for testing in accredited labs, he mentioned.

The Spices Board just lately circulated detailed pointers for exporters on  prevention of ETO contamination for security of all markets. The rules advise exporters towards utilizing ETO as a sterilising agent to scale back the microbial contamination in spices consignments and suggests alternate options akin to steam sterilisation and irradiation (not relevant to natural merchandise beneath NPOP). It additionally supplies the MRLs for ETO in essential markets.

Extra query high quality

“Exporters are suggested to check their uncooked supplies, processing aids and completed items for ETO contamination. On situations of ETO detection above the permissible limits of the importing international locations, exporters shall not export the merchandise. Root trigger evaluation for its prevalence and preventive measures to be adopted, shall be recorded for taking crucial steps to keep away from future recurrence,” the rules famous.

Different international locations such because the US, New Zealand and Australia, have additionally raised questions on the standard of some Indian spices and are figuring out if additional motion must be taken.

In 2023-24, India’s spice exports totalled $4.25 billion, accounting for a 12 per cent share of the worldwide spice exports.

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