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FSSAI sparks controversy by cancelling manufacturing licences of 111 spice firms

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Post spices controversy, FSSAI cancels manufacturing licences of 111 spice firms

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has cancelled the licences of 111 spice makers after samples of spices from India were found to have high levels of ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing pesticide, in overseas markets. The regulator is halfway through testing 4,000 samples from markets around the country.

Most of the cancelled licences belonged to small spice makers from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, with some companies from Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh also under scrutiny. These small-scale companies do not have official websites or contact information, making it difficult to track them down.

The Indian spices market is valued at ₹86,930 crore and is expected to grow to ₹1,91,945 crore by 2032. Prominent spice makers like MDH and Everest have also come under fire in overseas markets like the US, Hong Kong, and Singapore for quality concerns related to ethylene oxide in their products.

Ethylene oxide is known to cause respiratory irritation, lung injury, headaches, nausea, and other health issues. Chronic exposure to ethylene oxide has been linked to cancer, reproductive issues, genetic mutations, neurotoxicity, and sensitization.

The FSSAI is continuing its testing process to identify more companies whose licences may need to be cancelled due to high levels of ethylene oxide in their products. This issue raises concerns about the safety and quality of spices being exported from India and highlights the importance of strict regulatory measures to ensure food safety.

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