How Controversy Over MDH & Everest Masala Cast Shadow Of Doubt On Indian Products

How Controversy Over MDH & Everest Masala Cast Shadow Of Doubt On Indian Products

With bans imposed in countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and recently the Maldives, and moreover, the European Union raising alarms over hundreds of Indian food Items, questions about food safety standards and thorough quality assessments have taken center stage.

G R MukeshUpdated: Monday, April 29, 2024, 06:26 PM IST
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EVEREST and MDH | representative Image

India's rich tapestry of spices has long been celebrated for its vibrant flavors and profiles, capitivating palates across the globe. However, the recent controversies have cast a shadow over some Indian price brands.

The Indian renowned spice names in the industry, MDH and Everest, have recently found themselves embroiled in a storm of scrutiny due to concerns over the presence of ethylene oxidem, a carcinogenic pesticide, in their products.

With bans imposed in countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and recently the Maldives, and moreover, the European Union raising alarms over hundreds of Indian food Items, questions about food safety standards and thorough quality assessments have taken center stage.

Is This the First Time These Companies Are in Hot Water?

This is not the first time something like this has happened. Back in September 2019, the Food and Drug Administration asked MDH to recall its Sambhar Masala in Northern California for the same reason: Salmonella contamination.

In June 2023, the US Food and Drug Administration told Everest and Nestle to take their Sambhar Masala and Garam Masala, along with Nestle's Maggi Masala-ae-Magic, off the shelves in 11 states. They found Salmonella bacteria in them, which can make you sick with diarrhea and nausea.

MDH Masala Import

According to Volza.com data, last updated on December 19, 2023, the top 3 importers of MDH masala are Australia with 2,432 shipments, followed by the United States with 2,133 shipments, and Japan at the 3rd spot with 1,342 shipments.

In the past six months, US customs have turned away about 31 per cent of MDH products. This refusal rate has more than doubled since October 2023, mainly because of salmonella contamination.

According to FDA data, this rejection rate is equivalent to one-third of all shipments in the spices, flavors, and salts category from MDH products, as reported by The Indian Express.

Revenue

As per reports, in 2022, MDH had a revenue of Rs 1,775 crore approximately USD 220 million and a net income of Rs 700 crore USD 88 million. In the previous fiscal year 2021, MDH had a revenue of Rs 1,191 crore and an operating profit of Rs 507 crore, with an EBITDA margin of 42.5 per cent.

The operating revenue of Everest Food Products Private Limited is over Rs 500 crores for the financial year ending on 31 March, 2023, according to reports.

Companies response

MDH issued a statement on Sunday regarding the ban of its products. The company in an official release said, “We the manufacturers of MDH spices, we state that amidst speculations doing round that there is presence of ETO in our products, we clarify and state unequivocally that these claims are untrue and lack any substantiating evidence.”

"We reassure our buyers and consumers that we do not use Ethylene Oxide (ETO) at any stage of storing, processing, or packing our spices. Our impressive 105-year old legacy of providing high-quality products, emphasizes our dedication in maintaining the trust of our consumers,” it added.

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