Ministry of Health bans sale of two types of spice products from India

The Ministry of Health has issued an order to stop the sale of two spice products from India suspected of containing ethylene oxide.

The Health Ministry has issued an order to stop the sale of two spice products from India suspected of containing ethylene oxide, an active ingredient in detergents.

“Any traders, including online traders, who have stocks of these products are directed to stop the sale of the related products.

“All e-commerce platforms and social media are requested to immediately cease advertisements for these food products,” said the ministry in a statement.

It said it was aware of media reports urging the cessation of sales of two brands of spices from India due to the suspected presence of ethylene oxide.

As such, based on data checks through the Food Safety Information System of Malaysia (FoSIM) as of April, it said there has been only one import of the Everest Fish Curry Masala spice product and no imports of the MDH Curry Powder spice product into Malaysia.

The Health Ministry also said that it has been continuously conducting inspections and enforcement at entry points nationwide through its Food Safety and Quality Programme (FSQP).

It added that the ministry currently monitors the content of aflatoxins, heavy metals, and pesticide residues in spice products at all national entry points.

“Monitoring results from 2019 until April 2024 found that 43 samples taken complied with the legal requirements under the Food Act 1983 and the Food Regulations 1985.”

Previously, the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) had called on the Health Ministry to immediately ban the sale of the brand of spices from India.


CAP president Mohideen Abdul Kader had said products of the two brands were widely available in Malaysia, especially on e-commerce platforms.

He had said the affected spices were also exported to many regions, including the United States, Europe, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Australia.

According to a report from Reuters, the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) had applied extra control measures for pesticide residues in spices imported from India, which included ethylene oxide.

Ethylene oxide is often used to kill pests and is also used in spices to control microbiological contamination caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Additionally, it is used as an active ingredient in cleaning agents where currently, its use in food and food-contact materials is not permitted as ethylene oxide is carcinogenic.

Source: New Straits Times (28 May 2024)