Spice Exports Increased By About 6% In April-November, 2023

Spice Safety: Ethylene Oxide Regulations for Domestic and Export Markets "Government's Plan to Monitor and Control Ethylene Oxide Usage in Spice Industry"

Mintec Global
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Government’s Regulatory Measures

India is ramping up surveillance on ethylene oxide usage in spices for both domestic and export markets. The government is giving guidelines to regulate the use of ethylene oxide. It is a colorless gas commonly used in spices as a disinfectant, sterilizing agent, and pesticide to prevent microbial growth. However, excessive use of ethylene oxide poses a cancer risk. While its use is not permitted in spices for domestic consumption, it can be used within said limits for international trade, where importing countries determine its usage.

Zero-Tolerance Policy and Monitoring

India maintains a zero-tolerance policy for ethylene oxide, with a detection rate set at 0.10 percent. This stringent stance applies to both domestic and export markets. They ensure that for sterilizing purposes, chemical is not used in the industry or crops. Strict monitoring by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the Spices Board of India will enforce this regulation. In the domestic market, promoting ethylene oxide-free products ensures that only compliant products are exported.

Industry Impact and Testing Mandate

The government’s emphasis on ethylene oxide testing and regulatory guidelines is seen as a crucial step towards improving industry awareness and compliance. India’s spice exports were valued at $4,25 billion in the financial year 2023-2024. While it accounts for only 12 percent of global spice exports, highlighting the need for quality reforms in the sector.

The government’s proactive approach to ethylene oxide regulation in spices underscores its commitment to food safety and quality. The industry’s cooperation and adherence to these regulations will be key to ensuring the integrity of India’s spice exports.