MDH's US Shipments Faced Rejections Before Global Investigation Over Alleged Contamination

MDH’s US shipments had reportedly already faced a 14.5% rejection rate for their US shipments since 2021 due to bacterial presence before the brand came under scrutiny for alleged contamination in its products.

What Happened: According to a Reuters analysis of U.S. regulatory data, MDH has been facing rejections for its spice products in the U.S. due to bacterial contamination.

Last month, Hong Kong suspended the sale of three MDH spice blends and one from another Indian company, Everest, after they were reportedly found to contain high levels of a cancer-causing pesticide, ethylene oxide. Both companies have defended their products, with MDH asserting that it does not use ethylene oxide at any stage of its spice storage, processing, or packing.

Regulatory authorities in the U.S., Australia and India are currently investigating the matter.

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MDH, a century-old family-run Indian company, has previously faced rejections for its products in the US due to the presence of salmonella. Approximately 20% of MDH’s 65 shipments to the US were rejected between October 2023 and May 3, 2024, for failing salmonella checks, as per U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data compiled by Reuters.

Everest, another Indian spice company, has had fewer rejections in the U.S., with only one of its 450 shipments in the ongoing 2023-24 year rejected for salmonella. Both MDH and Everest are among the biggest spice makers in India, a country that is the world’s largest spice producer, consumer, and exporter.

Why It Matters: The allegations against MDH and Everest are significant given their standing in the global spice market. India is the world’s largest spice producer, consumer, and exporter, and these companies represent a significant portion of that market.

The ongoing investigations by regulatory authorities in the US, Australia and India could have far-reaching implications for these companies and the Indian spice industry as a whole. The outcome of these investigations could potentially impact the reputation of Indian spices globally, affecting exports and the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and workers in the industry.

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