Food regulator of Rajasthan has shot off a letter to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) after some samples of popular spice brands MDH and Everest were found “unsafe” after tests, reports news wire Reuters.

The western state found a batch of Everest spice mix and two of MDH's "unsafe", senior health officer Shubhra Singh wrote in the letter.

State authorities of Gujarat and Haryana, where the MDH and Everest batches were made, "should be asked to take action in the matter without delay," Singh, additional chief secretary for health in Rajasthan, wrote in her letter, as reported by Reuters.

Rajasthan state authorities last week said they had seized 12,000 kilograms of spices for alleged contamination and found that some contained a "very high level" of pesticide and insecticides.

This comes after Hong Kong and Singapore banned the sale of spices of these two Indian brands citing high pesticide levels. Ethylene oxide, a carcinogenic compound, was found in packaged spices from MDH and Everest Group in Singapore and Hong Kong. This chemical poses significant health hazards, including an increased risk of leukemia and breast cancer.

However, spice maker MDH (Mahashian Di Hatti Pvt Ltd) junked claims of the presence of Ethylene Oxide in its spices after food regulators in Hong Kong and Singapore returned the brand’s spice shipments. "We reassure our buyers and consumers that we do not use Ethylene Oxide (ETO) at any stage of storing, processing, or packing our spices,” MDH said in a statement. “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,” the Delhi-based company said.

MDH said it has not received any communication from regulatory authorities of Singapore or Hong Kong. “Our statement is further supported by the fact that nodal regulatory authorities such as the Spice Board of India and FSSAl have not received any communication or test reports from Hong Kong or Singapore authorities regarding this matter. This reinforces the fact that the allegations against MDH are baseless, unsubstantiated, and not backed by any concrete evidence,” the 105-year-old spice maker claimed.

MDH was founded by its late chairman Dharampal Gulati who himself used to appear in promotions and advertisements. His son Rajeev Gulati, chairman MDH Group, controls the company now.

India is the world’s largest producer, consumer and exporter of spices.

In April, food regulator FSSAI allowed a higher maximum residue limit of 0.1/kg for pesticides not registered in the country. “This limit was increased to 0.1 mg/kg only in cases of spices and is applicable only for those pesticides, which are not registered in India by the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee (CIB & RC),” said FSSAI. The limit was increased after the recommendation of a scientific panel on pesticide residues, which comprises members from CIB & RC.

Follow us on Facebook, X, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp to never miss an update from Fortune India. To buy a copy, visit Amazon.