Spices Board discusses establishing ETO limits using CODEX

  • The Spices Board has taken aggressive steps with CODEX, the international food standards organisation, to address the critical issue of ethylene oxide (ETO) pollution in spices.
    • This endeavour comes after recent recalls of certain branded spices supplied from India to Hong Kong and Singapore owing to worries about ETO contamination.
    • Concerns over spice quality have also been expressed by nations such as the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, necessitating continuous assessments of Indian spice imports.

CODEX Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs

  • The CODEX committee (CCSCH) was established in 2013 with the cooperation of over 100 nations, with India serving as the host country and the Spices Board serving as the Secretariat for committee meetings.
  • Objectives:
  • To consult with other international organisations on the spice market’s standard development process.
  • To establish and expand global standards. 
  • Since its creation, the CODEX Committee has been working to set worldwide standards for herbs and spices.

About the Codex Standards:

Codex standards are voluntary in nature and might be generic or particular. They are recognised as reference standards under WTO Agreements. 

  1. General Standards, Guidelines, and Codes of Practice: These basic Codex publications primarily address sanitary practice, labelling, pollutants, additives, inspection and certification, nutrition, and residues of veterinary medications and pesticides, and apply horizontally to goods and product groups.
  2. Commodity standards apply to specific products, however Codex is progressively developing criteria for food groupings.
  3. Regional standards: Standards set by the different Regional Coordinating Committees that apply to their respective regions. 

India’s push for Permissible ETO Limits

  • Advocacy for restrictions: Recognising the differences in rules between nations, India has lobbied for the introduction of restrictions on ETO usage.
    • So far, CODEX has not set a restriction on ETO usage, and India has proposed standardising ETO testing processes.
  • Focus on Safety: While understanding the carcinogenic danger of ETO when used in excess, measures to prevent contamination have been increased.
    • Notably, India’s sample failure rate in spice exports is less than 1% in key countries, demonstrating the industry’s dedication to quality and safety.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

And get notified everytime we publish a new blog post.