FMCG Distributors Urged To Restrict Inventory Of Branded Spices

The All-India Consumer Products Distributors Federation has warned distributors to restrict the amount of packaged spices they stock. This comes at a time when India’s top food regulator is testing spice brands for quality after global regulators flagged contamination in MDH and Everest.

“In the event that restrictions are imposed on brands, heavy stocking could result in dead investment, and retailers may be left with damaged stock,” said Dhairyashil Patil, national president, AICPDF. “We advise you to proceed cautiously and stock up on these products to a limited extent, until clearance is received from the necessary authorities,” he said in an advisory issued to the distributors of consumers goods across the country.

NDTV Profit has reviewed a copy of the advisory. Distributors typically have stocks of 35-60 days, according to Patil.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India had commissioned nationwide quality checks on spices on April 25 after food agencies of Hong Kong and Singapore flagged the presence of ethylene oxide in samples of pre-packaged spice mixes of two Indian brands — MDH and Everest Spices. EtO is an anti-microbial pesticide.

The food regulator has collected over 1,500 spice samples and is currently in the process of testing them for chemicals, microbes, mycotoxins, sudan and other illegal dyes, and as many as 234 pesticides, including EtO. According to top officials, a detailed report must be submitted by May 31, 2024. If violations are proven, the government will revoke licenses.

India’s Rs 80,000 crore spices market is dominated by brands such as Everest, MDH, Badshah, Sakthi Masala, Suruchi, Catch, Goldiee, etc.

“There is a high probability that these brands will come under the radar of the FSSAI and necessary measures will be taken to safeguard human health,” Patil said. He urged distributors to maintain optimal stock levels for branded spices to prevent potential losses.

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