15 tonnes of adulterated spices seized in Delhi, two arrested: Delhi Police

On Sunday, May 5, Delhi Police busted phoney Indian spice manufacturing operations in Karawal Nagar, Delhi. Two makers and one seller of fake Indian spices were caught. The Delhi Police also confiscated two production units, equipment, tempo, and other instruments used in the crime. A total of 15 tonnes of contaminated Indian spices and raw materials were seized.

This comes when Indian spices manufacturers already facing the heat in foreign countries. 


According to the police, these companies were supplying the spices in Delhi NCR to earn huge profits. The police also recovered raw materials like non-edible items, banned items, untidy, chemicals, and acids among others which were being used to make spices.

The police have filed a complaint under the necessary sections of the law at the Crime Branch in Delhi. A team from the Crime Branch’s Cyber Cell in Delhi has been asked to keep an eye out for manufacturers and suppliers of tainted spices. Further inquiry is underway.

How the investigation was started

On May 1, a Crime Branch team in Delhi was asked to keep an eye on the manufacturers and suppliers of contaminated food spices. As a result, information was obtained that some manufacturers and shopkeepers in North East Delhi are making and selling contaminated Indian spices in Delhi/NCR under various brand names.

The team operated and detained Dilip Singh, who was running the processing plant and producing adulterated turmeric by using non-edible, forbidden unsanitary goods, acids, and oils. Khurseed Malik, another culprit, has also been apprehended.

During the examination, adulterated spices such as Haldi powder, Garam Masala powder, Amchoor powder, and other raw materials such as rotting rice, rotten coconuts, Eucalyptus leaves, rotten berries, wood dust, citric acid, chokar, dried chilli heads, colour chemicals, and so on were confiscated. They employed non-food raw materials in their production processes.

Police also raided another processing plant located on Kali Khata Road in Karawal Nagar, Delhi. Sarfaraz, another suspected of producing contaminated spices, was also detained.

They used to supply the spices to Sadar Bazar, Khari Bawli, and Pul Mithaii markets and the vendors of the weekly bazaar. 

A look at MDH and Everest spices case

Last Sunday, US customs rejected 31 per cent of MDH spice shipments due to salmonella concerns. Singapore and Hong Kong halted sales of certain MDH and Everest products over possible carcinogens in spices.

Singapore ordered a recall of the Everest spice mix as well, saying it contains high levels of ethylene oxide, which is unfit for human consumption and a cancer risk with long exposure.

A day before on Saturday (27th April), Reuters reported the US Food and Drug Administration was gathering information on products of MDH and Everest. MDH and Everest spices are among the most popular in India and are also sold in Europe, Asia and North America.

Following the moves in Hong Kong and Singapore, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) started checking the quality standards of the two companies. Read more 

After all the allegations and reports, today, May 5, FSSAI in a release said, “Some media reports are claiming that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) allows ten times more pesticide residue in herbs and spices. Such reports are false and malicious,” FSSAI said through a press release. 

On the other hand, spice maker MDH said its products are safe for consumption, and the company has not received any communication from regulators and authorities in Hong Kong or Singapore about alleged contamination in its products.

Also Read: Spice maker MDH says its spices are safe after quality allegations

“We reassure our buyers and consumers that we do not use ethylene oxide at any stage of storing, processing, or packing our spices,” MDH said in a statement.

MDH said India’s FSSAI and Spices Board have not received any communication or test report from authorities in Hong Kong or Singapore. This reinforces that allegations against MDH are baseless, unsubstantiated, and not backed by any concrete evidence, the statement said. Everest has previously said its spices are safe for consumption.

Also Read: FSSAI claims reports on ‘approval of 10 times more pesticides’ as baseless, says India’s standards are strictest in the world

With agency inputs

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