Masala row: Govt to do comprehensive analysis of spice products

Concerned over the alleged findings of contaminants in two Indian masala products in Hong Kong and Singapore, the Union Government has decided to do a comprehensive analysis of spice products across India.

Although, the national food regulator, FSSAI already swung into action and ordered the analysis, according to reports, the Government wants to clear the clouds of uncertainty over spice trade. The Government appeared concerned about the impact on spice trade of India which is approximately USD700 million and after the initial reports from Singapore and Hong Kong, now many other countries including Australia and New Zealand have flagged same concerns about quality of Indian spices.

Meanwhile, in an assessment report by Global Trade Research Initiative, an economic think tank, over half of the spice export is at risk due to the cascading impact of this controversy. The potential repercussions could affect exports valued at $2.17 billion, representing 51.1% of India’s global spice export. The report also suggests that India needs to address the quality issues with urgency and transparency. According to the report, in fiscal year 2024, India’s spice exports totaled $4.25 billion, accounting for a 12% share of the global spice exports.

The major spices exported from India included chilli powder, which topped the list with $1.3 billion in exports, followed by cumin at $550 million, turmeric at $220 million, cardamom at $130 million, mixed spices at $110 million, and spice oils and oleoresins at $1 billion. Other notable exports were asafoetida, saffron, anise, nutmeg, mace, clove, and cinnamon.