Weekly Product Updates

W14 Natural Spices Update: Lead Contamination in Michigan, Export Regulations in Vietnam, FDCA Raids in India, and Climate Threats in Vandanmedu

Cumin Seed
Star Anise
Published Apr 13, 2024
In W14 in the natural spices landscape, several recent developments highlight significant issues in the spice industry across different regions. In Michigan, the discovery of elevated lead levels in several brands of cinnamon has led to recalls, raising concerns about consumer safety. Meanwhile, in Vietnam, the VPSA urges the government to address export regulations affecting cinnamon essential oil, emphasizing its value in the food and beverage industry. Vietnam's prominent role in the global spice market is underscored by VPSA, which anticipates substantial growth in spice exports in the coming years. In India, the Gujarat FDCA conducted raids on factories suspected of producing adulterated cumin and fennel seeds, highlighting ongoing challenges in maintaining food safety standards. Additionally, the cardamom industry in Vandanmedu, Idukki, faces threats from rising temperatures, although market stability persists amidst global demand.

Elevated Lead Levels Detected in Cinnamon Brands Sold in Michigan, US

Cinnamon brands sold in Michigan, USA, have recently been discovered to have higher-than-acceptable levels of lead, leading to recalls. Among the affected brands are La Fiesta, Marcum, SWAD, and Supreme Tradition. Authorities are advising consumers to discontinue the use of these products and safely dispose of them. Medical professionals stress the risks associated with lead exposure, especially for pregnant women and children, and recommend concerned individuals seek blood lead testing from healthcare providers.

Export Regulations Challenge Vietnam's Cinnamon Essential Oil Industry

The Vietnam Pepper and Spice Association (VPSA) has raised concerns over export regulations affecting cinnamon essential oil, prompting an official request to the Government for resolution. As of W14, regulations on medicinal trading pose challenges for businesses exporting cinnamon essential oil in Lào Cai and Yên Bái, contradicting production conditions and market demands. Despite efforts by the Ministry of Health to amend circulars related to food safety, obstacles persist, leading to stockpiles of cinnamon essential oil. VPSA emphasizes the value of cinnamon essential oil as a key ingredient in food and beverage industries and advocates for favorable export conditions to support circular agriculture and livelihoods in highland regions. The association urges relevant ministries to reconsider regulations and facilitate exports of cinnamon essential oil for food and beverage purposes, ensuring compliance with food safety laws and regulations.

Vietnam's VPSA Advocates for Spice Industry Growth Amid Global Demand

The Vietnam Pepper and Spices Association (VPSA) highlights Vietnam's significant role in the global spice market, ranking third worldwide in supply and processing. Despite leading in pepper production and export, challenges such as declining planting areas persist amidst the rise of other crops. The President of VPSA has underscored the importance of maintaining pepper production to regulate global market prices and support the development of potential spices like cinnamon and star anise. As global demand for spices grows due to health consciousness, Vietnam's diverse range of high-quality spices presents export opportunities. To capitalize on this potential, VPSA emphasized the need for a conducive business environment, support for innovation, and the establishment of a Vietnamese spice value chain. In 2023, Vietnam's spice exports, including pepper, cinnamon, and others, reached USD 1.257 billion, with projections to reach USD 2.2 billion in the next five years.

Gujarat FDCA Raids Factories Suspected of Adulterated Spice Production

India's Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) conducted raids on four factories in Unjha suspected of producing adulterated cumin and fennel seeds. The raids led to the seizure of 12.30 thousand kilograms (kg) of adulterated spices, along with suspected adulterants such as inedible green color, mixed powder, molasses, and fennel husk. Samples were taken for testing to determine the extent of adulteration. The operation was carried out by FDCA teams from Gandhinagar and Mehsana. Upon receiving the lab report, appropriate action will be taken against the offenders, according to the commissioner of Gujarat FDCA. Additionally, Noida's FDA data revealed 168 unsafe food samples, resulting in fines totaling USD 406.68 thousand (INR 34.00 million).

Challenges and Prospects for India's Cardamom Industry in Vandanmedu, Idukki

India's cardamom industry in Vandanmedu, Idukki, faces challenges due to rising temperatures, threatening crop health. Market stability persists despite the adverse conditions, with prices supported by seasonal demand. However, issues such as copious arrivals and Spices Board directives complicate matters. Globally, reduced output from Guatemala could boost Indian exports, although shipping delays hinder trade. Looking forward, the impact of El Niño and delayed rains on future yields remains a concern for growers.

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