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Quality issue in warehoused pepper

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The Kerala unit of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has sealed the entire quantity of pepper stored in six warehouses at Kochi, Kerala, about 5,000 tonnes worth Rs 18 crore, after saying it found traces of mineral oil in the stock. The warehouses were accredited by the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange ( NCDEX).

FSSAI acted on complaints by a couple of participants in the exchanges. Said an FSSAI official from Kochi, “We have sent the sample of pepper to the laboratory and the report is awaited. We have asked the warehouse keepers not to engage in any trading without our permission.” Chillies and other spices stocked in these godowns have also been blocked for delivery.

Used to improve pepper’s appearance, mineral oil’s use here is prohibited globally. Tasteless and odourless, it is used in baby lotions, cold creams, ointments and cosmetics. Following the fssai global norm, the Indian government has prohibited its use in food articles.

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