India’s Spices Board has suspended the trading licence of two Indian pepper and three chilli exporters, following the discovery of illegal sales practices.

The Mumbai (Bombay)-based chilli exporters were found to have sold chilli into the European Union that was contaminated with a banned colourant ‘Sudan 1,’ a carcinogenic dye used in textiles that gives a uniform orange-red colour.

The pepper exporters (from Mumbai and Kochi) were found to have passed off cheap imported pepper from South East Asia as India’s premium Malabar Gold 1 pepper.

The board is also now insisting that Indian pepper exporters supply more information about their consignments, to assist spot-checks.