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Malaysia and Taiwan recall decision IndomieThe “special chicken” flavored noodles have raised some food safety concerns around the world, including in Nigeria.
The development came after health authorities in both countries detected ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing substance.
Nigeria has also reacted to the development, with the agency responsible for standards launching plans to conduct new independent tests on the products.
The country’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday morning that it plans to verify the claim of its members in Taiwan and Malaysia.
Findings from Malaysia, Taiwan
The health department in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, said it had detected ethylene oxide in two types of instant noodles, including the Indomie chicken flavor, following random inspections.
He said the detection of ethylene oxide in the product did not meet standards.
“The Taipei City Health Bureau reminds the food industry that our country has not approved the use of ethylene oxide as a pesticide, nor the use of ethylene oxide gas for disinfection purposes,” the department said. in a statement.
“The industry is confident that they will establish autonomous management and confirm that raw materials and products must comply with food safety and health management.”
Following this development, Malaysia’s health ministry said it had analyzed 36 samples of instant noodles from different brands since 2022 and found that 11 samples contained ethylene oxide.
Ethylene oxide is a colorless and odorless gas used to sterilize medical devices and spices and has been described as a cancer-causing chemical.
Malaysia’s ministry said it has taken enforcement action and recalled the affected products.
Indofoods, the Indonesian company that makes Indomie instant noodles, has denied the allegations, pointing out that all its noodles are produced with a certified standard. However, Taiwan and Malaysia have ordered companies to immediately remove the products from the shelves.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, on Sunday told this newspaper that from Tuesday, May 2, the agency will begin the process of testing randomly selected products to verify claims before releasing them to the public.
Responding to an inquiry by our reporter, Mrs. Adeyeye said the laboratory services manager of the agency is already on alert.
The CEO wrote: “NAFDAC is responding. We plan to randomly test the Indomie noodles (including the aftertaste) from the production facilities while the PMS samples are released from the markets.
“The compound of interest is ethylene oxide, so the Food Director (Lab Services) is taking care of it, and is working on the methodology for the analysis.”
Safe for consumption
Responding to the allegations on Friday, Indofoods board member Taufik Wiraatmadja defended the safety of the noodles stressing that it is safe for consumption.
Mr. Wiraatmadja said the noodles have received standard certification and have been produced in compliance with international food safety standards.
“All instant noodles produced by ICBP in Indonesia are processed in accordance with the food safety standards of the Codex Instant Noodles Standard and the standards set by the Indonesian National Agency for Drug and Food Control (“BPOM RI”). Our instant noodles have received the Indonesian National Standard Certificate (SNI) and meet international standards based on certified production facilities,” he wrote.
“ICBP has been exporting instant noodles to various countries around the world for over 30 years. The company continuously ensures that all its products meet the applicable food safety standards and guidelines in Indonesia and other countries where ICBP instant noodles are marketed.
“We would like to emphasize that according to the statement released by BPOM RI, our Indomie instant noodles are safe for consumption.”
Indofoods is one of the largest manufacturers of instant noodles and exports its products to more than 90 countries including Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, where they are in high demand.
Implication for Nigeria
Nigeria, a major consumer of Indomie instant noodles, is expected to take a stand on the issue in the coming days.
According to data from the World Instant Noodles Association (WINA), Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is one of the largest consumers of instant noodles today with 1.92 million servings as of May 2020.
The country was ranked 11th in the global noodles demand ranking, with Indomie instant noodles being the most consumed brand in Nigeria.
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