INDOFOOD, the producer of indomie noodles, has debunked the claims by the Taiwan and Malaysian governments that one of its product varieties – chicken flavour – contains ethylene oxide (“EtO”), a cancer-causing chemical linked to lymphoma and leukaemia.
In a statement on Friday, the company said its products are safe for public consumption.
Following their claims, Taiwan and Malaysia have ordered the recall of the products.
The ICIR reports that indomie is a staple food in many homes in Nigeria, cherished by children and adults.
Because of its popularity, many people in the country identify all noodle products as indomie.
The product became popular in Nigeria in the ’90s, though it was first produced in Indonesian, the current headquarters of its manufacturer, in 1972.
Indofood is one of the largest instant noodles manufacturers worldwide. The products are in over 100 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
The product comes in many varieties, from classic soup flavours such as chicken, vegetable, and curry to its most popular flavour indomie mi goreng.
Its manufacturer claims it produces 19 billion packs annually.
Claims by Taiwan and Malaysia
On Monday, April 24, Taipei City in Taiwan issued a statement showing the result of the tests it conducted on indomie products in the country.
Part of the statement reads, “In order to ensure the hygiene and safety of food consumed by consumers, the Health Bureau of Taipei City Government sampled 112 instant noodle products in supermarkets, supermarkets, supermarkets, traditional markets, Southeast Asian food specialty stores, general vending stores or wholesale importers to test the ethylene oxide content in 30 stores, and the inspection results found that the residual ethylene oxide did not comply with the requirements.”
Reacting to the statement, the Malaysian Health Director-General Radzi Abu Hassan said the locally produced “Ah Lai White Curry Noodles” ( indomie chicken) had met local compliance standards, but the ministry decided to proceed with the recall to ensure food safety.
Product contains chemical, but safe – Indonesia
Meanwhile, the Indonesian National Agency of Drug and Food Control, known as the BPOM, confirmed the product contained the substance, but at a level acceptable to the standard applied by the agency.
The office said in a statement issued on April 27 that the standard for food products manufactured in the nation could contain up to 85 parts per million (ppm) of Ethylene oxide.
“The level detected in the instant noodle sample in Taiwan (0,34 ppm) is still way below the standard applied in Indonesia and in other countries like the United States and Canada,” part of the statement said.
Our products are safe – Indomie producer
Reacting to the reports on Taiwan’s tests and recall of its products by the country and Malaysia, the manufacturer said in a statement signed by its director, Taufik Wiraatmadja, “All instant noodles produced by ICBP in Indonesia are processed in compliance with the food safety standards from the Codex Standard for Instant Noodles and standards set by the Indonesian National Agency for Drug and Food Control (“BPOM RI”).
“Our instant noodles have received Indonesian National Standard Certification (SNI) and are produced in certified production facilities based on international standards.
“ICBP has exported instant noodles to various countries around the world for more than 30 years. The Company continuously ensures that all of its products are in compliance with the applicable food safety regulations and guidelines in Indonesia as well as other countries where ICBP’s instant noodles are marketed.”
We’ll address Nigerians on claims – NAFDAC
When contacted by The ICIR Saturday morning, the Director of Public Affairs at the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Jimoh Abubakar, a doctorate holder, forwarded a text message by The ICIR seeking the agency’s reaction to the issue to the NAFDAC Director-General, Mojisola Adeyeye, a professor, for a response.
Abubakar promised to get back to The ICIR.
The response had yet to come as of the time of publishing this report.