Cancer: NAFDAC begins tests on Indomie noodles

THE National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) will begin the test on Indomie noodles products on Tuesday, May 2, to ascertain the authenticity of claims by the Taiwan and Malaysian governments that a variety of the products contains ethylene oxide (“EtO”), a cancer-causing chemical linked to lymphoma and leukaemia.

On Saturday, April 29, The ICIR reported that Taiwan and Malaysia recalled the ‘chicken flavour’ variety of Indomie noodles for allegedly containing ethylene oxide after random tests were carried out on several packs.

But INDOFOOD, Indomie noodles producer, debunked the claims and argued that its products were safe for consumption.

The company said in a statement signed by its director, Taufik Wiraatmadja, that “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.”

Similarly, health authorities in Indonesia, where INDOFOOD is headquartered, agreed that the chemical existed in the product but at a minimal and acceptable level safe for consumption.

The Indonesian National Agency of Drug and Food Control, known as the BPOM, in a statement issued on April 27, said the standard for food products manufactured in the nation could contain up to 85 parts per million (ppm) of Ethylene oxide.

The ICIR reports that Indomie noodles 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.

    Speaking with The Punch on Monday, NAFDAC’s Director-General said, “Tomorrow, May 2, 2023, NAFDAC’s Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Directorate will randomly sample Indomie noodles (including the seasoning) from the production facilities while Post Marketing Surveillance Directorate samples from the markets. The compound of interest is ethylene oxide, so the Director Food Lab Services Directorate has been engaged. He is working on the methodology for the analysis.

    “It should be noted that Indomie noodles have been banned from being imported into the country for many years. It is one of the foods on the government prohibition list. It is not allowed in Nigeria and, therefore, not registered by NAFDAC. What we are doing is an extra caution to ensure that the product is not smuggled in, and if so, our post-marketing surveillance would detect it.”

    She explained that the agency would ensure that the spices used for the Indomie and other noodles in Nigeria are tested. 

    Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's The ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022 and has been the organisation's News Editor since September 2022. Contact him via email @ [email protected].

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