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Cancer scare: NAFDAC begins test on Indomie noodles

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control  said it would commence the random sampling of Indomie noodles, including the seasoning, from the production facilities and the markets tomorrow (today).

NAFDAC also said the importation of Indomie noodles into Nigeria had been banned for many years and it was on the prohibition list.

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This follows the detection of ethylene oxide, a flammable colourless gas with sweet odour, said to be potentially cancer-causing, in Indomie’s “special chicken” flavour noodles by health officials in Malaysia and Taiwan.

Both Malaysia and Taiwan have recalled the product.

Meanwhile, the makers of Indomie noodles, Indofod, defended the safety of its products, saying 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.

“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,” a press statement by Indofood read in part.

But the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, told The PUNCH on Monday that the agency had started investigating and responding immediately to the news of the recalled Indomie noodles by Taiwan and Malaysia authorities.

Prof Adeyeye said, “Tomorrow (Tuesday), 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.

“We also want to be sure that the spices used for Indomie and other noodles in Nigeria are tested. That is what NAFDAC Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and Post-Marketing Surveillance are doing this week at the production facilities and in the market respectively.”