The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has disclosed that it is investigating claims of a cancer-causing chemical found in Indomie noodles.
This follows claims by health personnel in Malaysia and Taiwan that they had detected ethylene oxide, a compound, in Indomie’s special chicken flavour noodles.
Ethylene oxide is a colourless, odourless gas that is used to sterilise medical equipment and plastics. It is said to be a cancer-causing chemical.
The discovery prompted Malaysia and Taiwan to recall the Indomie special chicken flavour from shelves.
In its reaction, Indofood, makers of Indomie noodles, said the products were safe for consumption.
A member of the board of directors at Indofoods, Taufik Wiraatmadja, said the noodles received standard certifications and were produced in compliance with international food safety regulations.
However, NAFDAC director-general, Mojisola Adeyeye, said the agency would begin random sample tests of the noodles and other brands from May 2.
Adeyeye in an interaction with TheCable on Monday, said NAFDAC started investigating once it got wind of the recall of the products by Taiwan and Malaysia authorities.
She 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 (will) 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.”
The DG said the product is on the prohibition list of the federal government, adding that it is not registered by the agency and had been banned from importation to Nigeria years ago.
She said NAFDAC is working to ensure that the product is not being smuggled and that the feedback from the investigations would be communicated to the public.
The NAFDAC DG added, “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 the Indomie and other noodles in Nigeria are tested.
“That is what NAFDAC food safety and applied nutrition (FSAN) and post-marketing surveillance (PMS) are doing this week at the production facilities and in the market respectively. The public will be duly updated with the outcomes of the investigation.”
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