The sampling of Indomie noodles, will commence tomorrow on Tuesday, after iimportation of the product was banned in Nigeria earlier by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control in the country.
According to NAFDAC the sampling will include the seasoning from the production facilities and the markets as the organisation confirmed that the importation of Indomie noodles into Nigeria had been banned for many years and the products were on the prohibition list.
This development comes as a result the detection of a compound called ethylene oxide, a potentially cancer-causing substance in Indomie’s “special chicken” flavour noodles by health officials in Malaysia and Taiwan.
Interestingly, both Malaysia and Taiwan have recalled the product. It is a brand of instant noodles produced by the Indonesian company, while Indofood and Nigeria is one of the biggest consumers of instant noodles which is also exported to more than 90 countries around the world.
However, in response to the ban from authorities in Nigeria, makers of Indomie noodles, Indofod, revealed that all instant noodles produced by the ICBP in Indonesia were 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.
The claim was disclosed in a press statement by Indofood which read in part: “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 the ICBP’s instant noodles are marketed.”
According to the National Cancer Institute, ethylene oxide is a flammable colourless gas with a sweet odour at room temperature.
The institute said, “It is used primarily to produce other chemicals, including antifreeze. In smaller amounts, ethylene oxide is used as a pesticide and a sterilising agent. The ability of ethylene oxide to damage DNA makes it an effective sterilising agent but also accounts for its cancer-causing activity.”
The agency has started investigating and responding immediately to the news of the recalled Indomie noodles by Taiwan and Malaysia authorities, the Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye told The PUNCH on Monday.
In the words of Prof Adeyeye, “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 the 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.”
Adeyeye added that the public will be duly updated with the outcomes of the investigation.