Test for traces of the cancer-causing chemical, ethylene oxide, in locally produced Indomie noodles, will still go on despite established grounds that the noodle brand is safe for consumption, Mojisola Adeyeye, director-general, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said Tuesday.
She insisted that the regulatory agency requires updated data on the local Indomie content to be absolutely sure that the product is healthy.
She said the ban on noodles only affects imported or foreign-made as in the case of the brands recalled by the Taiwan and Malaysia governments over cancer concerns.
“Our local manufacturers have safe noodles. That’s why we registered them. However, to be safe, we are going through the market, taking samples, going through the production facilities just to be sure that there is nothing to worry about,” Adeyeye said, reacting to questions on the ban and safety in a TVC interview.
“It is part of our regulatory control. It is very likely it was introduced through the spices that are used for the different noodles in Taiwan and Malaysia.
She added that other brands of noodles and their various versions will also be tested for the chemical of concern.
Ethylene oxide is a carcinogenic chemical associated with an increased risk of lymphoid and breast cancers.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Human exposure occurs mainly through inhalation in sterilisation facilities and in production plants. Exposure may also occur through fumigated foods, pharmaceutical products, and sterilised medical equipment.
The compound became a fresh subject of concern after the Taiwan and Malaysian governments asked an Indonesian producer to withdraw Indomie’s ‘special chicken’ flavor from their market due to observed traces.
Although Tope Ashiwaju, the group corporate communications and event manager, Dufil Prima Foods Limited, producer of Indomie, has allayed fears that its products are unsafe, it remains to be seen if the claims will match evidence expected from NAFDAC’s investigation.
“All packs of Indomie Instant Noodles consumed in Nigeria are produced locally under strict international best manufacturing procedures with ISO certified standards,” Ashiwaju said in a report.
“We use only the finest ingredients, sourced from reputable suppliers, and our production facilities are regularly inspected and audited to ensure that they meet the highest standards.”