NAFDAC to commence sampling of Indomie noodles
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control in Nigeria (NAFDAC) has said it will commence the random sampling of Indomie noodles, including the seasoning from production facilities and in markets from tomorrow Tuesday, the 2nd of may 2023.
Indomie is a brand of instant noodles produced by the Indonesian company Indofood and Nigeria is one of the biggest markets with the highest consumers of instant noodles. It is also exported to more than 90 countries around the world.
The agency also noted the importation of the product into Nigeria has been banned for many years, adding that it has been on the prohibition list.
This decision followed 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. Both countries have since 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.
According to the National Cancer Institute, ethylene oxide is a flammable colourless gas with a sweet odour at room temperature.
“It is used primarily to produce other chemicals, including antifreeze. In smaller amounts, ethylene oxide is used as a pesticide and a sterilizing agent. The ability of ethylene oxide to damage DNA makes it an effective sterilizing agent but also accounts for its cancer-causing activity,” the institute stated.
Similarly, the Director-General of NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye told newsmen on Monday that the agency has started investigating and responding immediately to the news of the recalled Indomie noodles by Taiwan and Malaysia authorities.
She 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 and 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,” she noted.
Adeyeye, however assured to duly keep the public updated on the outcomes of the investigation.