The decision by Malaysia and Taiwan to recall Indomie’s “special chicken” flavour noodles has raised some concerns about the safety of the food globally, including in Nigeria.
The development followed the detection of ethylene oxide, a substance known to cause cancer, in the product by the health institutions in the two countries.
Nigeria has also reacted to the development as the agency in charge of standards has set in motion plans to conduct fresh independent tests on the concerned products.
The country’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday morning its plans to ascertain the claim by its Taiwan and Malaysian counterparts.
The health department in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, said it detected ethylene oxide in two types of instant noodles, including the Indomie chicken flavour, following random inspections.
It said the detection of ethylene oxide in the product did not comply with standards.
“The Taipei City Health Bureau reminds food industry that our country has not approved the use of ethylene oxide as a pesticide, nor has it approved the use of ethylene oxide gas as a disinfection purpose,” the department said in a statement.
“The industry is sure to implement autonomous management and confirm that the raw materials and products should comply with food safety and health management.”
Following this development, the health ministry in Malaysia said it had examined 36 samples of instant noodles from different brands since 2022 and found that 11 samples contained ethylene oxide.
Ethylene oxide is a colourless, odourless gas that is used to sterilize medical devices and spices and has been described as a cancer-causing chemical.
The Malaysian ministry said it had taken enforcement actions and recalled the affected products.
Indofoods, an Indonesian company and maker of Indomie instant noodles, has denied the allegations noting that all its noodles are produced with standard certification. However, Taiwan and Malaysia have ordered businesses to immediately remove the products from their shelves.