Indofood, makers of Indomie instant noodles, has reacted to a recall of its products in Taiwan and Malaysia over an increased cancer risk.
Health officials in Malaysia and Taiwan said they had detected ethylene oxide, a compound, in Indomie’s “special chicken” flavor noodles.
Ethylene oxide is a colourless, odourless gas that is used to sterilise medical devices and spices and has been associated as a cancer-causing chemical.
The ministry of health in Malaysia said it had examined 36 samples of instant noodles from different brands since 2022 and found that 11 samples contained ethylene oxide.
The ministry said it had taken enforcement actions and recalled the affected products. It is unclear if other brands were involved.
The development came hours after the department of health in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, said it detected ethylene oxide in two types of instant noodles, including the Indomie chicken flavor, following random inspections.
“The detection of ethylene oxide in the product did not comply with [standards],” the department said in a statement.
“Businesses have been ordered to immediately remove them from their shelves.”
‘OUR NOODLES ARE PRODUCED ACCORDING TO SAFETY STANDARDS’
Reacting to the allegations in a statement on Friday, Taufik Wiraatmadja, a member of the board of directors at Indofoods, defended the safety of the noodles.
Wiraatmadja said the noodles have received standard certifications and have been produced in compliance with international food safety regulations.
“Following the media reports in Taiwan on 24 April 2023 regarding the detection of ethylene oxide (“EtO”) in the Ah Lai White Curry Noodles from Malaysia and seasoning of Indomie Special Chicken Flavour, PT Indofood CBP Sukses Makmur Tbk (“ICBP” or the “Company”) as a subsdiary of PT Indofood Sukses Makmur Tbk wishes to provide explanation regarding Indomie, as follows,” the statement reads.
“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 (“BPOM RI”). Our instant noodles have received Indonesian National Standard Certification (SNI), and are produced in certified production facilities based on international standards.
“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.
“We would like to emphasize that in accordance with the statement released by BPOM RI, our Indomie instant noodles are safe for consumption.”
Nigeria is one of the highest consumers of the Indomie instant noodles.