Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has made further clarifications on the controversies surrounding the discovery of cancer-causing substances in the chicken flavour of Indomie noodles by health authorities in Malaysia and Taiwan.
The agency, in a short message shared with PREMIUM TIMES by its Director General, Mojisola Adeyeye, a professor, confirmed that indomie noodles remain banned in Nigeria.
Mrs Adeyeye said the products flagged by both Taiwan and Malaysian health authorities are not registered in Nigeria and so have nothing to do with the country. She, however, noted that the investigations being conducted are simply being cautious.
Also reacting to the development, the management of Dufil Prima Foods Plc, makers of Indomie Noodles in Nigeria, has said its products are 100 per cent locally produced and are safe for consumption.
This newspaper had earlier reported that the Taiwan and Malaysian authorities had stopped the sale of the chicken flavour of the products following the detection of ethylene oxide, a substance known to cause cancer, in the product.
The health department in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, had 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.
Ethylene oxide is a colourless, odourless gas that is used to sterilise 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.
When contacted earlier, NAFDAC, in response to inquiries from this newspaper, said efforts were on to subject the product to further investigations in its laboratories but assured the public that such discovery made in Taiwan and Malaysia was yet to be confirmed in the products in Nigerian markets.
Meanwhile, Indofoods, an Indonesian company and maker of Indomie instant noodles, has denied the allegations noting that all its noodles are produced with standard certification.
NAFDAC’s further clarification
In a message to our reporter on Sunday evening, Mrs Adeyeye said although investigations into the products will commence in Nigeria from Tuesday, 2 May, the products remain banned from being imported into the country.
Ms Adeyeye said Indomie noodles recalled in Taiwan and Malaysia are not “allied in Nigeria and therefore not registered in Nigeria.”
“What we are doing is an extra caution to ensure that it is not smuggled in and if so, our post-marketing surveillance would detect it,” she said.
READ ALSO: Nigeria investigates as Malaysia, Taiwan recall Indomie noodles over cancer-causing substance
She noted that there are also plans to ensure the spices used for the indomie and other noodles in Nigeria are tested.
“That is what NAFDAC Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FSAN) and Post Marketing Surveillance (PMS) are doing this week at the production facilities and in the market respectively,” she said.
Indomie manufacturer in Nigeria speaks
Speaking with this newspaper on Monday, the Group Corporate Communications and Event Manager for Dufil Prima Foods Plc, Temitope Ashiwaju, said the Indomie noodles consumed in Nigeria are not imported into the Nigerian market and that those produced locally are safe for consumption.
He said the company conducts independent market research and also works closely with NAFDAC and other regulatory agencies in the country to ensure the product is safe for consumption.
He said: “We understand the news about Malaysia and Taiwan is raising doubts about the products in Nigeria, so we will work with these agencies to ensure doubts are cleared among Nigerian consumers.
“In the past 25 years, we have been producing and manufacturing indomie noodles in Nigeria and we have done well”.
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