The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said that importation of Indomie noodles to Nigeria has been banned following allegations of a cancer-causing chemical found in the noodles and non-registration of the agency.
Health officials in Malaysia and Taiwan recently detected ethylene oxide, a compound in Indomie’s “special chicken” flavour noodles.
Ethylene oxide is a colourless, odourless gas that is used to sterilise medical devices and spices and is said to be a cancer-causing chemical.
The ministry of health in Malaysia noted that it examined 36 samples of instant noodles from different brands since 2022 and found that 11 samples contained ethylene oxide.
Both countries have since recalled the product.
Speaking about the development, Mojisola Adeyeye, NAFDAC director-general, said the agency would begin random sample tests of the noodles and other brands from May 2.
Speaking with TheCable on Monday, Adeyeye said the NAFDAC started investigating once it got wind of the recall of the products by Taiwan and Malaysia authorities.
“Tomorrow, May 2, 2023, NAFDAC’s food safety and applied nutrition directorate will randomly sample Indomie noodles (including the seasoning) from the production facilities while post marketing surveillance directorate (will) samples from the markets,” she said.
“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.”
The DG said the product is on the prohibition list of the federal government, adding that it is not registered by the agency and had been banned from importation to Nigeria years ago.
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.
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.
Indomie has been produced mainly in Indonesia since it was first introduced in 1972, Indomie has also been produced in Nigeria since 1995. Indomie has also been increasingly popular in Nigeria and other African countries.