The 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 by Director General, Mojisola Adeyeye, a professor, confirmed that imported indomie noodles remain banned in Nigeria.
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 bordered on being cautious.
Also reacting to the development, the management of Dufil Prima Foods Plc, makers of Indomie Noodles in Nigeria, said its products are 100 per cent locally produced and are safe for consumption.
It was earlier reported that the Taiwan and Malaysian authorities had stopped the sale of 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, noting that 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, said efforts were ongoing to subject the product to further investigations in its laboratories, while it also assured the public that the discovery made in Taiwan and Malaysia had not been confirmed in the products in Nigerian markets.
Meanwhile, Indofoods, an Indonesian company and maker of Indomie instant noodles, has assured that all its noodles are produced with standard certification.
Adeyeye said although investigations into the products will commence in Nigeria from Tuesday, 2 May [today], imported Indomie noodles remain banned from Nigeria.
She 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.
She noted that there are also plans to ensure the spices used for Indomie brand and other noodles made 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.
Speaking on the issue 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 that the news about Malaysia and Taiwan is raising doubts about the products in Nigeria. So, we will work with these agencies to ensure that 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.”