By Emmanuel Adeleke
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has disclosed its findings on the investigation into the presence of ethylene oxide or its metabolite in noodles and their seasonings, saying all noodles made in Nigeria are safe.
NAFDAC investigation was occasioned by the recalls of Indomie Instant Noodles ‘Special Chicken Flavour’ by the Ministries of Health in Malaysia and Taiwan over the presence of ethylene oxide, a compound associated with an increased risk of cancer.
NAFDAC’s Director General, Prof Christianah Adeyeye, while addressing newsmen in Lagos on Thursday, said that ethylene oxide or its derivative was not found in any of the noodles and seasonings produced in Nigeria.
“Samples of chicken flavoured instant noodles of various brands and the seasonings were drawn from the production facilities across the country.
“This was to ensure that the investigation was robust, covering other instant noodles brands manufactured in Nigeria, besides Indomie, the implicated brand.
“The Post Marketing Surveillance Division also visited markets/retail outlets in the major cities of Lagos, Abuja, and Kano and drew samples of instant noodles for laboratory analysis.
“The market visits served as surveillance for the presence of the Taiwan and Malaysian special chicken noodles in the Nigerian market.
“The samples drawn from production facilities and trade were properly packaged and delivered in good condition to our Central Laboratory, Oshodi, Lagos, where analytical activities commenced immediately in accordance with international standards and methods of analysis,” she said.
Adeyeye said NAFDAC deployed used Gas Chromatography with Mass Spectrometry detector, adding that a total of 114 samples of instant noodles and the seasonings were tested.
She explained that the compound of interest, ethylene oxide, is a colourless, odourless gas that is used to sterilise medical devices and has been implicated as a cancer-causing chemical.
“We did not only analyse for ethylene oxide and its derivative 2-chloroethanol in the noodles and seasonings; we also analysed for other contaminants such as mycotoxins and heavy metals in the samples,” Adeyeye added.