The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has addressed concerns over the consumption of noodles made in Nigeria, stating that there is no presence of ethylene oxide or its metabolite in the products.
In a press conference held in Lagos on Thursday, Professor Mojosola Adeyeye, the Director General of NAFDAC, revealed the findings of an extensive investigation conducted by the agency. The investigation was prompted by alarm raised by the Ministries of Health in Malaysia and Taiwan, which claimed that Indomie Instant Noodles ‘Special Chicken Flavour’ contained ethylene oxide, a compound associated with an increased risk of cancer.
To ascertain the safety of locally produced noodles and their seasonings, samples were collected from production facilities and trade locations across the country. These samples were carefully packaged and delivered to NAFDAC’s Central Laboratory in Lagos for thorough analysis.
Addressing the press conference, Prof. Adeyeye assured the public, saying, “The findings of our investigation into the presence of ethylene oxide or its metabolite in noodles and seasonings produced in the country show that they are safe for consumption.”
She further explained that the investigation extended beyond Indomie to include other brands of instant noodles manufactured in Nigeria. NAFDAC’s Post Marketing Surveillance Division also conducted visits to markets and retail outlets in Lagos, Abuja, and Kano, collecting additional samples for laboratory analysis.
“The market visits served as surveillance for the presence of the Taiwan and Malaysian special chicken noodles in the Nigerian market,” Adeyeye added. “The level of mycotoxin and heavy metals was within the internationally acceptable limit. Therefore, the noodles made in Nigeria are very safe to eat.”
Utilizing Gas Chromatography with a Mass Spectrometry detector, NAFDAC analyzed a total of 114 samples of instant noodles and seasonings. The investigation not only focused on ethylene oxide and its derivative 2-chloroethane but also examined other contaminants, such as mycotoxins and heavy metals, in the samples.
However, Adeyeye acknowledged a delay in the analytical activities at the laboratory, emphasizing that it was not deliberate. NAFDAC had to order certified reference materials, reagents, and chemicals from overseas to ensure accurate testing in accordance with international standards and methods of analysis.