What food manufacturer says about EU countries’ warning vs instant noodles

July 7, 2022 - 2:04 PM
Image by Miles Burke via Unsplash

Food manufacturer Monde Nissin said its instant noodle products do not contain ethylene oxide, a substance used to make pesticides, in their ingredients.

The manufacturer made this statement after European countries  warned their citizens about the health risks of consuming the noodle products of the Philippine-based food company due to the supposed use of the chemical “ethylene oxide.”

In a statement, the manufacturer assured its consumers that they comply with the Philippine and US Food and Drug Administration standards in the use of ethylene oxide.

“We are aware of the information being shared about certain Lucky Me! products in an ongoing recall in the EU and Taiwan due to the presence of Ethylene Oxide. The recall affects other company’s noodle brands and multiple categories such as ice cream, sesame seed, spices, calcium carbonate supplements, among others,” the statement read.

The manufacturer also pointed out that traces of the said pesticide ingredient might show up in the noodle’s seasoning and sauces because the seeds and spices used to produce such used ethylene oxide to control microbial growth.

Why EU is flagging the instant noodle products

The countries flagged the instant product because the ingredient in question, ethylene oxide, is banned in the European region.

The Republic of Malta warned its citizens not to consume the following products:

  • Instant noodles Pancit Canton ORIGINAL Flavour
  • Instant noodles Pancit Canton HOT CHILI Flavour
  • Instant noodle soup BEEF Flavor
  • Instant noodles Pancit Canton KALAMANSI Flavour
  • Instant noodles Pancit Canton CHILIMANSI Flavour

“In accordance with the Food Safety Act and Regulation (EC) No. 178 of 2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council, the Environmental Health Directorate within the Superintendence of Public Health wishes to inform the public that following information received through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed said products must not be consumed due to high levels of Ethylene oxide (a pesticide),” Malta’s Department of Information’s statement read.

For the same reason, Ireland recalled the distribution of Pancit Canton in their country.

Lucky Me! Pancit Canton, a friend noodle variant of Lucky Me! instant noodles, was first introduced in the Philippines in 1991.

Despite flagging this food product, Ireland noted that the ethylene oxide does not pose an acute health risk.

“This pesticide is not authorized for use in foods sold in the EU. Although the consumption of the contaminated product does not pose an acute risk to health, there may be health issues if there is continued consumption of ethylene oxide over a long period of time,” Ireland’s Food Safety Authority said in a statement

“Therefore, exposure to this substance needs to be minimized,” it added.

The IFSA also displayed point-of-sale recall notices in stores supplied with the implicated batch.

This is not the first time the products were flagged in the European Union countries. According to the EU’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed window, the Netherlands and Denmark also flagged the said products in 2021 due to the use of ethylene oxide.

Consumer advocacy organization Consumer Notice said the chemical ingredient is “an environmental pollutant and is toxic to humans.”

According to the org, ethylene oxide, widely used by companies, is often used by food manufacturers to disinfect their products. Long-term exposure may cause health detriments such as cancer.

The Philippine Department of Health said the country’s Food and Drug Administration will be probing the instant noodle products.