By Bukola Hameed
The National Agency of Food Drugs (NAFDAC) on Thursday said that noodles produced in the country are safe and did not contain Ethylene Oxide or its metabolism.
Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye disclosed this at a media briefing organised to present the outcome of its investigation on whether noodles produced in the country contained ethylene oxide.
Adeyeye said the investigation was occasioned by the recall of Indomie Instant Noodles Special Chicken Flavour by Malaysia and Taiwan, on account of the alleged presence of ethylene oxide, a compound associated with an increased risk of cancer.
She said: “At the time of my initial press release on the issue, I assured the public that thorough investigation of the products would be conducted both at the factory and market levels and that our findings would be communicated.
“As soon as we received the news of the product recalls in Malaysia and Taiwan, immediately I requested the Director, Food Safety and Applied Nutrition to carry out investigation and random sampling of Indomie instant noodles from the production facilities.
“And extend the investigation to other brands of instant noodles offered for sale to Nigerians.
“Imported noodles are not expected to be sold in Nigeria because NAFDAC does not register imported noodles as a result of the ban by the Nigerian government many years ago to foster local production.
“Samples of chicken flavoured instant noodles of various brands and the seasonings were drawn from the production facilities across the country to ensure robust investigation.
“A total of one hundred and fourteen (114) samples of instant noodles and the seasonings were received, while samples were also colleted from Lagos, Abuja and Kano”.
Adeyeye said that findings show that Ethylene oxide or its derivative was not found in any of the instant noodles produced in Nigeria and their seasonings.
She said, “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”.
According to her, the delay in the analytical activities in the laboratory is not deliberate, adding that the agency placed orders for the procurement and supply of certified reference materials (standards), reagents and chemicals from overseas.
She reassured Nigerians that the agency would continue to remain proactive and committed to its responsibilities of protecting the public health.
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