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Has NAFDAC truly banned Indomie noodles in Nigeria? [Pulse Explainer]

Indofood is one of the world’s largest makers of instant noodles and the company exports its products to over 90 countries including Nigeria.

NAFDAC has banned the importation of these flavours of Indomie into Nigeria. (Premium Times)

Due to this development in the Asian countries, there have been claims in Nigeria that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has banned Indomie noodles in the country.

This claim seems to be gaining ground on social media as many do not fully understand what the Indomie crisis is all about.

What’s really the issue with Indomie?

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In April, health authorities in Malaysia and Taiwan announced that they discovered a potentially cancer-causing substance in the popular Indomie brand of instant noodles.

They described the substance as ethylene oxide, which is a colourless, odourless gas that is used to sterilise medical devices and spices.

Ethylene oxide is believed to be responsible for lymphoid cancer and breast cancer.

According to the countries’ health officials, the substance was detected in Indomie’s “special chicken” flavour noodles produced by Indofood, an Indonesian food giant.

Indofood is one of the world’s largest makers of instant noodles and the company exports its products to over 90 countries including Nigeria.

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NAFDAC did not ban Indomie noodles in Nigeria

In a bid to safeguard Nigerians from consuming the ‘special chicken’ Indomie that has already been recalled from Malaysian and Taiwan markets, NAFDAC has banned the importation of the product into Nigeria.

The agency has clarified that it did not ban Nigerians from consuming Indomie noodles that are produced in Nigeria, rather it prohibits the importation of the flagged cancer-causing Indomie noodles into the country.

According to NAFDAC’s Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the product flagged by Malaysian and Taiwan health officials has nothing to do with Nigeria.

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She said, “Indomie noodles have been banned from being imported into the country for many years. It is one of the foods on the government's prohibition list. It is not allowed in Nigeria, and therefore not registered by NAFDAC.

“What we are doing is exercising extra caution to ensure that the product is not smuggled in, and if so, our post-marketing surveillance would detect it. We also want to be sure that the spices used for Indomie and other noodles 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 further explained that the agency’s investigations into the products will commence in Nigeria on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.

The agency also vowed to begin random sampling of Indomie noodles, including the seasoning, from the production facilities to ascertain their safety levels for consumption.

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