Indonesia food regulator pressed to probe instant noodles after Taiwan, Malaysia recall
JAKARTA – A senior lawmaker and Indonesia’s consumer watchdog have urged the food regulator to examine a product of one of the world’s biggest instant noodle brands, following a recall in Taiwan and Malaysia on concerns it could contain a carcinogenic ingredient.
Taiwan on Monday recalled the “special chicken” flavor of Indomie, a popular Indonesian instant noodle variety produced by Indofood CBP’s, citing traces of the carcinogenic ethylene oxide, which can elevate cancer risks. Ethylene oxide is a toxic, colorless, odorless gas mainly used to sterilize medical equipment and spices.
Malaysia on Wednesday ordered checks on the same noodle product at all entry points and asked Indofood to recall it.
Indofood CBP, a packaged food-producing unit of Indofood Sukses Makmur, has more than 20 production facilities globally and its noodles are available in more than 100 countries.
Indofood CBP and its parent declined to comment on Thursday. Indofood was earlier quoted by local media as saying the product abided by regulator standards, both locally and in importing countries.
Kurniasih Mufidayati, a lawmaker the parliamentary commission that oversees health, said the food and drugs agency (BPOM) should test samples of Indomie and make sure the product in Taiwan was not that same as that circulating in Indonesia.
“Give a sense of safety to consumers, by testing regularly and announcing the results to the public,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.
Indonesia’s consumer protection agency (BPKN) on Thursday said BPOM should verify the product’s ingredients and recall it if it does not meet safety standards.
Indonesia’s health ministry referred all queries to the BPOM, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Budi Santoso, an Indonesian trade ministry official, on Thursday told reporters Indomie in Indonesia was safe and that Taiwan’s regulations “are very sensitive, different with us.”
Overseas sales last year of Indofood CBP products, which also include dairy items and snacks, contributed to 29 percent of its total sales of 64.8 trillion rupiah ($4.41 billion), the company said.
($1 = 14,705.0000 rupiah)