Malaysian health ministry orders recall of 2 types of instant noodles over carcinogenic fears
An inspection in Taipei found that a batch of "Ah Lai White Curry Noodles" that were made in Malaysia and “Indomie: Special Chicken Flavour" noodles from Indonesia contained ethylene oxide - a cancer-causing substance.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Health Ministry has ordered the recall of two types of instant noodles - made by a Malaysian and an Indonesian manufacturer respectively – after health authorities in Taiwan detected a type of carcinogenic substance in the products.
In a statement on Wednesday (Apr 26), health director-general Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan said that the manufacturer of the Malaysian-made "Ah Lai White Curry Noodles" had complied with local health standards but that a recall order was made on a batch of the products to ensure food safety.
"The Health Ministry has instructed the manufacturer to voluntarily recall batches of the instant noodles expiring on Aug 25, 2023, from the local market," he said.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for "Ah Lai White Curry Noodles" told local media that the firm had sent samples to be tested by a laboratory following claims by Taipei's Department of Health.
"We have sent our samples to a lab and are awaiting the results," the spokesman was quoted as saying by The Star.
The spokesman also reportedly said that they do not think the noodles which were tested by the Taipei authorities were produced by the company.
"They (Taipei's Department of Health) have not shown us their results or the samples they used but we do not think they used our instant noodles," said the spokesman, as quoted by The Star.
Dr Muhammad Radzi on Wednesday also confirmed that the “Indomie: Special Chicken Flavour" noodles from Indonesia were imported into Malaysia.
“The ministry has issued a hold, test and release order for the products at all entry points to the country. It has also instructed the company to voluntarily recall the product from the market," he said.
Taipei's Department of Health reportedly said on Monday that a batch of "Ah Lai White Curry Noodles" and a batch of "Indomie: Special Chicken Flavour" noodles both contained ethylene oxide - a chemical compound associated with lymphoma and leukaemia.
The findings were part of the city’s 2023 inspection of instant noodles available in Taipei.
The unspecified retailer from which the samples were collected had reportedly been asked to pull the two products off their shelves.
The products' importers will reportedly be fined between NT$60,000 (US$1,958) and NT$200 million.
According to information on the website of Taiwan’s Toxic and Chemical Substances Bureau under the Cabinet-level Environmental Protection Administration, ethylene oxide is poisonous when consumed or inhaled.
Bernama reported that aside from leading to lymphoma and leukaemia, ethylene oxide can also seriously irritate the skin and eyes of those who come into contact with the substance and can even trigger birth and hereditary defects.
Separately, Dr Muhammad Radzi said in the Apr 26 statement that the health ministry has been monitoring food safety on products sold in the local or imported market following a recall of Mi Sedaap products last year.
This came after samples taken of the Indonesian-made noodles were found to contain ethylene oxide.
Dr Muhammad Razi said that of the 36 samples taken from various instant noodle products in the Malaysian market, 11 Mi Sedaap samples were found to have contained the chemical and enforcement action has since been taken.
“Actions taken include compounding, court action and the recall of products from the market,” he said.