By Asmau Ahmad
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Nigeria has followed up on the ongoing investigations of the ‘Special Chicken Flavour’ Indomie Instant Noodles which the Malaysian and Taiwan governments have flagged as carcinogenic.
The agency insists the locally produced brands of the noodles do not include ‘Special Chicken Flavour,’ and its importation has remained banned for years.
Though many believe that some crooked individuals can still attempt to bring them into the country, the nation’s drug and food regulator said it had been alive to her responsibilities of safeguarding the health of the public.
“What we are doing is an 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 the Indomie and other noodles in Nigeria are tested.
That is what NAFDAC Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and Post Marketing Surveillance are doing this week at the production facilities and in the market respectively.”
Four medical experts also affirm that there is no need for Nigerians to distrust NAFDAC.
According to them, NAFDAC has been on the front burner in the exportation of regulated products and issuing quality certification for such regulated products.
A Professor of Public Health at the University of Ilorin and former National Chairman of the Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria, Tanimola Akande, said “NAFDAC has publicly informed Nigerians that Nigeria is not at risk. Such a statement must have followed their own assessment of the Indomie product made in Nigeria.
“Such ordinarily should convince Nigerians that they are not at risk. It is desirable for NAFDAC to further ensure that indomie from Taiwan and Malaysia is not in the Nigerian market imported appropriately or smuggled into the country.
“There is a need for NAFDAC to do further active surveillance to ensure Indomie products from Taiwan and Malaysia are not in Nigeria. With these steps, Nigerians will be convinced that NAFDAC has done all they need to do to keep Nigerians from the risk of cancer from Indomie imported into Nigeria from Taiwan and Malaysia if any.”
The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye assured that the Indomie instant noodles products and other brands of noodles registered by the agency for sale in the Nigerian market were safe for consumption.
Prof Adeyeye said the agency was extending the investigation to other brands of instant noodles offered for sale to Nigerians.
She noted that the agency’s Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and Post Marketing Surveillance would investigate the production facilities and the market respectively.
“We use this medium to assure the public that a thorough investigation of the products will be conducted both at the factory and market levels and our findings will be communicated.”
She reiterated that the Indomie instant noodles products and other brands of noodles registered by the agency are granted NAFDAC registration status following a strict regulatory regime covering all aspects of Good Manufacturing Practice.
“The Ports Inspection Directorate is also on heightened alert to guard against the importation of the implicated product into Nigeria,” Adeyeye said.
Health officials in Malaysia and Taiwan recalled the “special chicken” flavour noodles saying they had detected a compound called ethylene oxide in the noodles. The implicated indomie flavour is produced by Indofood.