The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is already investigating a Filipino instant noodle brand that has been issued with health warnings from some European countries over alleged presence of ethylene oxide.
“Ito ay tinitingnan na ngayon ng Food and Drug Administration (The Food and Drug Administration is already looking into it),” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Thursday, July 7.
“We will give information in the coming days as to what are the results of the investigation of the Food and Drug Administration,” she added.
Vergeire said that the FDA is ready to recall from the market these instant noodle products in the event that these are found to be contaminated.
“So, kung anuman ang matagpuan ng FDA na talagang with presence of specific component or chemical, yun ang tatanggalin sa merkado dahil yun ang apektado (Whichever products that the FDA detected as having this specific component or chemical, they will be recalled from the market),” she said.
Vergeire said that they are not yet issuing a recall order as investigation is still being conducted.
“We have not yet put on hold anything as we are still verifying the report and getting details,” she said.
“The incident was from Europe. Our FDA is now verifying the report so we can issue further information to the public,” she added.
Vergeire said that exposure to ethylene oxide may cause headache, vomiting, loose bowel movement, difficulty in breathing, and fatigue.
To note, the governments of Ireland, France, and Malta earlier issued a health warning against the instant noodle brand Lucky Me! as it allegedly contains “high levels of ethylene oxide.”
Ethylene Oxide is a gas that is commonly used as a pesticide.
The manufacturer of Lucky Me! products, meanwhile, responded to this issue.
“We would like to clarify that ethylene oxide is not added in Lucky Me! products. It is a commonly used treatment in spices and seeds to control microbial growth typical in agricultural products. These materials, when processed into seasoning and sauces, may still show traces of ethylene oxide,” it said.
"Rest assured that all Lucky Me! products are Philippine FDA registered and comply with local food safety standards and even the US FDA standards for ethylene oxide,” it added.