The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has concluded its laboratory investigation on Indomie Noodles and other brands of noodles in Nigeria, following the health alerts raised on the products by Malaysia and Taiwan authorities, saying the implicated noodles are not in Nigeria.
Recall the agency announced the commencement of its probe of the contaminated products in Nigeria on 2 May, 2023, due to the alleged detection of the cancer-causing agent- ethylene oxide in the Special Chicken Flavour of Indomie Noodle.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, disclosed the outcome of the laboratory test to Nigerians on Thursday, assuring them of the safety of the staple food amongst children and some adults, insisting that investigations by the agency have revealed that Indomie Noodles implicated in the recalls in Malaysia and Taiwan are not in Nigeria.
She made the disclosure at the MAN House, Ikeja, Lagos, during the Quarterly Interactive session between the agency and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria MAN, where she implored Nigerians to always eat safe.
In a statement by the NAFDAC Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, Prof. Adeyeye was quoted to have said samples of the noodles and seasonings (spices), were collected by the agency for laboratory analysis, and they were found to be safe for consumption.
‘’I love to eat good food, including noodles. But I want to be sure that the food I am eating is not going to make me sick, take medicine. And if I am taking medicine the food that I am eating will not make me to add to the medicine that I am taking. Therefore, I take food very, very seriously’’, she said.
She explained that immediately the news of the recalls of Indomie Noodles from Malaysia and Taiwan got to Nigeria she directed the Director, Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Mrs Eva Edwards, and Director of Laboratory Services (Food), Dr Charles Nwachukwu, respectively to begin tripartite discussions with manufacturers and marketers.
The DG disclosed that someone asked her when the results were going to come out, adding that the agency had run all the necessary tests. ‘’But we needed a chemical standard. It’s all science. We are a science organisation, and our processes are science driven. We cannot conduct our own Nigerian science. No. We have to use the international standard chemical agents and things like that’’.
She stressed that the agency is highly sensitive in terms of food safety, adding that we have to make sure that we do the right thing, regulatory-wise. She reiterated that NAFDAC officials went round and took samples from the market ‘’because there are suitcase importers that may bring such product in without us knowing’’.
The NAFDAC boss emphasised that the agency did not ban importation of Indomie during the recent Taiwan and Malaysia episode where many people died after consuming Indomie Noodle. She said that noodles generally had been banned by the Federal Government many years before she assumed office as DG NAFDAC in order to protect the local manufacturing sector.
She however, insisted that the implicated foreign noodles are not in Nigeria, hence, the locally produced noodles are safe for human consumption. She also said.
‘’We are improving on what will make our people healthier. Whatever we put into our food will affect us. Whether positively or otherwise’’.
She however, urged the Nigerian manufacturers to strive to bring quality into their products. ‘’You cannot add quality to it. Because it’s a matter of time it will show. With quality, now comes opportunities to trade globally, she said, noting that Nigeria market is the largest in Africa.
She disclosed that regulatory agencies of several countries have been coming to NAFDAC to make enquiries because of ACFA, asking ‘’what are the things that we need for us to bring things to Nigeria to sell? She urged MAN to take advantage of the opportunity to generate foreign exchange for the nation’s economy.
‘’That’s why I urge MAN to take the bull by the horn with the Food, Beverage, and Tobacco sector and Chemical and Pharmaceutical sector to take the lead. We can do it. We can lead Africa in terms of trade. It may take some efforts. But it’s achievable’’, she said, noting that about two weeks ago, the first pharmaceutical company to have a WHO prequalified product in West Africa and Central Africa combined is SWIPHA Nigeria Limited. ‘’We are going to have many more of WHO Prequalified products in Nigeria’’, she pledged.
The Director General of MAN, Mr Segun Ajayi Quadri, eulogised Prof. Adeyeye for her leadership acumen which has transformed the agency to a lofty height in the last five years, adding that ‘’we are therefore delighted by your reappointment as DG of NAFDAC. I assure you of our implicit confidence in your leadership and support as we work together for the overall development of our economy and the wellbeing of the citizens of this country’’.
Acknowledging the cordial working relationship between the two organisations, Mr Segun Ajayi Quadri, said this will give meaning to all the efforts at enhancing the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the nation’s GDP and its competitiveness index.
‘’We shall also be looking for the definitive action on the outstanding memorandum of understanding between NAFDAC and MAN’’, he said, adding that ‘’we remain convinced that the MOU exemplifies the concretization of the cooperation and collaboration that we have built over the years. It provides the basis for certainty. It minimizes the use of discretion and becomes a sustainable guarding document in our relationship. This is what our nation needs to work’’, he said, adding that ‘’this shows that you are leading in an example of what public and private partnership should be.
‘’We at MAN value the partnership the interactive sessions have engendered’’.