Lucky Me! instant noodles have been the best “pantawid gutom” of most families in the Philippines who belong to the low-income sector. If they can’t afford meat, they can make the pancit canton and noodles soup as alternatives for rice. They also become a necessity for relief efforts when earthquakes and typhoons hit.
Just recently, three European countries issued health and safety advisories regarding the popular Lucky Me! instant noodles because of its ‘Ethylene Oxide’ content. The governments of Ireland, Malta, and France recalled several variants of Lucky Me! instant noodles.
The Food and Safety Authority of Ireland ordered to recall the Lucky Me! instant noodles with a batch code best before date of July 20, 2022 which are manufactured in Thailand. According to the authority, the pesticides is not authorized for use in food sold in the EU.
According to Irish Food Safety and Authority, “Although the consumption of the contaminated products does not pose an acute risk to health, there may be health issues if there’s continued consumption of Ethylene Oxide over a long period of time.”
The Environmental Health Directorate of Malta also wishes to inform the public following the information received through the rapid alert system for food and feed, said products must not consumed due to high level of Ethylene Oxide.
The variants of Lucky Me! pancit canton mentioned include the original, hot chili, kalamansi, and chilimansi flavors as well as Lucky Me! noodle soup beef mami flavor, particularly those manufactured between 2021 and 2022.
Ethylene Oxide also known as Oxirane is an industrial chemical used for pesticides, antifreeze, polyester, textiles, detergents, adhesives, fumigation and for sterilizing equipment. It is a volatile gas which may cause headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty in breathing, drowsiness, weakness, eye and skin burns, and frostbite.
On the other hand, Lucky Me! Monde Nissin Corporation refuted the accusation and issued a public statement saying, “We are aware of information being shared about certain Lucky Me! products in an ongoing recall in the EU and Taiwan due to the presence of Ethylene Oxide. The recall affects other companies’ noodle brands and multiple categories such as ice cream, sesame seed, spices, calcium carbonate supplements, among others.”
“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,” they added.
Lucky Me! ensures that all of their products were FDA registered and they abide with the local food safety standards for Ethylene Oxide.
Meanwhile, according to Department of Health Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the FDA is currently verifying the Ethylene Oxide issue and they are yet to announce a hold of the products, “Wala pa tayong pinapa-hold as we are still verifying the report and getting details. The incident was from Europe, our FDA now is verifying the report so we can issue further information to the public.”
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