FDA Testing Recalled Korean Noodles

MANILA, Philippines --- The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will subject the recalled Korean noodles sold in the country to laboratory test to confirm if these contained benzopyrene, an organic compound which is being linked to cancer.

FDA Deputy Director Nazarita Tacandong told the Manila Bulletin that the FDA has directed its inspectors to buy samples of six Nongshim noodles that were recalled last week by the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) after these were found to contain benzopyrene.

She said FDA personnel were also directed to go directly to the importers of the Nongshim instant noodles to get samples and list of supermarkets and stores where the products are distributed in the Philippines.

In addition, Tacandong said the FDA has already written the KFDA to ask for the results of its test and the method it used in analyzing the instant noodles.

The KFDA ordered last week the recall of Nongshim's Spicy Neoguri, Mild Neoguri, Neoguri Cup Noodles (small and large), Saewootang Cup Noodles and Seng Seng Udong.

Tacandong said other imported Korean noodles sold in the country will also be subjected to tests.

Local environmental group EcoWaste Coalition said it was able to buy five of the six recalled instant noodles in Korean stores in Makati and Quezon City.

EcoWaste said the KFDA had earlier tested 30 samples of Korean-made instant noodles and found benzopyrene, ranging from 1.2 to 4.7 parts per billion, in 20 items.

Tacandong said the FDA is rushing to test the products, hoping that the laboratory results will be available within the week.

After the KFDA's recall order, China and Taiwan have ordered the products to be pulled from the market.

"Benzopyrene has been shown to be carcinogenic to experimental animals," according to the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said benzopyrene is a byproduct of combustion and burning of organic items such as cigarettes, gasoline and wood; in grilled and broiled foods; and cigarette smoke.