The Korean Embassy on Friday has requested the Philippine government to immediately lift the ban on six Korean noodle brands earlier sold in the local market after the Korea Food and Drug Administration certified that consumption of these products are not harmful to humans.
In a statement, it said KFDA had conducted a thorough test and issued a certificate on Nov. 7, 2012 saying that the level of benzopyrene found in the noodle powder—which ranges from 0.4 to 1.6 ppb—“was extremely low and has no harmful effect on the human body."
Benzopyrene is considered both as pollutant and carcinogen.
The embassy said the Korean government has set limits in wet smoked fish products to 5 ppb, and 10 ppb in dried smoked fish. The European Union has similarly set the same standards for its wet smoked fish.
"Other countries, such as Japan and the United States, did not set specific standards for benzopyrene in smoked fish products, but recommended its industries to voluntarily reduce the presence of the said organic compound to the lowest possible level," the statement read.
It said based on the certificate issued by the KFDA, the Nong Shim Co. Ltd. is allowed to sell the six noodle brands that are now available in the Korean market without any complaints from the people.
"Furthermore, all foreign countries, with the exception of the Philippines and Thailand, have lifted the ban on the importation as the six noodle brands proved to be totally unharmful to the human body," it said.
It said even Taipei authorities have also conducted its own test of the said noodle, concluding that the noodle is indeed not harmful to the consumers.
The noodle products involved are made by Nong Shim: Spicy Neoguri, Mild Neoguri, Neoguri Cup Noodles (small and large), Saewootang Cup Noodles and Seng Seng Udong.
The embassy said the ban on its importation is seriously impacting the exporters and importers of the Philippines and Korea as well as the image of Korean-made noodles.
"Given this serious situation, the Korean Embassy requested the appropriate measures of the Philippine government including the expeditious lifting of the ban on the six Korean noodle brands," it said.
Earlier, the EcoWaste Coalition urged consumers to refrain from buying these products sold in Korean shops in Makati and Quezon cities after KFDA requested Nong Shim Co. Ltd. to implement a recall due to safety reasons.
Nong Shim Co. Ltd. decided to voluntarily remove all imported batches of the products concerned from shelves "to allay public concern associated with the incident." –KG, GMA News