Recalled Korean Noodles Sold Locally

MANILA, Philippines --- Korean instant noodles that were ordered recalled by the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) for containing a probable carcinogen are being sold in the Philippines.

The noodles, manufactured by Nongshim, are sold in Korean stores including in Makati and Quezon City, according to the environmental watchdog EcoWaste Coalition.

Last week, the KFDA ordered the recall of six instant noodles by Nongshim after it was found to contain benzopyrene, which the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) described as ''a probable human carcinogen'' that can induce the formation of tumors based on studies of adult animals.

These noodles are Spicy Neoguri, Mild Neoguri, Neoguri Cup Noodles (small and large), Saewootang Cup Noodles and Seng Seng Udong.

EcoWaste said it was able to purchase all noodles except the large Neoguri Cup Noodles from local Korean stores.

It 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.

The KFDA initially announced that the amount of benzopyrene found in these products was generally safe.

However, after Korean lawmakers demanded the agency to take action, KFDA head Lee Hee Sung said it would order the recall of the instant noodles.

Following the announcement, China and Taiwan also ordered the recall of the noodles from stores.

Nongshim controls more than 60 percent of the instant noodle market in South Korea. It also manufactures snacks and beverages.

EcoWaste cautioned Filipino consumers about the recalled noodles.

''In the interest of consumer health and safety, Filipinos who are fond of Korean ramyeon (ramen) should refrain from consuming the recalled items, and shop owners should return the remaining stocks to the manufacturers at once,'' said Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste Coalition's Project Protect.

She urged the Philippine Food and Drug Administration ''to look into this food safety issue and take appropriate action.''

According to the EPA, benzopyrene is ''a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) that is a byproduct of incomplete combustion or burning of organic items, e.g., cigarettes, gasoline, and wood, and is commonly found with other PAHs in cigarette smoke, in grilled and broiled foods, and as a by-product of many industrial processes.''

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