MANILA, Philippines - Following reports that the Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) has recalled some types of Korean instant noodles, also known as "ramyeon", in the market, the country's FDA has ordered its own investigation.
The KFDA has reportedly recalled noodles from Nongshim, Korea's largest ramyeon manufacturer, after detecting the cancer-causing substance benzopyrene in the powdered seasonings.
According to FDA Deputy Director Nazarita Tacandong said benzopyrene can be found in burnt wood, wood smoke or burnt food, and studies have shown it can cause tumors in animals, although there's not enough proof that it does the same to humans.
Tacandong said they heard about the news over the weekend and has now ordered the collection of various Korean instant noodles to be tested by their laboratories for benzopyrene.
The test will be finished in a week but the FDA has already contacted the KFDA to confirm the reported recall.
"Di kami basta basta nagpi pick up ng news ng walang kasiguraduhan", said Tacandong.
But while waiting for the results of the test, the FDA has already contacted KFDA and is awaiting confirmation. Once confirmed the FDA will issue a recall advisory even before their test results come out.
But in the meantime the FDA is cautioning the public against buying Korean instant noodles.
"Para masiguro ang publiko, huwag muna bumili ng Korean noodles, tangkilin muna ang sariling atin," Tacandong said.
Meanwhile, the EcoWaste coalition is appealing to store and supermarket owners to take it upon themselves to pull out the Korean noodles in question from their shelves.
"We are requesting po na voluntary pull out from these store owners kahit wala pang recall, and we want to advise the public na huwag munang kainin ito," said Aileen Lucero of EcoWaste Coalition.
Lucero said the Korean noodles in question have already been recalled in China, Malaysia and Taiwan.
Among the instant noodles found with benzopyrene are Nongshim's Mild Neoguri, Spicy Neoguri, Neoguri Cup Noodles (large and small), Saewootang Cup Noodles (large) and Seng Seng Udong.
The FDA was able to buy some of the noodles in question in the supermarkets but will also test other types of Korean noodles not on the recall list.