MANILA, Philippines - Nongshim, the largest instant noodle maker in South Korea, on Monday said its noodle products are safe.
This comes after the EcoWaste Coalition in Manila claimed that a Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) report showed high levels of cancer-causing benzopyrene in several Nongshim instant noodle products.
Nongshim issued a statement last October 24 in Seoul, after TV network MBC's "News Desk" aired a report about the benzopyrene detected in its products.
"Nongshim products are safe," the company said.
The South Korean company said it has exported many noodle products to over 80 countries without any safety issues regarding benzopyrene content.
"The amount indicated in the broadcast is a very safe level. According to KFDA report, the benzopyrene level in the soup base was proved to be safe at a lelvel of non-detection -4.7 ppb (parts per billion)," the company said.
Nongshim quoted the KDFA as saying that benzopyrene exposure from consuming the product is similar to an average consumption of 0.000005ug per day, which is 16,000 times less than the daily benzopyrene exposure from grilled meat consumption in Korea.
Nongshim also sent samples of soup base and noodles to the Korea Advanced Food Research Institute, which found no benzopyrene.
It furnished copies of the report, which showed that no benzopyrene was detected from Neoguri (hot), Neoguri (mild), Shrimp big bowl noodle (Saewootang), Neoguri (big bowl noodle) and Neoguri (cup).
The issue had apparently stemmed from a dried bonito ingredient, which was found with excess benzopyrene, that was used as raw materials for the Nongshim soup powder.
"The ingredient has been returned to the vendor and destroyed. Nongshim has also replaced the dried bonito ingredient with an extract, containing no benzopyrene. Since the issue, Nongshim has created an integrated standard system to prevent contamination. The system is applied to monitor the manufacturers of all the ingredients," Nongshim said.
Daewang Co. Ltd. was named as the manufacturer of the dried bonito and smoked macarel products that had excess benzopyrene. The Tae Kyung Nong San plant in Daegu was also aware of the excess benzopyrene but still used the product.
The two companies were prosecuted with administrative measures, while the individuals involved were jailed.
The EcoWaste Coalition had earlier raised concern about the KFDA report, which showed the instant noodles contained benzopyrene.
Health authorities in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan have already ordered the removal of the said Korean instant noodles from stores.