MANILA (UPDATE)— Three European Union (EU) countries have warned their consumers over a popular Filipino noodles brand, due to supposed high levels of ethylene oxide, a gas commonly used as pesticide.
In separate advisories, the governments of Ireland, Malta, and France recalled several variants of Lucky Me! noodle soup and pancit canton, particularly those manufactured between 2021 and 2022.
These variants include the original, hot chili, kalamansi, and chilimansi flavors of Lucky Me! Pancit Canton, as well as Lucky Me! beef mami flavor.
"This pesticide is not authorized for use in foods sold in the EU. Although the consumption of the contaminated product does not pose an acute risk to health, there may be health issues if there is continued consumption of ethylene oxide over a long period of time. Therefore, exposure to this substance needs to be minimised," the Irish government said in its advisory.
The Irish government also noted that some of the Lucky Me! products being recalled were manufactured in Thailand.
The French government also told consumers to stop consuming the products, return them to where they were bought, and even destroy them.
In a statement issued Thursday, Lucky Me manufacturer and owner Monde Nissin said that it was not adding ethylene oxide in its noodle products.
"It is a commonly used treatment in spices and seeds to control microbial growth typical in agricultural products. These materials, when processed into seasoning and sauces, may still show traces of ethylene oxide," the company said.
Monde Nissin also assured that all Lucky Me! products are registered with the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA), complying with local food safety standards and "even the US FDA standards for ethylene oxide."
The Food and Drug Administration is looking into the matter, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
"Wala pa tayo pinapa-hold as we are still verifying the report and getting details. The incident was from Europe, our FDA now is verifying the report so we can issue further information to the public," she told reporters.
(We have yet to put anything on hold as we are still verifying the report and getting details.)
Only certain batches and lot numbers of the product containing the component or chemical may be removed from the market under FDA guidelines, Vergeire said.
"Aantayin po natin ang resulta ng FDA. Whatever would be affected, specifically batches and lot number for this specific product, 'yun po ang tinatanggal sa merkado," she said.
(We will await the results of FDA's investigation. Whatever would be affected, specifically batches and lot number for this specific product, those are what will be removed from the market.)
— With a report from Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News