VIETNAM – The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has recalled some batches of Vietnam’s leading noodle maker, Acecook’s Hao Hao and ‘Good’ branded noodles owing to the presence of ethylene oxide, an illegal pesticide.
Ethylene oxide is a chemical used as a pesticide or sterilizing agent, and classified as a mutagen, carcinogen and reproductive toxicant by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). It has been banned in the European Union (EU) since 1981 and Ireland is a member.
Although the chemical is banned in the EU, it’s still used in non-EU member states to prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria in foodstuffs.
There are three products in the FSAI’s recall list, two of which are from Acecook Vietnam, a shipment of Hao Hao spicy and sour shrimp noodles with an expiry date of Sept. 24, 2022 and Good noodles with an expiration date until Nov. 10, 2022.
Kajiwara Junichi, general director of Acecook Vietnam, said the firm has abided by all the rules in Vietnam and in all the countries that it exports noodles to. He said the firm has contacted its suppliers who have asserted they do not use ethylene oxide during production, stressing that the company does not permit the use of ethylene oxide in any production process.
According to the FSAI, the consumption of products contaminated with ethylene oxide does not pose an acute hazard to the user, but could lead to other long-term health problems. Therefore, the agency recommends minimizing exposure to this substance.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) said it had sent a request to Acecook Vietnam JSC to promptly report on its production processes and procedures, and explain the difference between products consumed domestically and those exported.
Moreover, the MoIT is reviewing the entire list of products distributed by Acecook Vietnam countrywide, checking and clarifying production processes and identifying violations.
Talking to VnExpress, an Acecook representative informed they were conducting a meeting and will soon have an official announcement for consumers.
Vietnam presently has approximately 50 companies producing instant noodles, including both domestic and foreign. Currently, instant pho and instant noodles made in Vietnam are present in more than 40 markets.
Europe noodle recall
Thien Huong, another Vietnamese noodle manufacturer, has also faced a recall of its instant “dried noodles with chicken – and beef spices” noodles product in Norway due to the presence of ethylene oxide.
Vietnamese authorities have ordered Thien Huong to provide relevant samples to examine the claim.
A spokesperson for Thien Huong enlightened that the recalled product is exclusively sold in Norway and not in Vietnam. Thien Huong exports to the E.U., the U.S., Africa, Japan and South Korea.