Two types of instant noodles made by Southeast Asian brands have been found to contain a cancer-inducing substance, Taipei's Department of Health said on Monday when releasing results of the city's 2023 inspection of instant noodles available in Taipei, CNA reported.
In a statement, the department said it found that a batch of "Ah Lai White Curry Noodles" from Malaysia and a batch of "Indomie: Special Chicken Flavour" noodles from Indonesia both contained ethylene oxide, a chemical compound associated with lymphoma and leukemia.
The department said testing revealed that ethylene oxide was detected in both the noodles and flavour packet of the Malaysian product but in only the flavour packet of the Indonesian product.
The unspecified retailer from which the samples were collected has been asked to pull the two products from their shelves, and the products' importers will be fined between NT$60,000 (US$1,957.87, RM8683.74) and NT$200 million, the department said.
According to information on the website of the Toxic and Chemical Substances Bureau under the Cabinet-level Environmental Protection Administration, ethylene oxide is poisonous when consumed or inhaled.
Aside from leading to lymphoma and leukaemia, ethylene oxide can also seriously irritate the skin and eyes of anyone who comes into contact with the substance and even trigger birth and hereditary defects.
Chen Yi-ting, who heads the Taipei Department of Health's Food and Drug Division, said the city's instant noodles inspection was conducted by randomly selecting 30 products from supermarkets, convenience stores, hypermarkets, traditional wet markets, Southeast Asian food shops and wholesale importers in the city.