S.Korea urges PH to lift ban on Nongshim noodles

Posted at 11/09/2012 4:15 PM | Updated as of 11/11/2012 12:00 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The South Korean embassy in Manila is urging the Philippine government to lift the ban on six instant noodle brands made by South Korea's Nongshim Co. 

This comes a week after the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered the recall of 6 instant noodle brands from local shops, after they were reportedly found to contain benzopyrene, a cancer-causing chemical. 

In a statement, the South Korean embassy said the ban on Nongshim instant noodles has hurt the company, as well as the reputation of other South Korean-made noodles.

The embassy said South Korea's FDA has already lifted the ban on the 6 Nongshim noodles last November 7, after its tests showed the level of benzopyrene found in the noodles were "extremely low" and had no harmful effects on humans. 

The KFDA issued a certificate stating that the level of benzopyrene found in the noodle powder, only ranges from 0.4 to 1.6 ppb. Benzopyrene is a chemical with carcinogenic potential. 

"Based on the certificate issued by the KFDA, the Nong Shim Co. Ltd. is allowed to sell the six noodle brands that are now available in the Korean market without any complaints from the people," the embassy said.

The Korean embassy noted all foreign countries, except for the Philippines and Thailand, have lifted the ban on importation of the 6 instant noodle brands. 

"The ban on the importation is seriously impacting the exporters and importers of the Philippines and Korea as well as the image of Korean-made noodles," it said. 

"Given this serious situation, the Korean Embassy requested the appropriate measures of the Philippine government including the expeditious lifting of the ban on the six Korean noodle brands."

The FDA's recall order covers Nongshim's Mild Neoguri, Spicy Neoguri, Neoguri Cup Noodles (large and small), Saewootang Cup Noodles (large) and Seng Seng Udong. 

Earlier this week, the Bureau of Customs said it was closely monitoring new shipments of Nongshim instant noodles. 

Nongshim, South Korea's biggest instant noodle maker, has maintained its products are safe for consumers.