09 November 2010

Mi Goreng: Is It Safe?

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) are currently doing some independent testing of Mi Goreng (Fried Noodles). After the recall of the IndoMie products in Taiwan last month, it seems that there are some concerns about the use of Methyl P-Hydroxybenzoate (E218) and Benzoic acid as food preservatives. These two chemicals are also used in the manufacture of cosmetics. So, not only will you be full after having a serve of Indomie, there is also a good chance that your stomach lining will look pretty as well.

To be sure, Australia and New Zealand do not allow the use of E218 in any food products for sale in either country. Aside, form Taiwan who yanked the product from shelves, Singapore is also investigating whether the nasty little chemicals are present in the instant noodles inhabiting the shelves of Singaporean grocery stores.

The main sellers of Indomie in Australia are Woolworths, Coles, and IGA. In addition to the big three, independent Asian grocers tend to stock up on instant noodles. Come to think of it, the last place we brought instant noodles of the Indomie kind was from a little Asian grocer in Kingsford, the White Lotus.

Indomie is produced by PT. Indofood Sukses Makmur Tbk. Indofood just happens to be the largest noodle producer in the world. So, concerns about one of their staple products must be cause for concern, particularly with respect to the bottom line.

Nevertheless, the Indonesian Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) was quick to come out and state unequivocally that Indomie is safe for consumption and that Indonesians have nothing to worry about.

I used to eat a lot of Indomie when I was resident in Indonesia. Since I have been back in Australia, I have not eaten Indomie often. This has happened for no other reason than a cup-a-soup is easier to prepare.

Now, according to FSANZ, it is unlikely that these chemicals are to be found in concentrations that are harmful. To be honest, if they really believed that, then why do the testing. Simply, there are concerns that these chemicals exist in this product in volumes that are unhealthy.

A bigger question is why E218 is permitted in Indonesia as a food preservative but banned in Australia and New Zealand. Surely, if it is dangerous to Australians and New Zealanders then it must also pose the same sort of health risks to Indonesians, right?

Hmmm, come to think of it, Indomie is on the shopping list for today. Perhaps a little re-evaluation is required before whacking them in the shopping trolley.

1 comment:

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