The National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (NICRAT), yesterday, said it was collaborating with National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to ensure safety of Nigerians, following the global safety concern of Indomie Instant Noodles ‘Special Chicken Flavour’ by the Malaysian and Taiwanese authorities on account of presence of ethylene oxide, a compound associated with increased risk of cancer.
This hint was dropped by the Director General of the institute, Prof. Usman Malami Aliyu, in Abuja who noted that if ongoing investigations prove to indict other brands in the country, Nigerians should expect a spike in cancers in the months.
Aliyu said: “While we commend the prompt intervention of NAFDAC to carry out a comprehensive investigation to ascertain the magnitude of the situation, NICRAT’s review of ethylene oxide shows that the compound has grave consequences to human health, especially when consumed.”
“Our in-depth review of the substance indicated that it is a highly reactive chemical that is used as a raw material to make other compounds such as glycol ethers and polyglycol ethers, as well as a range of emulsifiers, detergents, and solvents.
“Ethylene oxide is also widely used as a fumigant for cleaning culinary goods, including spices. It is also frequently used to disinfect medical equipment, particularly those that might be harmed by heat sterilisation. Our review, therefore, revealed that there is sufficient evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of ethylene oxide, and there is strong evidence that the carcinogenicity of ethylene oxide, a direct-acting alkylating agent, operated by a genotoxic mechanism.
“NICRAT, created by an Act in 2017 as an agency with the mandate to prevent, conduct research and treat cancers in Nigeria, therefore, advises Nigerians to obey NAFDAC’s instructions on the ban and consumption of Indomie Instant Noodles Special Chicken Flavour.”
He said his organization’s concern is premised on the fact that cancer has claimed a lot of lives in Nigeria, noting that in 2020 alone, 78,000 lives were lost to complications (34,200 males and 44,699 females).