Cambodia to Inspect Vietnamese Noodles for Banned Substance

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Customer browses instant noodles at a Vietnamese supermarket
Customer browses instant noodles at a Vietnamese supermarket (Viet Reader).

Cambodian officials are to test instant noodles produced in Vietnam for Ethylene Oxide and will recall products containing the banned substance.

Vietnam’s Trade Office in Cambodia reports that authorities in Cambodia are to begin inspections of instant noodles following a warning from the European Union suggesting the recall of instant noodles produced in Vietnam that include the substance.

Khmer Times reports that Phan Oun, Director General of the Department of Consumer Protection, Competition and Anti-Fraud (KPR), says that if these types of noodles were detected in the Cambodian market, they would be recalled and destroyed.

The director said the General Department of Customs and Excise would direct local customs agencies to classify these items as risky goods.

Imported noodle products would be required to obtain a certificate stating that they were ethylene oxide-free, he added.

Ethylene oxide is used as a treatment against the microbiological contamination of some spices and dried aromatic herbs, such as sesame seeds. Its presence in food can cause health issues over a prolonged period of time.

A number of European countries have recalled or returned noodle products from Vietnam that have been found to contain high levels of banned substances or other defects.

Germany had previously warned that chicken and curry flavored instant noodles from Asia Food Joint Stock Company in Thuận An City, Bình Dương Province, were found to have Ethylene Oxide residues beyond levels deemed safe under EU regulations.

Poland also warned about the chicken flavored instant noodles from Vietnam Food Industry Joint Stock Company in Tân Phú District, HCM City, adding that the country returned the shipment.

Meanwhile, Malta warned that Nguyễn Gia-branded noodle products were identified as being produced from illegal genetically modified rice, adding that it took measures to monitor and recall the products.

To deal with the issue, Vietnam’s Department of Science and Technology, under its Ministry of Industry and Trade, has asked producers to ensure they meet the requirements of import markets.

The department said in the future the focus would be on taking large-scale samples of instant noodle products in the domestic market, especially those with seasoning, to access EO residue and establish a limit for this substance.

Meanwhile, the MoIT urged enterprises to carefully study the technical requirements of export markets to avoid violations, adding that each market had different requirements for each food product.

The ministry said it would continue providing support for enterprises to improve measures to ensure food hygiene and safety and meet the technical requirements of foreign markets.

Research would continue in assessing chemicals that appear on food products. Those found to be harmful to human health would receive appropriate management measures, the MoIT said.