Indonesia regulator says instant noodle brand Indomie safe, despite recall in Taiwan and Malaysia

Indonesia's food regulator on Thursday said a popular product from one of the world's biggest instant noodle brands was safe for consumption in the country, despite its recall in Malaysia and in Taiwan's capital over concerns about a possible carcinogenic ingredient.

The Taipei city health department on Monday recalled 'special chicken' flavour Indomie, a popular Indonesian instant noodle variety produced by Indofood CBP, saying traces had been found of the carcinogenic ethylene oxide, which can elevate cancer risks.

Malaysia on Wednesday (local time) ordered checks on the same product at all entry points and asked Indofood to recall it.

But Indonesia's food and drugs agency (BPOM) said the product available in Indonesia was safe for consumption as it met its safety standards. It urged Indofood CBP to ensure its products did not contain high levels of ethylene oxide.

Earlier, Indonesia's consumer watchdog and a senior lawmaker on the parliamentary health committee urged BPOM to examine the product.

Indofood CBP, a packaged food producing unit of Indofood Sukses Makmur, has more than 20 production facilities globally and its noodles are available in more than 100 countries.

Overseas sales last year of Indofood CBP products, which also include dairy items and snacks, contributed to 29 percent of its total sales of 64.8 trillion rupiah (NZ$7.1 billion), the company said.

Indofood CBP declined to comment on Thursday, while its parent did not respond to request for comment. Indofood was earlier quoted by local media as saying the product abided by regulator standards, both locally and in importing countries.

Budi Santoso, an Indonesian trade ministry official, told reporters that Indomie in Indonesia was safe and that Taiwan's regulations "are very sensitive, different with us."

Ethylene oxide is a toxic, colourless, odourless gas mainly used to sterilise medical equipment and spices.

Alendra Sakitama Ramadhan, 19, a resident of the capital Jakarta, described news of recalls of Indomie as "terrifying".

"I hope the reports aren't true. Because many Indonesians are Indomie lovers," he said.

Indomie instant noodles are available to purchase in New Zealand from the likes of Countdown and Pak'nSave. The 'special chicken' flavour can be found at select grocers. 

Reuters / Newshub.