UPDATED: Lucky Me Instant Noodles Issued Health Warnings Abroad For Ethylene Oxide Content

What will our merienda and midnight meals be like now?

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UPDATE (July 7, 8:48 PM): The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating whether Lucky Me! instant noodle products contain Ethylene Oxide. 

The local FDA posted on its Facebook page that the government agency is investigating the presence of the chemical ethylene oxide in the locally produced Lucky Me! instant pancit canton variants that allegedly have trace elements of the chemical. 

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UPDATE (July 7, 2:58 PM): Lucky Me! Releases Statement About Ethylene Oxide

Lucky Me! is quick to respond to the outcry of Lucky Me! fans. In a statement addressing the claim that ethylene oxide is present in its instant noodles, it says that this chemical is not added in locally made Lucky Me! products and that its Lucky Me! products are registered under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Philippines. This means that their products have passed the standards of the government agency and have been deemed safe for consumption. 

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Heads up, instant pancit canton lovers in Europe! Ireland, France, and Malta just issued health safety warnings against Lucky Me! Pancit Canton, causing the recall of the instant noodle brand in those countries. 

According to the Cebu Daily News report, the three European Union countries have warned their citizens from consuming the instant noodle brand while other countries have begun a recall of the products. This was following reports from their respective health ministries stating the dried noodles are contaminated with the chemical ethylene oxide

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The products include the Original, Hot Chili, Beef, Kalamansi, and Chilimansi flavors of the popular instant pancit canton brand. It was noted that the products recalled were manufactured in Thailand

Do all instant noodles have this chemical, too?
Photo by Bianca Laxamana

What is ethylene oxide? 

The chemical ethylene oxide is a flammable gas that human noses detect as having a "sweet odor". However, prolonged exposure to this chemical gas can cause several health issues which can include but are not limited to headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, weakness, exhaustion, and eye and skin burns.

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Exposure to the chemical can also lead to difficulty in breathing, affect reproductive systems, and cause cancerous cells in the body. Such cancers linked to occupational exposure to ethylene oxide include leukemia, stomach, and breast cancers. 

What is ethylene oxide used for? 

The chemical is used in the production industry, specifically to produce other chemicals such as antifreeze, but in small doses, the chemical is also used as a sterilizing agent and pesticide

Other instant noodle brands have also been found to contain ethylene oxide.
Photo by Trixie Zabal-Mendoza
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Other Instant Noodles Banned

Lucky Me Pancit Canton is not the first or the only instant noodle brand to have been found to be contaminated with the chemical. Last year, Nong Shim Seafood Ramyun instant noodles in Germany were also found to have ethylene oxide as well. Another popular instant noodle, Samyang Hot Chicken Flavor Ramen, was found to have ethylene oxide in its seasoning packets

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