The governments of Ireland, Malta, and France have recalled several variants of the popular Filipino noodle brand Lucky Me!, particularly the noodle soup and pancit canton variants manufactured between 2021 and 2022.
In separate advisories, the European Union (EU) countries warned their consumers due to supposed high levels of ethylene oxide, a gas commonly used as a pesticide, in the noodles.
“This pesticide (gas) is not authorized for use in foods sold in the EU. Although the consumption of the contaminated product does not pose an acute risk to health, there may be health issues if there is continued consumption of ethylene oxide over a long period of time.
Therefore, exposure to this substance needs to be minimised,” the Irish government said in its advisory.
The variants in question include the original, hot chili, kalamansi, and ‘chilimansi’ flavors of Lucky Me! Pancit Canton, as well as Lucky Me! beef mami flavor.
Ireland also noted that some of the Lucky Me! products being recalled were manufactured in Thailand.
The French government also told consumers to stop consuming the products, return them to where they were bought, and even destroy them.
In a statement issued Thursday, Lucky Me manufacturer and brand owner Monde Nissin said it was not adding ethylene oxide to its noodle products.
“It is a commonly used treatment in spices and seeds to control microbial growth typical in agricultural products. These materials, when processed into seasoning and sauces, may still show traces of ethylene oxide,” the company said.
All Lucky Me! products are registered with the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA), complying with local food safety standards and “even the US FDA standards for ethylene oxide,” Monde Nissin assured.
The FDA is looking into the matter, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
“We have yet to put anything on hold as we are still verifying the report and getting details. The incident was from Europe, our FDA now is verifying the report so we can issue further information to the public,” she told reporters.
Only certain batches and lot numbers of the product containing the component or chemical may be removed from the market under FDA guidelines, Vergeire said.
“We will await the results of the FDA’s investigation. Whatever would be affected, specifically batches and lot numbers for this specific product, those are what will be removed from the market,” she said.