South Korea asks PH to rescind noodle ban

The South Korean government asked the Philippines to lift the ban it imposed against Korean noodle brands that supposedly contained a carcinogen called benzopyrene.

The embassy of South Korea clarified the six banned brands of Korean noodles contained “extremely low” amounts of the level of benzopyrene that pose “no harmful effect on the human body.”

The South Korean embassy made the request to the Philippine government, as it admitted the ban is seriously impacting the image of Korean-made noodles.

“The (Korean Food and Drug Administration or KFDA) conducted the test and issued a certificate dated November 7, 2012 that the level of benzopyrene found in the noodle powder, which ranges from 0.4 to 1.6 (parts per billion or) ppb,” the South Korean Embassy said.

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In a statement, the embassy explained they follow the same set of standards imposed by the European Union (EU), which limits the level of benzopyrene to 5 parts ppb in wet smoked fish products.

It added Nong Shim Co. Ltd, which manufactures six Korean noodle brands recently banned in the Philippines, has been following KFDA limits of containing the maximum 10 ppb in dried smoked fish.

“The ban on the importation is seriously impacting the exporters and importers of the Philippines and Korea,” it added.

On October 29, the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned six Korean noodles brands:

1.       Nongshim Neoguri (Hot)

2.       Nongshim Neoguri (Mild Hot)

3.       Nongshim Neoguri (Multi Hot)

4.       Nongshim Big Bowl Noodle Shrimp,

5.       Nongshim Saengsaeng Udon Bowl Noodle

6.       Nongship Saengsaeng Udon

But the Korean embassay defended the KFDA allowed the sale of these brands without receiving any complaints from the Korean market.

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It noted that only Philippines and Thailand have refused to lift the ban on the importation as the six noodle brands.

“Taipei authorities have also conducted its own test of the said noodle, concluding that the noodle is indeed not harmful to the consumers,” the South Korean Embassy stated.

On Wednesday, the Philippine government also imposed a temporary ban on the importation of the noodle brands pending the result of laboratory tests from the FDA.

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