Test results of suspected carcinogenic Korean instant noodles

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) today (October 30) announced that test results showed no carcinogen in recently collected samples of instant noodles of a Korean brand suspected of containing a carcinogen.

A spokesman for the CFS said, "In response to media reports last Thursday that six instant noodle products of Korean brand "Nong Shim" were suspected of containing carcinogen benzopyrene, the CFS immediately contacted the Korean authorities and the local agent of "Nong Shim" for details of the incident.

"According to information provided by the agent, five of those six "Nong Shim" instant noodle products manufactured in Korea were available for sale in Hong Kong. The CFS promptly collected samples of the five products concerned as well as three other instant noodle products produced in Korea by the same manufacturer for testing. The test results showed that all of the samples did not contain carcinogenic benzopyrene."

The CFS learned that the Korean authorities had detected benzopyrene in a batch of smoked fish at a level exceeding the Korean legal limit in June 2012. Since Nong Shim Company Ltd had purchased that particular batch of smoked fish for use as an ingredient, the company was requested to take follow-up actions. The company later announced that certain batches of six kinds of instant noodle products would be recalled, he said.

"Although benzopyrene was not detected in any of the samples collected in Hong Kong and the agent informed that there have been no imported products of the above-mentioned batches found so far, the agent still decided to voluntarily remove all imported batches of the five products concerned from shelves to allay public concern associated with the incident," the spokesman said.

Benzopyrene is one of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).  Since PAHs are ubiquitous in the environment, they are present in various types of food.  Cooking methods such as roasting and grilling generate higher levels of PAHs and charred foods have an even higher PAHs level. The CFS has previously released a risk assessment report on the levels of PAHs in barbecued meat and the detailed result has been uploaded to CFS's web site:
www.cfs.gov.hk/tc_chi/programme/programme_rafs/programme_rafs_fc_01_06_pah.html .

"We will continue to liaise with the Korean authorities and closely monitor the development of the incident. The CFS will also collect samples of relevant food products and take appropriate follow-up actions," the spokesman added.

Ends/Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:36