Shown above is a Nongshim Shin Ramyeon instant noodle product. It was found to include a cancer-causing substance, according to Taiwan’s food regulator. Photo courtesy of Nongshim

Taiwan regulator set to discard a ton of Nongshim instant noodles

A shipment of instant noodle products made by South Korea’s Nongshim was confiscated at Taiwan’s border as they allegedly included a cancer-causing agent, according to Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) on Jan. 17.

Nongshim is Korea’s dominant instant noodle maker, which exports its products across the world, including the United States and Europe.

The TFDA noted that more than 1 ton of Nongshim Shin Ramyeon had been seized as they were found to include ethylene oxide in the popular instant noodle product’s flavor packets.

The regulator’s sampling test detected 0.075 mg/kg of ethylene oxide in the noodle’s flavor packets. The standard is 0.055 mg/kg.

Ethylene oxide is an organic compound, which is one of the most significant raw materials used in large-scale chemical production.

However, chronic exposure to the substance can cause cancer so that the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies it into group 1 as a proven carcinogen.

The agency is affiliated with the World Health Organization.

The TFDA said that the Nongshim products at issue would be returned to South Korea or destroyed.

Nongshim said that it would put forth more effort to meet the Taiwanese requirements.

“We have kept an eye on the amount of ethylene oxide but failed to meet the standard last December. We did not intend it at all,” a Nongshim official said. “We will pay more attention to the Taiwanese standard in the future.”

This is not the first time for Nongshim to come under suspicion for its products exported to other countries.

Midway through 2021, the European Commission’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed said that ethylene oxide had been discovered in Nongshim’s Seafood Ramyeon.

Back then, Nongshim recalled the products from Europe to investigate them.

After the accident, the European Commission urged Nongshim to present a certificate for the amount of ethylene oxide for its export products to Europe.

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.