Economics, Featured, News, Politics

The Rationale Behind NAFDAC’s Recent Ban Of Indomie Noodles In Nigeria

Nmesoma Okwudili


May 9, 2023

In recent times, Nigeria, Africa’s second-largest economy, has witnessed a significant event that has sparked debates and discussions across the country: the importation ban of the beloved instant noodle brand, Indomie. Popularity and market dominance have made Indomie a household name in Nigeria, but its journey has not been without obstacles. This article intends to provide an overview of the recent ban on Indomie in Nigeria and its effects on the culinary landscape.

The rise of Indomie in Nigeria has been nothing short of meteoric, with the humble instant noodle brand controlling 74% of the market in the continent’s second-largest economy. Nigerian factories produce Indomie on behalf of Dufil Foods, a joint venture between the Indonesian Salim Group and the Singaporean Tolaram Group.

According to CNN, Nigeria is the twelfth largest market for instant noodles in the world, with residents consuming 1.76 billion servings annually. Indomie, which comes in a variety of flavours, has become a staple food for many Nigerians, especially young people and college students, who appreciate its affordability and convenience. The success of the brand in Nigeria can be attributed to its ability to meet Nigerians’ local needs and preferences, as well as to its extensive distribution network and marketing efforts.

Indomie’s popularity in Nigeria has reached such heights that the brand has become a cultural phenomenon, inspiring songs and memes. However, the company’s success has not been limited to Nigeria; it has also achieved significant commercial success on both domestic and international markets.

Concerns regarding the discovery of cancer-causing chemicals in the chicken-flavored Indomie noodle product in Malaysia and Taiwan have recently sparked a discussion in Nigeria.

Due to this occurrence in Asian countries, there are rumours in Nigeria that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has banned Indomie noodles in the country.

This concept is gaining support on social media, as many do not fully comprehend the Indomie crisis.

What is wrong with Indomie?

In April, Malaysian and Taiwanese health authorities reported detecting a potentially carcinogenic chemical in the popular instant noodle brand Indomie.

They identified the substance as ethylene oxide, a gas used to disinfect medical instruments and spices.

It is hypothesised that ethylene oxide causes lymphoid cancer and breast cancer.

According to the countries’ health authorities, the drug was discovered in the “special chicken” flavour of Indomie noodles manufactured by Indofood, an Indonesian food giant.

Indofood is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of instant noodles, exporting its products to more than 90 countries, including Nigeria.

Decision by NAFDAC to ban Indomie noodles in Nigeria

NAFDAC has prohibited the importation of’special chicken’ Indomie, which was previously recalled from Malaysian and Taiwanese markets, to prevent Nigerians from consuming the product.

The agency emphasised that it did not prohibit Nigerians from consuming Nigerian-made Indomie noodles. Instead, it prohibits the importation of the identified carcinogenic Indomie noodles.

According to Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of NAFDAC, the product discovered by Malaysian and Taiwanese health officials has nothing to do with Nigeria.

Director-General of NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye (Punch)

She remarked, “The country has prohibited the importation of Indomie noodles for many years. It is on the government’s list of prohibited foods. It is prohibited in Nigeria and is therefore not registered with NAFDAC.

“We are taking extra precautions to ensure that the product is not smuggled into the country; if this were to occur, our post-marketing surveillance would detect it. In addition, we want to evaluate the spices used in the production of Indomie and other noodles in Nigeria.

This is what NAFDAC, Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FSAN), and Post Marketing Surveillance (PMS) are doing in production facilities and on the market this week.

She added that the agency’s investigations into the products would begin on May 2, 2023 in Nigeria.

In addition, the FDA agreed to begin random sampling of Indomie noodles, including the seasoning, from manufacturing facilities to determine their safety for human consumption.

The import ban on Indomie noodles has a direct effect on Nigerian consumers. Due to the inaccessibility of imported Indomie noodles, consumers may experience difficulty obtaining their preferred brands and flavours. This ban has disrupted the selection and variety consumers were accustomed to, which may result in a shift towards alternative instant noodle options or regional brands.

The ban may also have significant economic ramifications. Indomie, a market-leading brand in Nigeria, has a substantial presence and market share. The ban on imported Indomie noodles may impact importers, distributors, and retailers involved in the supply chain of these products, causing potential disruptions and financial losses for businesses associated with the brand.

The ban on Indomie imports imposed by Nigeria has generated significant discussion and repercussions. While the reasons for the ban are obvious. Local industries, distributors, and retailers are impacted by the ban in addition to the culinary world. Nonetheless, it presents an opportunity for the expansion of domestic instant noodle brands and the promotion of healthier dietary options. As Nigeria progresses, it will be fascinating to observe how this ban and its repercussions shape the future of the country’s instant noodle market.


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