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Noodle Preservatives Spark Protest in Jakarta

Protestors have burned piles of instant noodles in the streets of Jakarta, rebuking the Indonesian government for defending the safety of the noodles after Taiwan banned them for containing excessive chemicals.

noodle fire.jpgLast week, the Taiwan Health Department announced it was banning Indomie instant noodles, due to excessive levels of  preservatives benzoic acid, also known as methyl p-hydroxybenzoate, and parahydroxy benzoate.

“Following the food scare in Taiwan, the food and drug agencies in Singapore and Brunei immediately conducted tests to ensure the safety of the noodles,” explained Marius Widjajarta, chairman of the Indonesian Consumers Foundation for Health. “But Indonesia, where these products came from, didn’t even bother.”

Indonesia’s Food and Drug Monitoring Agency said the noodles in question contained only  250 milligrams of benzoic acid per kilogram, the global standard; set by Codex, is 1,000 milligrams per kilogram.

In The Jarkata Globe, Marius blasted the government for failing to conduct laboratory tests on the products before officials insisted the products were safe for consumption.

“[I]f the government continues to be so quick to make claims, it will lose the public’s trust,” said Marius.

Indonesian officials maintain that Indomie noodles do not present a health risk to the public. A company spokesperson told The Globe that the company required with all necessary regulations.

Photo credit: Protesters burning Indomie instant

noodles yesterday at a rally in front of the Indofood building in Jakarta.

Photo from The Jakarta Globe. Photo by Yudhi Wilaya.  

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