Carcinogen scare spooks Vietnam markets to recall South Korean noodles

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At least two supermarket chains in Vietnam have recalled products made by South Korean instant noodle maker Nongshim following reports they made be contaminated with a known carcinogen.

A representative of Lotte Mart confirmed with Thanh Nien on Saturday that the super market chain had pulled two Neoguri ramen brands from its shelves pending further information to be released by local authorities.

On the same day, a representative of the BigC supermarket chain said it had suspended the sale of some Nongshim instant noodle products in its supermarkets in northern cities and provinces.

The Korea Joongang Daily reported on October 26 that the South Korean state-run Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) pledged that it would order Nongshim, the nation's No.1 instant noodle maker, to recall its six ramen brands, including the hugely popular Neoguri ramen, after a carcinogen was found in its ramen soup powder.

The decision has left consumers feeling understandably anxious as the KFDA initially decided that the amount of benzophenone detected was too small to be harmful to humans, the paper said.

The KFDA said it randomly collected ramen products made by Nongshim in June and found a maximum of 4.47 parts per billion of benzophenone in six of them, namely, Spicy Neoguri, Mild Neoguri, Neoguri Cup Noodles (large and small), Saewootang Cup Noodles (large) and Seng Seng Udong.

Benzophenone, which is produced during the process of cooking or manufacturing food at high temperatures, is known to cause some forms of cancer.

In related news, market management authorities in Quang Nam Province said they are inspecting a bra product believed to be made in China that turns skin itchy upon contact.

On October 24, Quang Nam's Phu Ninh District resident Huynh Thi Oanh reported to the provincial market management agency that after the bra made her itchy, she inspected it and found two small bags containing a liquid and six unknown tablets inside.

She said she had bought it a month earlier at the Diem Shop at Quang Nam's Tam Ky Trading Center for VND35,000 and that its label was written mostly in Chinese.

Tam Ky market management agency inspected the shop and seized 35 similar bras for tests.

The shop owner, Huynh Thi Thuy Diem, said she bought the products from another shop at the Da Nang Trading Center in the central hub of Da Nang.

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