HK Consumer Council: Nearly 90 Percent Instant Noodle Samples Found to Contain Potential Carcinogenic Contaminants

In fast-paced city life, many people resort to instant noodles as a means to “fill the stomach.” The Hong Kong Consumer Council (HKCC) tested 19 brands of prepackaged instant noodles and found that the condiments and ingredients in all samples were “high in sodium,” and nearly 90 percent of them were found to contain potential carcinogenic contaminants, with three of them exceeded the EU limits for related vegetable oils.The Consumer Council tested 19 models of prepackaged instant noodles, including 14 “fried” and 5 “non-fried,” priced from HK$2.2 to HK$33.5 (US$0.28 to US$4.3). Seven samples received a total score of 4 points or above, of which four, being “non-fried” instant noodles, had a 4.5 points score; and the other three, being “fried” instant noodles, had a four points score.According to WHO recommendations, adults should consume less than 2,000 mg (0.07 ounces) of sodium per day. For the 19 samples mentioned above, if you eat one whole serving (noodles with soup/sauce), the sodium intake ranges from 1,509 mg to 2,477 mg (0.053 ounces to 0.087 ounces), which is higher than the recommended upper limit of 667 mg (0.024 ounces) of sodium per meal for adults. Nine samples even exceeded the recommended intake upper limit per day for adults. The Consumer Council reminds the public that long-term excessive sodium intake will increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and renal disease.For fat, calculated based on one serving (including the noodles and other ingredients), the total amount of fat in the abovementioned samples ranges from 5.3 grams to 34.1 grams (0.186 ounces to 1.203 ounces), and the saturated fat content ranges from 0.7g to 22.4g (0.025 ounces to 0.790 ounces). Topping the league of total fat contents is one “non-fried” sample, with fats mainly from seasonings and toppings. One serving of it will have saturated fat exceeding the adult daily limit of 22.2 grams (0.783 ounces).If the condiments and other ingredients of the samples were evaluated alone, the test found that all samples were high in sodium, and eight were high in fat. The Consumer Council reminds us to reduce or even eliminate these condiments and ingredients when consuming instant noodles, which will greatly reduce the sodium and fat intake in each meal.As for the bare noodles, the total fat content of fried noodles ranges from 13.5 grams to 22.9 grams (0.476 ounces to 0.808 ounces), an average of 18.3 grams (0.646 ounces), which is 13 times higher than the average total fat content of 1.3 grams (0.046 ounces). of the non-fried noodles samples. Moreover, nine noodle samples were found to be high in sodium, including all five non-fried noodles.Related Stories10/22/2023Tests also found that nearly 90 percent of the samples contained potentially carcinogenic contaminants. Calculated on a per-serving basis, the amount of 3-monochloropropane-1, 2-diol (3-MCPD) detected in fried instant noodle samples ranges from 11 micrograms to 54 micrograms (0.0004 ounces to 0.002 ounces)), while that in non-fried instant noodle samples ranges from none to 37 micrograms (zero to 0.001 ounces).The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had classified 3-MCPD as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” As for glycidol, another substance that is classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” the levels in the fried instant noodle samples range from 7 micrograms to 96 micrograms (0.0002 ounces to 0.0034 ounces), while the non-fried instant noodle samples range from none to 33 micrograms (zero to 0.0012 ounces).There are only two samples tested that were not found to contain these two potential carcinogenic contaminants at the same time, namely “Howsler” Lao Ma noodles (scallion oil) and Guohai Noodles Mfg. ’s Zeng Lao Mian (sesame oil and pepper flavor).In addition, the Consumer Council found that the two samples with the highest levels of 3-MCPD, and the three samples with the highest levels of glycidyl detected all contained palm oil, and the 3-MCPD and glycidol of their non-powdered condiments also returned amounts higher than the relevant upper limits set by the EU for palm oil and vegetable oil respectively.The seven samples of instant noodles with an overall rating of 4 points out of 5 points or above are itemized below, specifying, (brand/retail price per package/net weight/overall rating):Fried noodles:YumYum Tom Yum Noodles (Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup Noodles)/HK$20 (US$2.6)/70g (2.47 ounces) x 5 bags/4 pointsSamyang Spicy Chicken & Cheese Lo Mein/HK$39 (US$5)/140g (4.94 ounces) x 5 bags/4 pointsNong Shim spicy noodles/HK$46 (US$5.9)/120g (4.23 ounces) x 5 bags/4 points.Non-fried noodles:KIKI scallion oil noodles/HK$68 (US$8.7)/90g (3.17 ounces) x 5 bags/4.5 pointsHowsler Lao Ma Noodles (scallion oil)/HK$69.9 (US$8.9)/134.8g (4.75 ounces) x 4 bags/4.5 pointsMaruchan Seimen Miso Flavor Instant Noodle/HK$44.9 (US$5.7)/108g (3.8 ounces)x 5 bags/4.5 pointsGuohai Noodle Mfg. ’s Zeng Lao Mian - Sesame Oil and Pepper Fragrance/HK$69 (US$8.8)/

HK Consumer Council: Nearly 90 Percent Instant Noodle Samples Found to Contain Potential Carcinogenic Contaminants

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In fast-paced city life, many people resort to instant noodles as a means to “fill the stomach.” The Hong Kong Consumer Council (HKCC) tested 19 brands of prepackaged instant noodles and found that the condiments and ingredients in all samples were “high in sodium,” and nearly 90 percent of them were found to contain potential carcinogenic contaminants, with three of them exceeded the EU limits for related vegetable oils.

The Consumer Council tested 19 models of prepackaged instant noodles, including 14 “fried” and 5 “non-fried,” priced from HK$2.2 to HK$33.5 (US$0.28 to US$4.3). Seven samples received a total score of 4 points or above, of which four, being “non-fried” instant noodles, had a 4.5 points score; and the other three, being “fried” instant noodles, had a four points score.

According to WHO recommendations, adults should consume less than 2,000 mg (0.07 ounces) of sodium per day. For the 19 samples mentioned above, if you eat one whole serving (noodles with soup/sauce), the sodium intake ranges from 1,509 mg to 2,477 mg (0.053 ounces to 0.087 ounces), which is higher than the recommended upper limit of 667 mg (0.024 ounces) of sodium per meal for adults. Nine samples even exceeded the recommended intake upper limit per day for adults. The Consumer Council reminds the public that long-term excessive sodium intake will increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and renal disease.

For fat, calculated based on one serving (including the noodles and other ingredients), the total amount of fat in the abovementioned samples ranges from 5.3 grams to 34.1 grams (0.186 ounces to 1.203 ounces), and the saturated fat content ranges from 0.7g to 22.4g (0.025 ounces to 0.790 ounces). Topping the league of total fat contents is one “non-fried” sample, with fats mainly from seasonings and toppings. One serving of it will have saturated fat exceeding the adult daily limit of 22.2 grams (0.783 ounces).

If the condiments and other ingredients of the samples were evaluated alone, the test found that all samples were high in sodium, and eight were high in fat. The Consumer Council reminds us to reduce or even eliminate these condiments and ingredients when consuming instant noodles, which will greatly reduce the sodium and fat intake in each meal.

As for the bare noodles, the total fat content of fried noodles ranges from 13.5 grams to 22.9 grams (0.476 ounces to 0.808 ounces), an average of 18.3 grams (0.646 ounces), which is 13 times higher than the average total fat content of 1.3 grams (0.046 ounces). of the non-fried noodles samples. Moreover, nine noodle samples were found to be high in sodium, including all five non-fried noodles.

Tests also found that nearly 90 percent of the samples contained potentially carcinogenic contaminants. Calculated on a per-serving basis, the amount of 3-monochloropropane-1, 2-diol (3-MCPD) detected in fried instant noodle samples ranges from 11 micrograms to 54 micrograms (0.0004 ounces to 0.002 ounces)), while that in non-fried instant noodle samples ranges from none to 37 micrograms (zero to 0.001 ounces).

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had classified 3-MCPD as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” As for glycidol, another substance that is classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” the levels in the fried instant noodle samples range from 7 micrograms to 96 micrograms (0.0002 ounces to 0.0034 ounces), while the non-fried instant noodle samples range from none to 33 micrograms (zero to 0.0012 ounces).

There are only two samples tested that were not found to contain these two potential carcinogenic contaminants at the same time, namely “Howsler” Lao Ma noodles (scallion oil) and Guohai Noodles Mfg. ’s Zeng Lao Mian (sesame oil and pepper flavor).

In addition, the Consumer Council found that the two samples with the highest levels of 3-MCPD, and the three samples with the highest levels of glycidyl detected all contained palm oil, and the 3-MCPD and glycidol of their non-powdered condiments also returned amounts higher than the relevant upper limits set by the EU for palm oil and vegetable oil respectively.

The seven samples of instant noodles with an overall rating of 4 points out of 5 points or above are itemized below, specifying, (brand/retail price per package/net weight/overall rating):

Fried noodles:
  • YumYum Tom Yum Noodles (Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup Noodles)/HK$20 (US$2.6)/70g (2.47 ounces) x 5 bags/4 points
  • Samyang Spicy Chicken & Cheese Lo Mein/HK$39 (US$5)/140g (4.94 ounces) x 5 bags/4 points
  • Nong Shim spicy noodles/HK$46 (US$5.9)/120g (4.23 ounces) x 5 bags/4 points.
Non-fried noodles:
  • KIKI scallion oil noodles/HK$68 (US$8.7)/90g (3.17 ounces) x 5 bags/4.5 points
  • Howsler Lao Ma Noodles (scallion oil)/HK$69.9 (US$8.9)/134.8g (4.75 ounces) x 4 bags/4.5 points
  • Maruchan Seimen Miso Flavor Instant Noodle/HK$44.9 (US$5.7)/108g (3.8 ounces)x 5 bags/4.5 points
  • Guohai Noodle Mfg. ’s Zeng Lao Mian - Sesame Oil and Pepper Fragrance/HK$69 (US$8.8)/117g ( 4.13 ounces) x 4 bags/4.5 points.

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