Would you still buy instant noodles? South Africans weigh in after the death of five children

Would you still buy instant noodles? South Africans weigh in after the death of five children

As the Department of Health’s investigation into the death of five children, allegedly after consuming instant noodles continues, social media users are demanding to know the brand names involved. Others are calling on people to stop eating instant noodles.

A post has been doing the rounds on social media showing noodles with what appear to be worms in them. There is also an online petition demanding the recall of instant noodles.

In the Change.org petition, Thato Majola called on the Department of Health to initiate a product recall for the brands involved, and to “make public the brand that is killing people.”

Some social media users said they will never buy instant noodles again, while others said that they would rather opt for reputable and well-known brands.

As concerns mount, regional director at the Department of Health, Murdock Ramathuba said the public can be assured that there was no cause for alarm.

“’We conducted tests on noodle samples taken from both the Eastern Cape, where Sinothando Gwendu, 11, Olwam Gwendu, 7, and 4-month old Athenkosi Gwendu passed away, and in Mpumalanga, where Thato Makofane, 9, and her 13-year-old brother, Keamogetswe, passed away. Our finding was that there were no pathogens (that cause diseases) detected.”

Ramathuba added that the department had expanded its investigation.

“There were no remaining food samples from the deceased children’s homes, so we had to get samples from the same shop and the same batch number, which our tests found had no pathogens. At this stage we plan to expand our investigation to the manufacturers of the food and conduct tests directly from the samples taken from the factory.”

The department is also working with police. A case had to be opened with police as the children passed away from unnatural causes.

The National Consumer Commission said it was awaiting the final laboratory results.

Phetho Ntaba, the National Consumer Commission’s spokesperson, said the investigation was ’crucial’ and would help establish the facts.

Social media posts have previously linked the possible tampering of noodle products with foreign-owned businesses but the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has slammed these claims.

So should I buy noodles or not?

Noodles is everyone’s go-to for a quick and convenient snack. Currently there is no cause for concern, but as with most food products, use your discretion based on the information available to you. If something smells or looks off, it is best to not prepare or eat it. Also remember to practise safe hygiene when preparing food and avoid cross-contamination.


Dennis Sundawo