In the first week of May 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received reports of a circulating Facebook video concerning an alleged issue on “fake/plastic vermicelli (sotanghon)”. As the unidentified creator of the video claimed, the product GOOD LIFE Vermicelli she bought was soaked in water for an unknown time but remained hard. Further, she set the sample vermicelli into the fire to affirm that the aforementioned food product is plastic thus, advising consumers to refrain from buying that specific brand.
The FDA investigated the matter and analyzed several randomly collected samples of the aforementioned product. The laboratory analysis reported conformance of the FDA-registered product GOOD LIFE Premium Vermicelli (FR-4000002604367) to quality and safety and standards.
Provided with the details on the video footage, genuine vermicelli has the inherent properties to be combustible (i.e. able to catch fire and then burn). Also, vermicelli belongs to the group Low Risk Food Products due to their low water activity derived from having a low moisture content, thus a potential fuel source. Provided with a sufficiently high temperature (e.g. fire or embers) combined with enough supply of oxygen, the ignition of vermicelli is highly plausible. Further, the soaking period in the video was not specified to accurately analyze if the product resisted softening or even absorption of water.
Similar news report locally and internationally concerning alleged fake or plastic noodles were already recorded as early as the year 2011. In these articles, experts directly and indirectly discussed the inherent property of noodles as potential flammable and combustible agents.
In view of the aforementioned, videos from social media must be reviewed in a technical and scientific lens. Thus, it is highly encouraged for the endorsement of such videos to appropriate authorities such as the FDA prior to sharing to other contacts in social media sites. For verification of the truthfulness of proliferating videos and reports on social media concerning health products, the online reporting facility, eReport can be accessed at www.fda.gov.ph/ereport.
Dissemination of this advisory to all concerned is hereby requested.
Attachment:->FDA Advisory No.2020-1028