Instant Noodles do NOT contain a Wax Coating That Causes Cancer

Message circulating via social media claims that instant noodles have a wax coating to stop them from sticking together and that this wax can build up in your body and cause cancer.

Brief Analysis:
The claims in the message are untrue. Instant noodles do not have a wax coating. Nor do the polystyrene foam containers they come in. And even if they did, there is no credible evidence that links wax with cancer. Nor would the wax build up in your body as claimed in the message. This message is a pointless hoax and sharing it will help nobody.

Instant Noodles contain a wax coating which is also used in Styrofoam containers. That is why instant noodles don’t stick to each other when cooking. Our body needs up to two days to clean the wax. Make sure you stop eating a pack of noodles for at least 3 days after a session of noodles, THIS WAX CAN CAUSE CANCER!! SHARE IF YOU CARE!!

Instant noodles wax cancer hoax

Detailed Analysis:
According to this message, which has been circulating in various incarnations since at least the year 2000, instant noodles have a wax coating to stop them from sticking together. The message further claims that the polystyrene foam containers that the noodles come in also have a coating of wax. The message warns that this wax can build up in our bodies and cause cancer. It advises consumers to wait at least three days between eating noodles because our bodies need up to two days to clean out the wax.

However, the claims in the message are utter nonsense. Neither noodles nor polystyrene foam food containers are coated with wax. The entire concept is irrational. The wax on both the containers and the noodles would quickly melt away when boiling water was added and would therefore be utterly pointless.

An article discussing noodle myths on the Monde Nissin website explains:

Noodle strands do not stick together as a natural consequence of the process of slitting or cutting the noodle dough into strands, steaming, and then frying in normal cooking oil.

And polystyrene foam does a great job of retaining heat and holding foods and liquids, so it certainly does not require a wax coating.

Moreover, even if noodles and their containers did have a wax coating, there is no credible evidence to support the claim that inadvertently consuming this wax could lead to cancer.

In fact, wax of various types is used regularly in various foods such as confectionary and as a coating for products such as cheese. While eating a large amount of some types of wax may lead to intestinal obstruction, wax is considered non-toxic when consumed in small amounts and there is no indication that it has carcinogenic properties.

And finally, wax does not build up in your body as claimed in the ‘warning’. Wax is not digested but simply passes through the body unaltered.

Thus, this warning is without foundation and sharing it will help nobody. Sending on spurious and inaccurate health information such as this is counterproductive.

Last updated: February 2, 2017
First published: October 25, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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