Are ramen noodles made of plastic and can they give you cancer? Hoax revealed

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  December 16, 2020

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For over twenty years there has been a rumor circulating on the internet about instant ramen. Said rumor states that instant ramen is coated in wax and that the wax can get stuck to your stomach lining.

Not only that, but it says this wax coating can give you cancer. The rumor claims that the reason there is a wax coating is to keep the noodles from getting stuck together after they have been fried.

Are ramen noodles plastic and can they give you cancer

Is the rumor true?

Absolutely not. It has been confirmed numerous times to be an absolute hoax. There is no truth to this rumor whatsoever. Even manufacturers of instant ramen, like Maruchan, have confirmed that this is a hoax. All ingredients are listed on the back of the package and due to legal regulations, it is mandatory to list every single ingredient contained in a product.

Food safety experts have also pointed out that fried noodles do not get stuck together. That isn’t how food works, especially when it comes to using oil for frying foods.

What about the package or container?

The hoax also indicates that there is wax used in the packaging for instant ramen. This is also false. Even if it was true and a small bit of wax did manage to get onto the instant ramen that you call lunch, it would simply pass through your body without causing any issues. That is how your body handles things it can’t digest, and the same would apply here if there was a wax coating on instant ramen.

Even if wax was used, it would be beeswax, which is completely edible for humans. So having beeswax on the noodles or packing would not have any harmful effects on the person eating the instant ramen.

Also read: ramen vs ramyun vs ramyeon, different or the same?

What about cancer? Does ramen cause cancer?

Well, yes. That is the only kernel of truth in this ridiculous hoax. However, cancer is not caused by a non-existent wax lining. There are other factors at play that cause ramen to be bad for your health. First off, instant ramen is overloaded with sodium. While having some sodium in your diet is important, excess sodium increases your risk for heart disease, stomach cancer, and even a stroke.

Not only that, but instant ramen is a heavily processed food. Heavily processed foods are notorious for having a lot of flavor enhancers and preservatives that are bad for your overall health. They may make the food taste good and allow it to last longer, but long term exposure can cause all sorts of issues for you in the long run.

So eating instant ramen noodles regularly is far worse for your health than an imaginary layer of wax coating on ramen noodles.

The importance of fact-checking

Though this hoax has been proven false numerous times throughout the years, it still keeps getting spread around. Since there are people that will believe any bizarre and outlandish conspiracy theory that exists, it is very difficult to get a debunked hoax out of the wild once it is out there. Social media is an echo chamber for false and unverifiable information being thrown around as some secret truth.

In this day and age of technology, it is important to not necessarily take a vague story at face value. If someone’s claiming some nameless person died because they had a bunch of wax built up in their stomach, verify that information before you buy into the scare tactic.

Eat ramen in moderation because of the lack of nutritional value, not because of a baseless hoax.

Also read: has ramen been fried to get the dried noodles?

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.