From Billionaire to Millionaire: Monde Nissin Executives’ Net Worth Drops After Lucky Me! Controversy

After news of the Lucky Me! product recall, this Monde Nissin executive’s net worth dropped, thus removing him from the Forbes global billionaire list.

Lucky Me! has been a staple among many Filipino families. Affordable but just as filling, these instant noodles come in two kinds: a dry noodle known as Pancit Canton in Original, Chilimansi, Sweet & Spicy, and Extra Hot Chili, along with comforting soup-based ones like Chicken and Beef, which they call Instant Mami.

Recent controversy, however, has Lucky Me! Pancit Canton in hot water, as it faces product recall from countries like Ireland, France, and Malta. Through press releases and social media postings, they ordered a product recall on selected Lucky Me! products, as they were found to contain “high levels of Ethylene Oxide”.

Screenshot from the Official Page of the Department of Information of Malta

In Hot Water

But what exactly is Ethylene Oxide? A hazardous chemical commonly found in pesticides and disinfectants, it is sometimes used to fumigate dry food like spices, milk powders, and cereals in order to control microbial growth. While Monde Nissin—the company behind Lucky Me!—released a statement that it does not add Ethylene Oxide to its products, it admits that traces may be found in the seasoning and sauces as part of the fumigation process prior.

“[Ethylene Oxide] is a commonly used treatment in spices and seeds to control microbial growth, typically in agricultural products,” Monde Nissin’s statement reads. “These materials, when processed into seasoning and sauces, may still show traces of Ethylene Oxide.”

This, however, conflicts with the zero-tolerance policy of some European countries towards any amount of Ethylene Oxide—even traces of it—hence the product recall done by Ireland, France, and Malta. And for that, Monde Nissin’s stocks took a hard hit.

From Billionaire to Millionaire

Following the controversy, Monde Nissin’s stocks dipped last week, causing the company to lose $436 billion (around P24.4 billion) in market value. In fact, Monde Nissin’s stocks were going as low as P12.980 on Thursday afternoon—just hours after opening at P14.280.

Subsequently, these losses affected the net worth of Monde Nissin’s executives. From $1.4 billion last year, President Betty Ang’s net worth is estimated to be $1 billion. On the other hand, chairman Hartono Kweefanus’s current net worth is estimated to be $982 million from $1.95 billion last year. And with Kweefanus’ wealth dipping under $1 billion, he was no longer part of the Forbes global billionaires list.

Aside from Ireland, France, and Malta, Taiwan also reported product recalls for Lucky Me! products due to traces of Ethylene Oxide. With news going viral on social media, the local Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement, saying that they will be investigating this issue.


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