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Snack-foods

Indonesian government seeks ban on Bikini Noodles over ‘pornographic’ packaging

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Are these noodles offensive? (Bihun Kekinian)

A popular noodle snack is in hot water with authorities in Indonesia over its suggestive packaging.

Bikini Noodles, made by an Indonesian food purveyor located in the city of Bandung, come in a box featuring an illustration of a woman's torso wearing a two-piece swimsuit. On the bottom of the package, a tagline reads “Remas Aku” which translates to “squeeze me.” Bikini isn’t just referring to the swimsuit style but it’s actually a play on words as an abbreviation of "bihun kekinian," which simply means "trendy rice noodles."

According to Mashable the snack has been on sale for at least a year but its growing population has now caught the attention of officials in the Muslim majority country who now want the snack banned.

Indonesia's Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM), which usually performs functions similar to the FDA in the U.S. like monitoring food ingredients, announced it had launched an investigation into the rice noodle snack and have called for stores to pull it from shelves.

BPOM’s head Abdul Rahim told reporters last week that the company behind the snack likely did not go through the proper channels to get the packaging approved and that the illustration on the package is “pornography,” reports The Telegraph.

Since the agency launched its investigation, Daniel Tumiwa, the CEO of Indonesian advertising network OLX, says digital ads for the snack been pulled.

Other Indonesian groups have echoed concern about Bikini Noodles.

"Regardless of the producer's intention, it creates an improper situation for children and triggers pornographic thoughts," Maria Ulfah Anshor, from the Indonesian Child Protection Commission, told the Telegraph.

"There is no relation between rice noodles and bikini. The producers could have offered something more relevant rather than sex-related content on its packaging.”

The Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) supports BPOM's initiative to remove the snack from the country's shelves citing it as "inappropriate" for children.

Indonesia is a constitutionally being a secular state but has the largest population of practicing Muslims of any country. Recently, many outspoken conservative voices have been pushing for greater censorship including the blurring of female cleavage on TV and muting profanity.