Denmark Recalls Popular Korean Instant Noodles Because They Are Too Spicy

Denmark Recalls Popular Korean Instant Noodles Because They Are Too Spicy

Danish officials have issued a recall on three types of spicy instant noodle products from a popular South Korean brand—claiming that the amount of peppery flavor is too intense and even poses a risk of “acute poisoning.”

The three instant ramen flavors are made by the company Samyang Foods: Hot Chicken Stew, Buldak 3x Spicy & Hot Chicken, and 2x Spicy & Hot Chicken, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration said in a post on its website Tuesday. Denmark’s food and safety agency encouraged the public to return those flavors to the store or throw them away.

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The agency said it was recalling the noodles because children and young people have been daring each other on social media platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram, to eat spicy noodles.

“The challenge consists in tolerating the soup’s high content of capsaicin from chili sauce. However, the capsaicin content is so high that it can pose a health hazard,” the agency said in a press release Tuesday. “In Germany, several children have been hospitalized with poisoning after being challenged to eat strong chili chips.”

The agency said that the amount of hot chili in the noodle products is even higher than that in chili chips, which led to the hospitalizations in Germany. The “One Chip Challenge” was a global social media trend, for which young people ate a single spicy Paqui tortilla chip. A Massachusetts teen who had a congenital heart defect died after participating in the trend, according to the Associated Press.

The Denmark agency did not mention whether it has received any reports of injuries associated with consuming the noodles made by Samyang Foods.

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Children and frail adults are still at risk, the agency said. People who eat the noodles could experience symptoms such as burning and discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and high blood pressure. Henrik Dammand Nielsen, head of the Danish Food and Drug Administration, demanded that stores remove the three noodle flavors from their shelves.

But Samyang Foods said in a statement to BBC that its understanding was that Denmark officials recalled the noodles “because they were too spicy,” not because there was an issue with the quality of the products.

“The products are being exported globally. But this is the first time they have been recalled for the above reason,” Samyang told BBC.

Samyang Foods is one of South Korea’s main food manufacturers—on its website, Samyang Foods said it created the country’s first ramen in 1963. The company exports halal products to nearly 80 countries, including its ramen instant noodles, according to Al Jazeera. In the first three months of this year, the company reached $270 million in export sales, Al Jazeera reported.

Buldak 3x Spicy & Hot Chicken, one of the flavors that Denmark issued a recall for, was ranked number two on a list of the top 10 spiciest instant noodles in 2024 by The Ramen Rater, a blog that reviews instant noodles from around the world. Tasting Table, an U.S.-based digital media company that focuses on food and drink, ranked the flavor Buldak 2x Spicy & Hot Chicken as number one on its list of 14 spicy instant ramen noodles.

The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration said in its recall announcement that if a child eats the noodles and does not experience any symptoms, there is no need to worry. But if the child is experiencing symptoms immediately after eating the noodles, then the agency advised people to contact the Poison Line at 82 12 12 12.

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