Denmark says Korean instant noodles too spicy to eat safely

Danish Veterinary and Food Administration recalls Samyang instant noodles over ‘acute poisoning’ risk.

ramen
Denmark's food regulator has recalled three varieties of a popular South Korean instant noodle brand [Danish Veterinary and Food Administration]

Denmark has banned several varieties of a popular South Korean instant noodle brand for being too spicy, advising consumers that the fiery food poses a poisoning risk.

The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration said on Tuesday that it had recalled the noodles produced by Samyang Foods because their capsicum levels are “so high that they pose a risk of the consumer developing acute poisoning”.

The decision means that the Buldak 3x Spicy & Hot Chicken, 2x Spicy & Hot Chicken and Hot Chicken Stew varieties of instant ramen may no longer be sold in Danish shops.

The food regulator said consumers who had purchased the products should discard them or return them to the shop where they were bought.

“Chili in large quantities poses a risk to children and frail adults in particular. Possible symptoms include burning and discomfort, nausea, vomiting and high blood pressure,” said Henrik Dammand Nielsen, head of the agency’s Chemistry and Food Quality Division.

“Therefore, we are now demanding that stores remove the products from their shelves.”

Nielsen said the noodles’ capsicium levels were found to be even higher than those found in chilli chips that had led to a number of poisoning cases among children in Germany.

“Therefore, it is important that parents are aware of the extreme noodle variants and avoid them,” he said.

The announcement prompted a flurry of amused reactions on social media, including quips about Danish people’s lack of tolerance for spicy food.

Danish cuisine is not known for its use of spices. Traditional dishes include poached cod, open sandwiches and meatballs known as frikadeller.

Samyang Foods, whose headquarters is in Seoul, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

South Korea’s exports of instant noodles have registered double-digit annual growth in recent years, which local media have attributed to the explosive popularity of Korean dramas and films overseas.

Samyang Foods accounted for the bulk of the exports, which reached $270m in the first three months of 2024.

South Korean ramen manufacturers’ overseas sales hit a record $108.6m in April, up nearly 50 percent from the same period the previous year, according to the Korea Customs Service.

Source: Al Jazeera