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Denmark pulls out popular Korean spicy noodle products from stores, cites risk of ‘poisoning’

Denmark has taken a bold step in consumer safety by recalling several spicy ramen noodle products from the South Korean company Samyang, citing potentially dangerous levels of capsaicin, the active component in chili peppers. The recall, announced by Denmark’s food agency, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA), includes three fiery flavors from Samyang’s instant ramen line: Buldak 3x Spicy & Hot Chicken, 2x Spicy & Hot Chicken, and Hot Chicken Stew.

The DVFA’s recall warning, issued on Tuesday, urged consumers to discard the products or return them to the point of purchase. The agency assessed the capsaicin levels in a single packet of these noodles as “so high that they pose a risk of the consumer developing acute poisoning.” This unprecedented action highlights the potential health risks associated with extremely spicy foods, particularly for children. The DVFA emphasized that parents should be vigilant and contact the Poison Line if their children exhibit acute symptoms after consuming the noodles.

Photo Credit: Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC)
Photo Credit: Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC)

Samyang, a major South Korean food manufacturer, responded by asserting that there were no quality issues with their products. In a statement to the BBC, the company explained, “We understand that the Danish food authority recalled the products, not because of a problem in their quality but because they were too spicy.” Samyang noted that this was the first instance of their products being recalled for such a reason, despite their global distribution and widespread popularity.


The recall has sparked significant online debate, with many spicy food enthusiasts mocking Denmark’s low tolerance for heat. A popular comment on the Reddit group r/Korea humorously noted, “I had a friend from Denmark who thought tasteless breaded shrimp with a little bit of ground pepper on it was too spicy. Not surprised they think this ramen is poison.”

Capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the burning sensation in chili peppers, is released into saliva and binds to receptors in the mouth when consumed. While it is widely enjoyed for its intense flavor and heat, excessive capsaicin can cause short-term health hazards, including digestive tract discomfort, headaches, and vomiting. Long-term health impacts remain a topic of scientific debate, with studies showing mixed results on their association with conditions like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and cognitive decline.

Samyang’s spicy ramen noodles have become a global sensation, partly due to viral social media challenges like the “Fire Noodles Challenge,” where participants attempt to eat one or more servings of the intensely spicy ramen. This trend, along with endorsements from celebrities and a strong international fan base, has contributed to Samyang’s impressive financial performance. The company’s operating profit reached a record high of over $110 million in 2023, and their products, especially the Buldak carbonara ramen, have experienced viral popularity on platforms like TikTok.

Despite the recall, Samyang remains committed to understanding and complying with local regulations in Denmark. The company plans to closely examine the DVFA’s findings and respond accordingly. This recall serves as a critical reminder of the importance of balancing consumer enjoyment of spicy foods with the necessity of ensuring their safety.

As the discussion continues, the international food community watches closely, considering the implications for other countries and the potential need for stricter regulations on the sale and consumption of extremely spicy products.


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