Danish authorities ban super-hot Korean noodles, order recall

The popularity of Korean dramas and challenges on platforms like TikTok has contributed to the global popularity of hot Korean instant noodles

Denmark's food agency recalled three varieties of Samyang Foods' instant noodle products - Buldak 3x Spicy & Hot Chicken, 2x Spicy & Hot Chicken, and Hot Chicken Stew - due to dangerously high levels of capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their heat.
Danish authorities instructed citizens to throw away or return the recalled noodles and watch for poisoning symptoms, especially in children, who are advised to contact the Poison Control Hotline if they feel unwell after consuming the products.
Samyang Foods defended the quality and spiciness of their products, claiming they did not violate any rules and produce high-quality food. They disputed the recall, claiming incorrect capsaicin calculations, and are conducting their own spiciness assessment with a Korean research institute before sending a statement to the Danish government.
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ממיל גוקסו: אטריות קרות מהמטבח הקוריאני
ממיל גוקסו: אטריות קרות מהמטבח הקוריאני
(Photo: Dana Reicher)
The popularity of Korean dramas and challenges on platforms like TikTok has contributed to the global popularity of Korean instant noodles, including Samyang's spicy varieties. Despite the recall in Denmark, Samyang Foods' products, particularly the buldak carbonara ramen, are popular overseas, with a record-high operating profit in 2023 and a soaring stock price after going viral on TikTok, causing shortages in the United States and attracting celebrity attention.
The Danish authorities faced light teasing over their reaction to the spicy ramen, as Danish cuisine is not known for spicy flavors.
Capsaicin, the active compound in chili peppers, triggers an inflammatory response in mammals by binding to sensory nerves, causing swelling, sweating, and discomfort. However, birds are unaffected due to different heat sensors, aiding seed dispersal.
The pungency of chili peppers is measured on the Scoville scale using Scoville heat units (SHU), ranging from sweet bell peppers at zero SHU to Pepper X at 2.7 million SHU. Consuming excessively spicy food can induce a natural "high" due to endorphin release but also lead to nausea and gastrointestinal distress.
Moderate consumption of spicy foods can offer benefits like pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, antibacterial properties, boosted metabolism, and weight loss. However, children, older adults, and individuals with digestive issues should be cautious about consuming extremely spicy foods.
To alleviate the heat from spicy foods, fatty foods like milk, acidic foods like lemon juice, and starchy foods like bread can help neutralize the heat, while drinking water can make the spice sensation worse.
Breakfast hosts Daniel Faitaua and Chris Chang tasted the banned noodles on air, with Faitaua eating a lot at once and feeling the intense spice. Chang found them tasty but couldn't consume them as quickly. The noodles caused numb tongues and tingling lips among the hosts, who drank milk to cool down the spiciness.
This article was written in collaboration with Generative AI news company Alchemiq
Sources: republicworld.com, salon.com, editorji.com, philstar.com, hits96.com, icenews.is, koreajoongangdaily.joins.com, slurrp.com, wkbn.com, cphpost.dk, miragenews.com, phys.org, co.nz, and headtopics.com.
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