Eating spicy noodles in Denmark is considered life threatening. EPA-EFE/NARONG SANGNAK


Denmark recalls South Korean noodles for being ‘too spicy’


Buldak Spicy Noodles have been deemed by Copenhagen to be too hot to handle and pulled off the Danish market.

According to the Danish Government, the noodles manufactured by South Korean firm Samyang Foods contain levels of capsaicin that are too high and could cause “poisoning”.

Capsaicin is the chemical compound in chilli peppers that causes foods to taste “hot” when eaten.

On June 11, the Danish food agency issued the recall, saying consumers should not eat three flavours of Samyang noodles: Buldak 3x Spicy & Hot Chicken, 2x Spicy & Hot Chicken and Hot Chicken Stew.

“The DTU Food Institute assesses that the levels of total capsaicin in a single pack of all three noodle products are so high that they pose a risk that the consumer develops acute poisoning,” stated the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen).

Henrik Dammand Nielsen, department head at the agency, said children and young people have been challenging each other to eat the spicy noodle soup on TikTok, Instagram and elsewhere online.

“The challenge is to tolerate the soup’s high capsaicin content from chilli humidifiers. However, the capsaicin content is so high that it can pose a health risk. In Germany, several children have been hospitalised with poisoning after being challenged to eat hot chilli chips,” he claimed.

The Danish food agency warned: “Chilli 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.”

The issue was brought to the agency’s attention by a concerned citizen.

Nielsen said it was important that parents were aware of noodle variants and avoided them.

There does not appear to be any other safety warnings regarding the noodles published elsewhere and no other country seems to have taken any measures like Denmark’s.

Reacting to questions by The Korea Times on June 12, Samyan Foods said it was looking into the Danish decision, adding that it was the first recall it had experienced due to excessive spiciness.

“It seems that the Danish food authorities have initiated the recall due to concerns that the excessive spiciness could cause problems, not because of any quality issues with the product. We plan to closely examine the Danish regulations and respond to the recall accordingly,” said a Samyang Foods official.

Speaking to The Korean Times, one anonymous industry official said: “I’m not sure if the Danish authorities have valid regulations regarding the level of capsaicin or the threshold at which spiciness can be classified as potentially hazardous.

“Recall decisions should be made meticulously, because it is a highly sensitive issue for food businesses.”

The instant noodle line has been available since 2012 and is exported to around 80 countries, including those in the European Union, the US and across South East Asia.