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Denmark recalls Korean ramen for being too spicy – BBC News

By Frances Mao, BBC NewsShare

Denmark has recalled several spicy ramen noodle products by South Korean company Samyang, claiming that the capsaicin levels in them could poison consumers.

Three fiery flavours of the Samyang instant ramen line are being withdrawn: Buldak 3x Spicy & Hot Chicken, 2x Spicy & Hot Chicken and Hot Chicken Stew.

Denmark’s food agency issued the recall and warning on Tuesday, urging consumers to abandon the product.

But the maker Samyang says there’s no problem with the quality of the food.

“We understand that the Danish food authority recalled the products, not because of a problem in their quality but because they were too spicy,” the firm said in a statement to the BBC.

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

It’s unknown if any specific incidents in Denmark had prompted authorities there to take action.

The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration said it had assessed the levels of capsaicin in a single packet to be “so high that they pose a risk of the consumer developing acute poisoning”.

“If you have the products, you should discard them or return them to the store where they were purchased,” it said in a statement.

It also emphasised the warning for children, for whom extremely spicy food can cause harm.

The notice has sparked heated discussion online with many amused reactions from lovers of spicy food. Many have made assertions about the Danes’ low tolerance for spice.

“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,” read one top-liked comment on a Reddit ramen forum.

Samyang said it planned to “closely look into the local regulations” in Denmark and respond after that.

The noodles don’t appear to have been recalled before in any other country, nor have there been other safety warnings issued.

Capsaicin is the chemical compound in chilli peppers which creates the burning feeling.

When humans eat peppers, the capsaicin is released into saliva and binds on to receptors in the mouth.

Samyang is a major South Korean food manufacturer which brands itself as the first company in the country to create instant noodles, back in the 1960s.

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