Denmark's Buldak ramyeon recall sparks Google search spike

SUNDAY, JUNE 23, 2024

The recent recall of several Buldak ramyeon products in Denmark for being too spicy has unexpectedly turned into a marketing win for the company, shown by a surge in Google searches for the products, data showed Sunday.

According to Google Trends data, worldwide searches for Buldak ramyeon -- popularized over the past decade as "Korean fire noodles" on the internet -- reached a peak on June 12, following news of the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration's decision to recall three varieties of Samyang Roundsquare's instant ramyeon line.

The news resulted in extensive coverage of the noodle products not only in Korean media but also in outlets such as the BBC, The Guardian, The Washington Post and AP News. Google data for this month indicates that searches for Buldak ramyeon have doubled compared to October and quadrupled compared to March last year.

However, despite the increased worldwide attention, the Korean food manufacturer remains cautious. Officials from Samyang Roundsquare affirmed that the company acknowledges the situation, emphasizing that the issue at hand has yet to be resolved.

On June 11, the Danish food safety agency identified high levels of capsaicin in a single pack of three noodle products: Samyang Buldak Hot Chicken Ramen 3x Spicy, Samyang Buldak Hot Chicken Ramen 2x Spicy and Samyang Hot Chicken Flavor Ramen Stew Type. They present a significant risk of acute toxicity to consumers, according to the agency.

Samyang Roundsquare filed a statement with the Danish government on Wednesday, contending that the capsaicin content level should be evaluated based on the weight of the sauce, which is 31.8 grams, rather than the entire product, weighing 140 grams.

Known for its numerous fiery flavors overseas, the original Buldak series measures around 4,400 Scoville Heat Units, a measure of spiciness based on the concentration of capsaicinoids, while Samyang Buldak Hot Chicken Ramen 2x Spicy measures 8,800 SHU and 3x Spicy 12,000 SHU. For comparison, a jalapeno pepper is measured at 2,000-8,000 SHUs.

No Kyung-min

The Korea Herald

Asia News Network