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Mexico recalls Buldak instant noodles for false labeling

Oct. 6, 2021 - 16:11 By Kang Jae-eun
A man walks by packaged instant noodle products stacked on the shelves of a discount store. (Yonhap)
Authorities in Mexico ordered a recall of a Buldak, or “fire chicken,” ramen product for misleading customers with its label, despite having “no trace of chicken” in it.

The Office of the Federal Prosecutor for the Consumer announced the recall decision Monday there, concerning Buldak Ramen Cheese and 11 other instant noodle products from across nine manufacturers. 

It targets a total of 129,937 packets distributed on shelves throughout the country.

Included were three products from South Korean food makers: Buldak Ramen Cheese from Samyang Foods, Ottogi Ramen chicken flavor from Ottogi and Nongshim’s Instant Noodle Soup Pasta.

Mexican officials explained that Samyang Foods’ Buldak product misled customers by labeling the product as “hot chicken flavor ramen.” The packaging claimed to use chicken meat, but only artificial chicken flavors and chicken-flavored powders are used, they said.

“It’s deceptive marketing. There is no trace of chicken (in the product). It’s less chicken than kissing one,” an official from the consumer protection agency was quoted as saying by local media.

Ottogi’s product had an image of carrots on the package, although it did not have carrots in it. Nongshim’s cup noodles had insufficient nutritional information, officials said.

In response to the announcement, Ottogi said it will “modify the design of the packaging very soon,” while emphasizing the problematic images were peppers, not carrots.

Samyang Foods explained that it used a synthetic chicken-flavored additive to make the product “meat-free,” adding it has plans to “relaunch the product with a new package design” in Mexico.

In addition, a number of Japanese ramen products, two instant noodle products from Germany’s Knorr and one from US-based Kraft, were subject to recalls.

Large retail chains, namely Walmart, have cleared away the problematic products off shelves in Mexico after the announcement. Retailers are considering resuming sales once the packages are replaced, according to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.