The Indonesian Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) revoked the permit of Shin Ramyun Black by Nongshim, Yeul Ramen by Ottogi and U-Dong and Kimchi flavored instant noodles by Samyang in mid-June 2017. The four instant noodles from South Korea, imported by PT Koin Bumi, were found to contain traces of porcine DNA. The discovery was made when the importer tried to license them with the BPOM.
The food safety watchdog said the affected products did not have a clear label notifying consumers they contain traces of pork. The company said it would obey the withdrawal order and was working to ensure all the products are taken off the shelf.
Implication for South Korean instant noodles
The latest sage highlighted an underlying problem with imported food from South Korea. Consumer’s doubt about the halal status of popular imported South Korean instant noodle has resurfaced time and again in Indonesia. We have reported in the past of the need for manufacturers to strengthen the halal assurance.
However, it has proven difficult to stem the sale of non-halal South Korean instant noodles by online sellers and third party distributors. The availability of non-halal products makes it difficult and confusing for consumers where non-permissible food is a taboo for over 90% of the population who are of the Islamic faith.
There are halal version of South Korean instant noodles certified halal by the Korean Muslim Federation (KMF) made at the dedicated factory in Wonju. The recent debacle has hurt the sale of the two halal-certified Samyang Hot Chicken Ramen and Hot Chicken Ramen Cheese, said the importer PT Korinus.
What Mini Me thinks
Consumers will become more wary of imported South Korean instant noodles following the latest scandal. Complicating the problem is the availability of non-halal version, which makes it hard for non-discerning consumers to differentiate. It remains a long road ahead for the importers of halal-certified South Korean instant noodles to win back the heart of consumers.