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Korean distributors halt sales of instant noodles from Fukushima

Korean retailers Homeplus and Wemakeprice have discontinued sales of Fukushima-imported instant noodles after the product’s place of origin label stirred up health concerns.

Otaru Shio Ramen -- produced in Fukushima, Japan, and imported to Korea by Homeplus and Wemakeprice -- has Fukushima printed as the area of production in Japanese. However, the Korean label specifies only Japan as the place of origin, prompting some consumers to point out that the translated label is misleading and takes away freedom of choice for those who do not know Japanese.

Otaru Shio Ramen (left) (Screenshot from Wemakeprice)
Otaru Shio Ramen (left) (Screenshot from Wemakeprice)

Some Koreans have reservations about products imported from Fukushima following a nuclear meltdown during the 2011 Tohoku earthquake.

Homeplus, which sold the product through its offline stores, said, “Otaru Shio Ramen is produced in Kitakata city factory, located over 100 kilometers from the area of the nuclear disaster. The product has no problems, as it has gone thorough radiation inspection.”

The company said the instant noodles do not cause health problems, but discontinued sales in response to concerns.

Wemakeprice, which sold Otaru Shio Ramen through its online channels, deleted the item from its website as of Tuesday night. It had sold just 10 packets before deleting the item.

The company said, “The product went through a radiation inspection before being imported, and no health-related problems were found. However, we decided to discontinue the product in response to consumers’ demands.”

By Lee Tae-hee (