Wednesday, December 6, 2023

12 brands of instant soup withdrawn for misleading information

Twelve different instant soup products have been withdrawn because the information on their packaging is incorrect or misleading.

The head of the federal consumer protection agency Profeco said Monday that almost 130,000 product units had been taken off shelves.

“In the operation we carried out, 129,937 units of instant soups were withdrawn from the market. [They] correspond to 12 products [sold under] nine different brands,” Ricardo Sheffield told President López Obrador’s regular news conference.

The withdrawal followed a study of 33 instant soup products that analyzed the information on their packaging and their protein, fat, carbohydrates, energy and salt content. Its findings were published in the October issue of Profeco’s magazine, Revista del Consumidor.

Sheffield said that one of the products withdrawn was Korean instant noodle product Buldak Cheese, whose packaging says it has cheese and chicken.

Profeco's magazine
Profeco’s magazine focuses on instant soups this month.

“But it doesn’t have any cheese or any chicken. It’s deceitful advertising. … “You get more chicken kissing a chicken than with that soup,” he said.

“There’s another [product] called Maruchan Ramen that says it has vegetables. You can see in the Revista del Consumidor that the pieces of vegetables it has … fit on the tip of your fingernail,” Sheffield said. “The photo [on the product] shows peas, carrots, everything, as if it was something very healthy.”

Maruchan soups have not yet been taken off shelves but Profeco intends to withdraw them soon. That news prompted panic buying of the product, according to numerous social media users.

The Profeco chief said that instant soups sold under the Knorr brand were also withdrawn. Knorr soups have more calories than their labels indicate, he said.

“… In addition, they hide that they add sugar. That’s why these [instant] soups are so attractive – they have a lot of salt and a lot of sugar; they taste good but they’re not so good for you,” Sheffield said.

J-Basket instant noodles, Chikara udon and Ottogi ramen were among the other products taken off shelves.

According to the World Instant Noodles Association, Mexico is the world’s 15th largest consumer of instant soups. Maruchan “instant lunch” cup noodles are particularly popular due to their low price (about 11 pesos) and widespread availability at convenience stores such as OXXO.

Sold in a polystyrene cup, the noodle soups are commonly heated in microwaves at convenience stores but Sheffield warned against the practice, asserting that it causes chemicals to leak into the soup.

“They’re harmful to health, even more so if you’re eating them frequently,” he said.

With reports from El País and Reforma 

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