Mouse bits in shrimp snack shocks Koreans

The BBC reported last week that Nongshim, a leading Korean snack manufacturer, received information back in mid-February that a spin-off of its famous shrimp chips, Saewookkang, contained what was believed to be a mouse’s head. However, the company allegedly suppressed the matter until it became public.

A consumer in North Chungcheong Province reportedly bought a 400g Noraebang Saewookkang pack on Feb. 18. The buyer found a 16mm-long material with hair inside the pack and reported it to the company.

Nongshim imports the dough from its China factory in Qingdao and manufactures the snack’s final packs in Korea.

Nongshim took action like analyzing the foreign material discovered in the product. But the company hadn’t done much until the Korea Food and Drug Administration publicly reported the issue.

The public is now accusing the company of knowingly selling snacks made from the same contaminated dough for nearly a month and a growing number of consumers are boycotting the company’s products, dubbing Saewookkang not as shrimp chips, but as mouse`s head chips.

The Korea Times subsequently said in an editorial that all this can only happen in a country where businesses put corporate profits and images over consumers’ health and safety — and get away with it.