The fall and fall of the ramen chain’s star started last month when media reports said that the company’s broth was made with cheap powders and other instant seasoning, rather than by boiling pig bones as it had claimed in its advertising. The stock plummeted more than 8% on July 26.
Ajisen admitted that its soup base concentrate is made at a centralized food factory, and explained in a statement that the soup ingredients are “made from pig bones instead of soup powder” and that “the pig bones are stewed into soup base concentrate by employing advanced technology and expertise from Japan.”
But there were more skeletons in the closet. Soon after, a local media report on the mainland said Ajisen was fined 780,000 yuan in May 2010 by Shanghai’s food safety regulator for using sorbitol in its noodles, a stabilizing agent used in flour products banned at the time.