Photo: Bulgaris yogurt drinks. Credit: Namyang Dairy Products.
Bulgarian yogurt prevents coronavirus, or so claimed Namyang Dairy Products 남양유업, touting its yogurt Bulgaris 불가리스. In a recent symposium held by Korea Research Institute of Biomedical Science 한국 의과학 연구원 on April 13 and 14, Namyang’s in-house scientist claimed that Bulgaris suppressed 77.8% of the COVID-19 virus; in response, Bulgaris yogurts quickly sold out, and Namyang’s share price jumped by 30% intraday. The mania came to a point that the Korea Diseases Control and Prevention Agency 질병관리청 had to step in and clarify that the research result was based on a direct application of the product to the virus itself, not based on human consumption.
On April 15, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety 식품의약품안전처 filed a complaint against Namyang for false advertisement, and Korea Exchange 한국거래소 began an investigation of Namyang, suspecting a pump-and-dump scheme predicated on purposely misleading information. Namyang, which was already facing a consumer boycott because of its practice of forcing nearly expired products on retailers, issued an apology on April 16.