McDonald’s Korea halt bulgogi burger sale after customers took ill

2017.09.04 13:43:51 | 2017.09.04 13:44:28

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McDonald’s in South Korea said on Saturday that it has suspended sale of bulgogi burger after a group of elementary students showed symptoms of enteritis including fever and diarrhea after eating the burgers at a branch in Jeonju, south west of the country.

McDonald’s said in a statement posted on its website that it “deeply regret” over the incident and wish quick recovery of the affected customers. The company is cooperating with the government authorities to identify the cause of the illness, and it is halting the sale of the burger that the students had as a precautionary measure until finding the exact cause, it stated.

On August 28, seven elementary school students and one teacher complained to McDonald’s that they suffered from stomach flu after visiting a McDonald’s restaurant in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province. They all ate bulgogi burger and showed symptoms of enteritis including stomach ache, diarrhea, and high fever.

Bulgogi, marinated grilled beef or pork, is one of Korean’s popular dishes, and the American fast-food giant has been selling the iconic bulgogi burger in Korea to lure more Korean customers.

The fast food chain launched probe on its own after receiving the complaint, and Korean health authorities are also investigating to uncover the cause of the disease. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requested all customers who showed similar symptoms after eating burgers from McDonald’s Jeonju branch to report to local health center. The investigation result is expected to come out on Wednesday at the earliest.

The incident comes only few months after the burger chain was accused of violating another food safety rule in the country. In July, a mother filed a complaint with the local prosecution against McDonald’s, claiming that her child is suffering hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) after eating an undercooked burger patty in McDonald’s Happy Meal. The HUS is a disease that can lead to kidney failure. A few other families also filed complaints.

By Lee Hee-soo

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