중앙데일리

McDonald’s faces 2nd suit involving child

July 13,2017
A lawyer representing the family whose 2-year-old daughter had diarrhea after eating a McDonald’s hamburger patty filed a complaint to the prosecution on Wednesday against the Korean regional branch of the multinational fast food chain.

This is the second complaint against McDonald’s Korea by lawyer Hwang Hye-yeon, who also represents a family whose 5-year-old daughter caught hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), widely known as “hamburger disease,” a type of bacteria infection that can leave the renal system severely damaged, after eating a Happy Meal set on Sept. 25 at a McDonald’s branch in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi. The 5-year-old, surnamed No, must undergo nine hours of peritoneal dialysis every day.

According to the press release by Hwang on the second complaint, the child had a Mc Morning set and ate a hamburger patty that came with it at around 9:02 a.m. on May 17 at a Jamsil branch in southern Seoul and went to her kindergarten. About three hours later, the child began to have diarrhea, which continued the following day. On May 19, the child began having bloody excrement and was admitted to the emergency room of a local hospital. The child’s condition improved and she was discharged later in the day.

The lawyer said while the child was fortunate enough to recover, the early symptoms were similar with those of No, whose conditions worsened in the days after eating the hamburger on Sept. 25, to the point that her heart stopped beating on Oct. 1 and she had to be revived by medics.

“While the symptoms didn’t lead to HUS, the early symptoms displayed were almost identical to those of the victim described in the complaint submitted on July 5,” the lawyer said. “Not only did the child suffer greatly, the mother also was appalled and in pain watching her daughter suffer with bloody stool. The prosecutors should get to the bottom of the case.”

In the wake of the July 5 complaint and with growing media attention on the safety of McDonald’s products, the 77-year-old fast food company said in a press release that no patties sold on Sept. 25 at its Pyeongtaek branch were undercooked, citing its food safety check list approved by the store manager that day. Choi Eun-joo, the mother of the child, claims the patty her daughter ate that day was undercooked and demanded CCTV footage from inside the kitchen and the store. McDonald’s said it runs no CCTV cameras inside its kitchens in order to protect its employees’ rights.

While McDonald’s insists it is innocent, saying no complaint was reported except for Choi’s, an official of a PR company commissioned by McDonald’s Korea told the Korea JoongAng Daily it had instances of undercooked patties and that it has manuals instructing its employees on how to distinguish undercooked patties from cooked patties by color.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]


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