Swank hotels busted for dirtiness, expired food

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Swank hotels busted for dirtiness, expired food

Seven five-star hotels, including the Grand Hyatt Seoul and the Westin Chosun Hotel, were caught violating food hygiene regulations in an investigation by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

The Seoul Regional Food Drug Administration launched a weeklong probe last Monday on 177 restaurants in 25 first-class hotels in the Seoul and Gangwon areas and found eight guilty of failing to meet hygiene standards or using ingredients that had passed their expiration dates, the ministry reported in a press release yesterday.

Seven hotels were caught in the crackdown, including the Grand Hyatt in Yongsan District, the Hilton and Chosun hotels in Jung District and the Mayfield Hotel in Gangseo District.

In Gangwon, the Kensington Star and Maremons hotels in Sokcho and Hotel Inter-Burgo in Wonju made the list.

Two restaurants in Hotel Inter-Burgo were busted.

“I don’t know how to put it,” a public relations officer from the Hilton said in a phone interview yesterday, “but I can tell you the press release is true, and we ceased purchasing and selling that certain food item immediately after being caught.”

He acknowledged that the bad publicity will have a “negative impact” on the hotel’s business.

A buffet at the Hilton’s Orangerie was found serving traditional Korean sweets from a non-registered business trader and will be penalized with either a monthlong business suspension or a fine.

Another buffet in Hotel Maremons’ Albatross restaurant was serving dried bonito that was 10 weeks older than its expiration date. The Hotel Inter-Burgo’s Unhae restaurant used a noodle sauce four months over its expiration date.

The Grand Hyatt, Chosun and Inter-Burgo hotels were caught for poor hygiene such as mold on walls, unclean cooking utensils and dirty ventilators.

All ingredients with overdue expiration dates were confiscated and the food already cooked with them discarded, officials said.

The crackdown was held as the number of foreign travelers visiting Korea’s hotels is skyrocketing.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [selee@joongang.co.kr ]

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