Dongsuh recalls four cereals tainted with E. coli

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Dongsuh recalls four cereals tainted with E. coli



Dongsuh Foods faces a drastic decline in sales and a consumer boycott after four cereal products were found to contain a form of E. coli bacteria.

Dongsuh issued an apology yesterday, saying it will recall and discard the cereals.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said Tuesday it had suspended sales of Post Almond Flakes, Oreo Oz, Granola Cranberry Almond and Granola Papaya Coconut.

The food authorities said Dongsuh continued to produce and distribute the cereals even after internal quality inspections detected the contaminant.

The prosecution raided the company’s production plant in Jincheon, North Chungcheong, on Tuesday and its headquarters and research center Thursday.

Law enforcement agencies have widened the investigation.

Major discount supermarkets pulled the suspect products, while E-Mart withdrew all cereal made by Dongsuh.

The cereal manufacturer said in a statement it will recall its grain products from all other stores.

That, however, hardly satisfied consumer advocate groups, which are up in arms.

The Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice said Thursday it will launch a class-action lawsuit.

“Dongsuh only considered its profits and failed to fulfill its responsibility,” the organization said in statement. “The company should come up with follow-up measures to prevent such cases and try its best to compensate consumers.”

The Korea National Council for Consumer Organizations has called for a boycott of all food and beverage products by Dongsuh.

The organization is targeting Dongsuh’s instant coffee mix that has more than 80 percent of the market.

“We are really disappointed by the food company because it was at the forefront of jeopardizing consumers’ health,” said a representative of the organization.

“We will push for a stricter inspection system and look into whether outside food inspection agencies are reliable or not.”

The consumer organization is also leading a boycott of Crown Confectionery.

Prosecutors said last week they brought formal charges against seven employees of Crown Confectionery for continuing to sell a product it knew was contaminated with a bacterium known to cause food poisoning.

Organic Wafer cookies were sold from March 2009 through August, despite having evidence of staphylococcus in internal company tests.

“The thing that matters here is that both companies have knowledge about their contaminated products, but they didn’t stop producing. Rather, they tried to conceal the fact that their products were tainted,” the organization said.

The consumer advocate group also accused Dongsuh of a slow response, noting that its apology came four days after the Food Ministry unveiled the results of its inspection.

“The company also failed to respond properly after all the reports,” said Korea National Council for Consumer Organizations in statement.


BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]

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