SEOUL, March 5 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s drug safety agency said Thursday that the number of food poisoning cases in South Korea declined sharply last year, falling to about a half of the annual average for the previous five years, with the number of food poisoning patients more than halving.
The number of food poisoning cases occurring last year in the country stood at 178, which is equivalent to 52 percent of the annual average of 343 cases for the previous five years from 2015 to 2015, according to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
Accordingly, the number of food poisoning patients also dropped to 2,747 last year, a level that is equivalent to 40 percent of the annual average of 6,874 for the previous five years.
The number of food poisoning patients per 1 million people stood at 139 in 2016, 109 in 2017, 222 in 2018, 79 in 2019 and 53 in 2020.
The numbers of both cases and patients marked the lowest the ministry has ever seen during the entire period that it has been collecting relevant data, since 2002.
The ministry attributed the decline in both food poisoning cases and patients to the sharp decrease in the number of group meal programs, including school meals, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
“The number of food poisoning cases declined sharply last year as public interest in personal hygiene increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the ministry said.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)