SEOUL, Sept. 3 (Korea Bizwire) – McDonald’s Korea, the South Korean unit of U.S. fast food chain McDonald’s, said Sunday that it has suspended sales of its bulgogi burger across South Korea as it expressed deep regret over a group of children and their teacher falling ill.
Last Monday, seven primary school students and their teacher complained to McDonald’s that they suffered from enteritis after eating bulgogi burgers in a McDonald’s restaurant in Jeonju, about 240 kilometers south of Seoul, on Aug. 25.
“We deeply regret that the customers who visited the restaurant in the Jeonju area experienced any illness and wish for the customers’ quick recovery,” McDonald’s said in an English-language statement.
“The company takes matters like this very seriously and thereby decided to temporarily cease the sales of bulgogi burger in restaurants around the country,” starting Saturday.
Bulgogi, grilled marinated beef or pork, is one of the most popular dishes among Koreans. McDonald’s Korea said that its bulgogi burger patty is made of mostly Korean pork and does not contain any beef.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has launched a probe to find the cause of the disease.
McDonald’s said it is cooperating with the South Korean authorities’ investigation to identify the cause of the illness of the customers who visited the restaurant in Jeonju, and the suspension of sales of the burger is a precautionary measure prior to uncovering the exact cause of the disease.
It also said it is implementing every measure required to support the recovery of the customers, adding that McDonald’s Korea is reinforcing company-wide safety standards for retail distribution, storage, and cooking procedures in every restaurant for customer and food safety.
In July, a woman lodged a complaint with the local prosecution against McDonald’s, claiming that her 5-year-old daughter now has permanently damaged kidneys after eating a Happy Meal burger served with an undercooked patty. A few other families and an individual also filed complaints. At least five people currently claim to be victims of undercooked McDonald’s patties.