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McDonald’s Korea chief apologizes over burger panic

PUBLISHED : September 07, 2017 - 17:21

UPDATED : September 07, 2017 - 17:21

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[THE INVESTOR] The chief executive of McDonald‘s Korea sent out an official apology on Sept. 7 prompted by the public panic caused by suspected links between health dangers and McDonald’s burgers.

“I deeply regret that customers who visited our restaurants may have experienced any related illness,” McDonald‘s Korea Managing Director Melanie Joh said in a statement. This is the first time that the company’s leadership has issued an apology.

“Working with our entire system, suppliers and independent experts, we have identified a series of actions we plan to undertake, over time, to enhance and reinforce our food safety procedures.”

The apology comes after public outcry over several incidents at McDonald’s Korea that have raised questions about the safety of the fast food chain‘s products. The company has been sued by a mother who believes her 4-year-old daughter contracted hemolytic uremic syndrome, an acute liver disorder, after consuming an undercooked Happy Meal patty.

The publicity of the case led HUS to be widely referred to as “hamburger disease” among consumers in Korea.

A group of children also fell ill last month with food poisoning after consuming McDonald’s Bulgogi Burgers. The company has since pulled the product from its stores.

According to Joh‘s statement, McDonald’s will be conducting a third-party audit of its restaurants and implementing a food safety hotline as well as twice-yearly food safety training for all employees.

Customers will also be invited into McDonald‘s kitchens to see the production procedure firsthand, and will have access to information on McDonald’s farm-to-restaurant processes online.

The apology was met with anger by online commenters who saw the statement as belated and insincere. 

“McDonald‘s is just putting out this statement because people are boycotting their products,” wrote one person. 

Critics have pointed to McDonald’s previous efforts to block a safety study by the Korea Consumer Agency from being released to the public following the publicity of the HUS case as proof of the company leadership‘s insincerity. 

By Won Ho-jung/The Korea Herald (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)

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