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Officials at former McDonald’s Korea supplier given suspended sentences

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A local court in Seoul has convicted three people for supplying contaminated food to McDonald’s in South Korea.

Seoul Central District Court imposed suspended jail sentences on the three employees of the former supplier, named as McKey Korea, by United Press International (UPI). They were indicted without detention in 2018 for allegedly distributing 63 tons of beef patties that tested positive for E. coli. Suspended jail terms ranged from two to three years and were suspended for four years.

The Korea Herald cited judicial sources who said the prosecution has appealed the court’s ruling.

The supplier was fined 40 million won (U.S. $36,000), according to the Yonhap News Agency. McDonald’s Korea terminated its relationship with the company in 2017.

Yonhap reported a group of local consumers filed complaints with the prosecution alleging they or their families had suffered hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), after eating McDonald’s burgers. HUS is a type of kidney failure associated with E. coli infections.

About 5 percent to 10 percent of those who are diagnosed with E. coli infections develop HUS. Symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small unexplained bruises or bleeding, and pallor. The condition can occur in people of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old, older adults and people with compromised immune systems.

In November 2020, prosecutors from Seoul searched McDonald’s Korea headquarters and seized documents as part of an investigation into illness caused by burgers served at the fast food chain.

The raid came almost two years after nine groups lodged a complaint with prosecutors against McDonald’s Korea, the food supplier and government officials.

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