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‘Hamburger disease’ case dropped on lack of evidence
  • By Marian Chu
  • Published 2018.02.14 14:26
  • Updated 2018.02.14 14:26
  • comments 0

Seoul prosecutors Tuesday dropped the case against McDonald’s Korea wherein a mother claimed her four-year-old daughter got “hamburger disease” after eating an undercooked patty at the outlet.

Prosecutors dropped the McDonald’s hamburger disease case citing lack of evidence.

Hamburger disease refers to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is most commonly caused by an Escherichia coli (E. coli) infection. Some specific strains of E. coli passed on through contaminated food, can cause infections that can lead to HUS.

According to the mother, the child ate a “Happy Meal” at a McDonald’s in September last year and fell ill about three hours later, suffering from abdominal pains and diarrhea. She was admitted to an intensive care unit and diagnosed with HUS. The child now must undergo nine hours of peritoneal dialysis daily with medical bills reaching up to 30 million won.

A total of five victims have come forth since last year.

Tuesday, prosecutors stated that it could not prove the cause and effect relationship between McDonald’s hamburgers and hamburger’s disease, acquitting charges against the hamburger franchise that claimed violations of the Food Sanitation Law and professional negligence.

“There is not enough evidence to prove that the hamburgers of McDonald’s Korea caused the victims' illnesses,” said the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office.

But the prosecution did say that it found that hamburger patties containing E. coli was delivered in large quantities to Korean McDonald’s, and indicted the CEO and employees of McKey Korea - a Sejong-based meat distributor – for providing possibly unsafe patties to McDonald's.


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