McDonald's Korea head expresses regret over 'patty scandal'

SEOUL: The chief of McDonald's Korea expressed regret Thursday over its allegedly undercooked burger patties that a number of local consumers accused of having caused some health problems, including the permanent kidney failure of a 5-year-old girl, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

"I deeply regret that customers who visited our restaurants may have experienced any related illness," Joh Ju-yeon, managing director of the global fast food chain's local unit, said in an English statement.

It is the first time McDonald's Korea issued an official statement regarding the patty issue that caused the company to take flak and face huge public scrutiny.

In July, a woman lodged a complaint with the Seoul prosecutors' office against McDonald's Korea, claiming her 5-year-old daughter now has permanently damaged kidneys after eating a Happy Meal burger served with an undercooked patty.

Afterward, a handful of other families and individuals filed complaints against the restaurant chain.

The patty scandal took another twist early last week after several primary school students and their teacher in the southwestern provincial city of Jeonju complained to McDonald's that they suffered from enteritis after eating bulgogi burgers, which are made with grilled marinated meat.

On Sunday, McDonald's said it suspended sales of the bulgogi burgers across the country.

The 5-year-old girl also consumed a bulgogi burger with her Happy Meal.

Joh said the company is committed to working with the local authorities in finding the truth about the exact cause of the disease.

"I promise we will fully cooperate with the authorities' investigations to find the cause."

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has launched an investigation to get to the bottom of the health scare. — Bernama