Prosecutors have launched a reinvestigation into the "hamburger disease" case. Although there was the first accusation that McDonald's sold hamburgers with undercooked meat patties in July 2017, the prosecution cleared the case in February last year.
On Oct. 25, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office called in a lawyer, a legal representative for a group that accused hamburger disease, as an accuser and investigated the case.
Earlier in January, nine organizations, including "mothers doing politics," filed charges against Korea MacDonald's, patty supplier and Sejong City government officials on charges of violating food hygiene law, job negligence, obstruction of justice and dereliction of duty.
They claimed that McDonald's covered up the fact that contaminated patties, which were detected in July 2016 with intestinal hemorrhagic coli, remained in some stores, even after being reported by the patty manufacturer.
The case began in September 2016, when a four-year-old child was diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome and was diagnosed as a second-degree kidney disorder, with parents claiming that the cause of the child's outbreak of the disease was due to undercooked hamburgers he ate at McDonald's on the same day.
The prosecution, which conducted the investigation at the time, suspended the indictment of McDonald`s and its executives and employees in February last year due to lack of evidence, and indicted three company officials, including the head of the patty manufacturer, without detention.
During a parliamentary audit on Oct. 17, Rep. Pyo Chang-won of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea raised the suspicions Prosecutor General Yoon Seok Youl, saying, "McDonald's asked his staff to make false statements during the investigation into the hamburger disease case."
In response, Yoon hinted at reinvestigating the case, saying, "If there were any false instigations, there is no reason why the prosecution should not thoroughly investigate it."
In response to the allegation that McDonald's instigated the false statements, the company said, "The assertion is a one-sided claim. We have already been cleared of the hamburger disease case. Although appeals and financial requests have been filed with the Seoul High Prosecutors' Office and the Seoul High Court, the cases have also been rejected."