Operation of 18 hospital cafeterias suspended
By Yi Whan-woo
More than half of cafeterias at 18 out of 24 general hospitals in Seoul have violated sanitary conditions, the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) said Friday.
It said 22 of the 41 cafeterias at 11 of the 18 failed to conduct sanitary checkups and clean their kitchens regularly, and used overdue food, while hiring employees without checking their health records.
The findings came after a rising concern of food poisoning, especially among patients who were taken to hospitals after suffering heatstroke amid a long heat wave that swept the city since late July.
Each of the inspected hospitals can hold up to 500 patients, who tend to eat their meals at hospital cafeteria with their visitors, according to the KFDA
The 11 hospitals include country’s most recognized ones, including Seoul National University, Korea University Annam and Yonsei Severance.
And all of them have failed to supervise whether their cafeterias kept a clean environment for their customers, the KFDA said.
“For instance, we found that the restaurant at Korea University Annam Hospital has been using ketchup and mayonnaise that had passed their expiration dates,” an official said.
“Moreover, two of the seven employees at the restaurant in Seoul National University Hospital did not even submit health records when they were hired,” he said.
The KFDA requires every employee working at a cafeteria to hand in a medical record to prevent possible spread of disease to customers.
It asked the Seoul City government to suspend the operation of the cafeterias for three months. It also added that it will check on them again without a prior notice after the suspension ends.