KFC closed for inspection amid mass food poisoning incident

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The Ulaanbaatar Specialized Inspection Agency temporarily suspended operations of all KFC branches in Mongolia from February 18 to 21 to carry out health and sanitation inspections.

The KFC branch in Zaisan was closed on February 12 after the agency received a report that 20 customers were suffering from food poisoning after eating the franchise’s chicken the day prior. Since then, 42 people were hospitalized and over 247 more are showing symptoms of food poisoning after dining at KFC, the agency reported.

“While 116 people who ate at KFC between February 8 and 15 are suffering from diarrhea, vomiting and having a fever, 37 people have been hospitalized and 79 individuals are receiving outpatient treatment. These people are all showing similar symptoms,” Head of the Ulaanbaatar Specialized Inspection Agency L.Erdenechuluun stated.

Officials said they found serious violations in health standards and a failure in internal hygiene controls. Lab tests detected bacteria in the drinking water and E. coli in soda, which cause dysentery.

“Bacteria was detected in drinking water and other products. Moreover, two of the staff were infected with bacteria that cause bacillary dysentery. The branch had fabricated their health examination report. We’ve started inspecting all local KFC branches today,” L.Erdenechuluun stated on Monday.

The Ulaanbaatar Specialized Inspection Agency warned that the number of affected people might be higher than the current count as bacterial infections that cause dysentery tend to cause health problems six hours to a week later.

The official lab test results read, “A total of 39 food samples were tested. Another 94 samples were taken from equipment, tools, air ventilation and washing machines. KFC’s Zaisan branch was closed. This branch has 28 employees. Their health report showed they didn’t receive skin disease examination, but they were signed, or weren’t signed or stamped. Food production and hygiene control wasn’t adequate. The franchise doesn’t have internal supervision over employee health and hygiene. These things aren’t kept in records. Disinfectants not approved by the General Agency of Specialized Inspection were used in their operations.”

Officials stressed that four serious health violations were found from the Zaisan branch and each violation will be penalized with a fine of up to five million MNT.

Tavan Bogd Foods, which holds rights to KFC Mongolia, issued a written apology for the recent food poisoning caused by their irresponsibility and poor internal control.

“We’re cooperation with specialized agencies and taking necessary measures to remove detected violations and shortcomings as our top priority is the health and safety of our customers,” the company said in the statement.

KFC Mongolia reportedly imports chicken and other ingredients from Shandong, China.

Dulguun Bayarsaikhan

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