A government survey found that the group food poisoning accident that occurred in a private kindergarten in Ansan, Gyeonggi-do in June was presumed to be due to abnormal performance of the refrigerator.

On June 12, after the first food poisoning patient occurred in the kindergarten, 118 out of 187 students had suspicious symptoms of food poisoning. Of these, 71 tested positive for intestinal hemorrhagic E. coli, and 17 were diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a complication called'Hamburger's disease'.

The government announced today (12th) that, as a result of an investigation by a joint epidemiological investigation team consisting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the police, the temperature of the lower drawer compartment of the refrigerator where food materials were stored was found to be 10 degrees higher than the proper temperature.

The investigation team estimated that the temperature of the refrigerator caused a problem in the process of storing food materials, and as a result, E. coli proliferated, resulting in an intestinal hemorrhagic E. coli infection. The fact that the causative bacteria were not detected in the kindergarten's drinking water, which was considered as a possibility other than food materials, and the soil touched by students during outdoor activities, increased the reliability of the investigation team's judgment.

However, it is known that the food ingredients that caused food poisoning could not be accurately identified because the kindergarten did not comply with the regulations requiring preservation food to be stored, and internal disinfection before the epidemiological investigation was conducted. Accordingly, the government imposed a penalty of 2.5 million won for violations of the Food Sanitation Act on kindergartens that discarded preserved food without reporting the occurrence of food poisoning to the education and health authorities.

In addition, it was revealed that the Kindergarten interfered with the epidemiological investigation by filling in'fake preserved foods' on the day of the epidemiological investigation to hide the fact that the preserved food was not kept, and falsely writing the transaction of food materials such as beef.

The government accused the police of interfering with epidemiological investigations under the Infectious Disease Prevention Act against the director and cook who submitted false statements and false data. In addition, if the infection turns out to be a school safety accident in accordance with the School Safety Act, it has announced that it will also claim the right to reimburse infants treatment expenses according to the intentional or gross negligence of the director.

With this incident, the government decided to amend the Enforcement Rules of the School Meals Act and the Enforcement Rules of the Infant Child Care Act so that the obligation to keep preserved meals can be extended to kindergartens and daycare centers with fewer than 50 people. The fine for negligence, which was 500,000 won for not storing preserved food, and 300,000 won for disposal or damage, will also be raised to 3 million won.

The Food Hygiene Act will also be revised so that if it intentionally interferes with the investigation of the cause of food poisoning, it can be imprisoned for up to 3 years or fined up to 30 million won.

This is'News Pick'.

(Photo = Yonhap News)