SEOUL, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- The Seoul Central District Court convicted individuals from a meat supplier for distributing hamburger patties to McDonald's that were contaminated with E. coli.
The court imposed suspended jail terms Tuesday to three officials of McKey Korea. They were indicted in 2018 on charges of supplying 63 tons of beef patties that tested positive for intestinal hemorrhagic E. coli contamination.
"The crimes of the defendants posed a serious threat to the public health," the court said.
In 2017, a mother complained that her 4-year-old daughter suffered from kidney disease after eating a McDonald's burger.
Similar claims popped up as four others contended that they developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, nicknamed the "hamburger disease," after consuming to McDonald's food.
The prosecution investigated the allegations and indicted the three McKey Korea officials. Back then, they opted not to bring McDonald's Korea to the court, citing a lack of sufficient evidence.
But the case against McDonald's isn't over.
A new suspicion surfaced over a 2018 parliamentary inspection, which suggested that McDonald's Korea instigated an employee to make false statements during the probes. McDonald's denied the allegations.
"The thing is that McDonald's Korea sold beef patties supplied by McKey Korea. And the victim is still waiting for a kidney transplant," the child's lawyer, Hwang Da-yeon, told UPI News Korea.
Against this backdrop, some civic groups and media outlets called for another investigation into the case, which started last year. In November, the prosecution raided McDonald's Korea and are expected to produce a conclusion on whether or not to indict the company in the near future.
McDonald's Korea said that it had terminated its transactions with McKey Korea in 2017 and that it dumped all products supplied by the company.