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Minister Wants School Food Inspected

Posted June. 28, 2006 03:02,   


Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook announced on June 27 that she will request the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) to launch an inspection on the sanitation quality of school meal providers.

“I will put the school meals’ condition improvement first on the country’s agenda,” Han said in a meeting with parent groups’ representatives and school meal experts in her visit to Soongeui Girls’ Middle School in Daebang-dong, Dongjak-gu, where 137 students fell ill with food poisoning after eating meals provided by food distributor, CJ Food System.

The BAI is expected to release soon its plan for a special inspection on schools, their food providers, and the education authorities about the food sanitation of schools. The inspection will be on a large scale and take at least two to three months to complete.

The minister also told the accompanying National Police Chief Lee Taek-soon to strengthen the regulation and punishment on food distributors with bad sanitation and procedures, and see to it if any corrosive relationship exists with regard to food distribution and school meals supply.

On the same day, the government launched nationwide inspections into sanitation of more than 8,000 elementary, middle, and high schools. It formed a special inspection team and will look into school food cafeterias across the country in coordination with 16 city and province educational offices, 182 local offices, the Korean Food and Drug Administration, and city and provincial governments by July 10.

Meanwhile, Kong Jeong-taek, superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, said that he would do his best to make sure that another food poisoning case in schools does not happen ever again. He also apologized to the affected parents and students in his letter to the 40 schools which ceased serving meals from food providers, saying that he was very sorry for the parents and students who bore physical and mental suffering due to the recent food poisoning incident.

The Korean Federation of Teachers’ Associations sent the “Negotiation Agenda for 2006” to the Education Ministry and demanded that every school employ a nutritionist to prevent another food poisoning incident.