Yesterday a college professor friend of mine chose an interesting topic during our conversational English session. It seems Koreans are avoiding eating hamburgers due to a recent incident that is said to have taken place at McDonalds. People are calling this reluctance “Burger Phobia”.

I’d not heard anything about the incident so he forwarded me an article from the Korea Times to allow me to catch up on the topic. The article outline a series of events that left a 5 year old girl on dialysis after suffering 90% kidney damage from a condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Allegedly she fell ill after eating what was presumed to be an uncooked hamburger containing E. coli at McDonald’s.

While was heartbreaking the article didn’t give me the impression that there was an immediate cause for concern. In fact my mind was almost made up that the whole ordeal was being blown out of proportion. That it was closer to “Burger Hysteria” than “Burger Phobia”.

But once my friend and I started our talk, the conversation quickly went beyond the news article. He being an industrial hygienist and environmental health expert, had quite a bit of additional insight on the incident and pointed out that it was not as isolated in nature as people had originally thought.

He went on to talk about a much larger problem in Korea. One that, after 16 years of living here, I’d never thought about before. I thought it’d be a good idea to cover the topic in the video not only to give people a heads up about McDonalds, but also to point out a much larger problem with the food industry here in Korea.