Fri, October 20, 2017 | 19:50
Posted : 2017-09-24 18:31
Updated : 2017-09-25 14:24

Dead lizard found in can of candy at commissary

By Lee Kyung-min

A dead lizard was found in a can of candy sold at a commissary on a military base, prompting public outrage against lax food safety regulations.

This latest incident comes amid a growing number of complaints filed over the safety of food sold at military camps, according to data made public by a lawmaker.

In a report filed with Rep. Kim Hack-yong of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party by the Ministry of National Defense Welfare Agency, 89 cases of tainted food were reported from January 2013 to early this month. Kim sits on the National Assembly Defense Committee.

The number of reports has increased over the years with 16 cases reported in 2013, 17 in 2014, 21 in 2015 and 22 in 2016.

Besides the dead lizard, hair, chicken feathers, maggots, ticks, pieces of plastic bags, and nuts and bolts were also found in various packaged food products, the report said.

A case reported this year involved pieces of what looked like a plastic bag found in bread. A dead fly was found in a donut, and part of severed cable cord was found in a dumpling. The identities of the manufacturers are being withheld.

A company reported on four occasions for providing contaminated food products _ twice in 2014 once last year and once this year _ did not have its contract canceled and is still supplying the military without being punished.

All three companies, which had complaints filed against them, received only verbal warnings, and continue to supply shoddy food products to soldiers.

Rep. Kim said manufacturers that make subpar products only have their business operations suspended for only two months, which they apparently find a cheaper alternative than maintaining good safety standards.

He said repeated violations occur due to the lax regulations, adding that strict safety regulations should be enforced to ensure food safety for young men serving their military duty.

Military service of 21 months is compulsory for all able-bodied men in Korea. President Moon Jae-in pledged during his campaign that he would reduce the obligation to 18 months.

Earlier, an allegation was made that high ranking military officials were involved in bribery after receiving money from food makers in return for helping them win government contracts to supply their products.

In 2014, a former colonel who served as a senior manager at the welfare agency filed multiple complaints with the military audit office over suspected bribery.

However, the office closed the case without pressing charges against anyone, after which the colonel claimed he was subject to multiple unjust punitive measures including a pay cut and relocation to a remote rural office.

The colonel later filed a petition with the National Human Rights Commission citing human rights abuses he suffered as a whistleblower.

관련 한글 기사

"군 PX 식품서 도마뱀 사체"

'잘못한 업체에 미온적 처분…강력한 징계 필요'

군 마트(PX)에 공급되는 각종 식품에서 인체에 해로운 이물질이 발견되는 사례가 매년 증가해 장병의 먹거리 안전에 대한 군의 대책 마련이 시급하다는 지적이 나왔다.

24일 국회 국방위원회 소속 자유한국당 김학용 의원이 국군복지단에서 제출받은 자료에 따르면, 2013년부터 올해 9월까지 군 마트 공급 식품에서 89건의 이물질이 발견됐다.

발견된 이물질은 머리카락, 닭털, 도마뱀 사체, 애벌레, 초파리, 진딧물, 비닐, 너트, 나사, 케이블타이 등 종류도 다양했다.

2013년 16건이었던 이물질 발견 건수는 2014년 17건, 2015년 21건, 작년 22건으로 해마다 꾸준히 늘었다. 올해도 9월까지 13건에 달했다.

이처럼 군 마크 공급 식품에서 이물질 발견이 끊이지 않는 것은 군의 미온적인 대처 때문으로 보인다. 이물질이 나와도 해당 생산 업체에 경고나 1∼2개월 납품 중지 등 가벼운 징계만 내려온 것이다.

실제로 올해 들어 A사가 납품하는 빵에서 비닐이, B사가 납품하는 도넛에서 초파리가, C사가 납품하는 만두에서 케이블타이가 각각 발견됐으나, 모두 경고 처리만 받고 납품을 계속했다.

유력 식품 업체인 D사의 경우 2014년 두 차례, 작년과 올해 한 차례씩 총 네 차례 이물질이 검출됐는데도 여전히 군 납품을 하는 것으로 확인됐다.

김학용 의원은 '군 마트 식품에서 발견되는 이물질이 매년 늘어나는 것은 군의 불량업체에 대한 솜방망이 처분 때문'이라며 '군에 반입되는 식품에 대한 철저한 관리와 불량업체에 대한 강력한 징계가 필요하다'고 강조했다.(연합)