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Vietnam fines Lotteria store in capital over tainted drinks

Friday, January 16, 2015, 14:52 GMT+7
Vietnam fines Lotteria store in capital over tainted drinks
A boy plays with his toys next to a plate of fast-food at a Lotteria store in Vietnam.

Two samples of drinks taken from a store under South Korean fast-food chain Lotteria in Hanoi have been found to be contaminated, with the restaurateur required to pay VND4 million (US$186) in fines, according to the Vietnam Food Administration (VFA).

The Hanoi unit of the VFA collected four samples of food and beverage at the Lotteria store on Nui Truc Street in Ba Dinh District on December 23, following complaints from local customers that the place serves unhygienic food, the administration said Wednesday.

Test results found that the lemon tea sample was tainted with coliform, whereas the cacao milk had an excessive amount of enterobacteriaceae. Both of the bacteria could cause diarrhea, according to the VFA.

The food safety watchdog thus levied administrative penalties totaling VND4 million on the store for selling substandard food.

The lemon tea and cacao milk were still available at Nui Truc Lotteria normally on Thursday, one day after the store was penalized, according to newswire Kien Thuc (Knowledge).

The drinks are especially preferred by young customers, the Hanoi-based news site said.

The store attendants told Kien Thuc they had no idea about the issue as they “have not been informed by the managers,” so the products were on sale as normal.

“I was wondering if the products are safe to drink or not,” a 25-year-old customer was quoted as saying. “I’m also concerned that the attendants are in the dark about such a big issue.”

Lotteria, a subsidiary of multinational food and shopping corporation Lotte Co. Ltd., was founded in February 1972 in Tokyo by Korean entrepreneur Shin Jun Ho. The franchise is now present in China, Myanmar, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Its menu includes typical fast-food items such as burgers, French fries, fried chicken, chicken wings, and chicken fingers.

Lotteria has expanded across Vietnam, with 92 stores in Ho Chi Minh City and 41 in Hanoi, according to its website.

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