INCHEON (Reuters) – South Korea’s Food and Drug Safety Ministry has found salmonella and other potentially dangerous bacteria in lunchboxes prepared for athletes and staff at the Asian Games, prompting organisers to dispose of the stock and change supplier.
A ministry official told Reuters by telephone that salmonella had been found in a meat dish on Sunday and that the lunchboxes destined for athletes in Incheon had been ditched.
“We check dish by dish,” said the official, adding that the lunchboxes were checked at the supplier and never made it to the Games. “There were 76 boxes and we’ve disposed of them all.
“The lunches were never delivered to the athletes. The check-up was done before delivery.”
Another form of bacteria, colon bacillus, had been found on Friday in lunchboxes earmarked for Asian Games staff, the official added.
Both bacteria can cause diarrhoea, fever, vomiting and other ailments.
An Incheon organising committee (IAGOC) official said they were taking no chances when it came to athlete safety.
“For the Asian Games it’s a rule to scrap all the food once salmonella is found, even when it’s a tiny amount,” he told Reuters. “We threw them away and changed the supplier.”
While the Games have gone off without any major problems, there have been some early glitches.
The flame at the main stadium — one of the most iconic symbols of Olympic and Asian Games — went out for about 10 minutes on the first day of competition and had to be re-lit.
Several badminton players have also complained about the lighting at the stadium, while many others had to contend with no light at all when the power went out.
Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei, the world’s number one player, said the lighting at the Gyeyang Gymnasium was too bright.
“Normally there are only lights side to side (at either end), but here you have them all around so you are looking into the light. I think it’s tough for all the players,” he said.