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Tbilisi McDonald’s says test that found contaminated food not credible

By Temuri Kiguradze
Friday, July 25
McDonald’s management say privately-commissioned testing which found contaminated food at a Tbilisi outlet last month was done improperly.

Fifteen students fell ill after eating at a McDonald’s in Tbilisi’s Saburtalo district, leading Georgian television station Rustavi 2 reported on July 22. After some were taken to the hospital, a family member asked the private laboratory Multitest to test the food for contaminants.

Multitest said its first test on hamburgers and salads, on June 26, found salmonella and other dangerous bacteria. A spokeswoman for the laboratory said McDonald’s management was notified. A follow-up test on July 6 found nothing wrong.

The executive director of McDonald’s restaurants in Tbilisi, Tengiz Kapanadze, said the Multitest examination was not credible.

“The tests were conducted without any representatives from the company [McDonald’s] or the state laboratory and we are not sure of the quality of the tests,” he said.

Founded in 2004, Multitest is one of two laboratories the Georgian government uses to test food and beverages destined for export.

Kapanadze said the food samples were not put in sealed containers before leaving the restaurant. The McDonald’s executive director says his restaurants and food pass multiple checks from the country of origin to Tbilisi.

“Once every three months our production is checked by the Association of Independent Experts of Georgia. Apart from this, we conduct our internal quality tests,” he said.