Some 170 big-name coffee chain outlets have been found in violation of the food sanitation laws over the last four years, a lawmaker said Monday.
The office of Saenuri Party lawmaker Kim Hyun-sook analyzed data from 2010 to June 2013 and found that sanitation has not improved.
In 2010, 42 coffee shops were nabbed for substandard hygiene, 38 in 2011, 66 in 2012, and 24 between January and June this year.
Kim revealed the findings in a parliamentary audit of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
The worst offender was Tom N Toms with 44 outlets, followed by Caffé Bene (31), Hollys Coffee (24), Angel-in-Us Coffee (22), The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (13), Ediya (11), and Starbucks (8).
In 13 cases, outlets kept products past their expiry date to brew or sell. In nine cases, glass powder, steel scrubber fragments and a fingernail were found in the products.
Other coffee shops kept and sold products in an unsanitary environment, including spiderwebs and dust balls on walls and ceilings.
According to the Korea Customs Service, each Korean adult drank 293 cups of coffee on average last year.