The carcass of “an unknown dead animal,” rat droppings and cockroaches were among the reasons behind enforcement orders issued to Irish food businesses last month.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said pests and a lack of basic hygiene were among the recurring issues in Irish food businesses that resulted in 59 enforcement orders being served throughout 2021.
In December, the FSAI reported that two closure orders and three prohibition orders were served on food businesses.
The reasons for the orders include the carcass of “an unknown dead animal” found on the floor of a waste and food storage room, rat droppings observed under waste bins, live cockroaches found in a premises and a significant rodent infestation.
Others include uncovered and overflowing bin full of dirty food packaging and food waste; encrusted food and grease on cooking equipment surfaces, handles and shelving; and inadequately cleaned food and waste storage rooms.
One closure order was served under the FSAI Act, 1998 on Express Fish and Chips at 39 Abbey Road, Kill of the Grange, Monkstown, Co Dublin.
Another was served for breaches of food safety legislation under European Union regulations on the DFC Take Away at 82b Dorset Street Lower, Dublin 1.
One prohibition order was served under the FSAI Act, 1998 on Ballinwillin Hous, a small meat manufacturing plant in Mitchelstown, Cork.
Two more prohibition orders were served under EU regulations on Pinoy Sari, Sari Store Limited, 25/26 Mary Street Little, Dublin 7 and on Healing with Hemp, T/A Kama Hemp, Burdautien, Clones, Monaghan.
The FSAI also said a closure order had been served in November 2021 under EU regulations to Healing with Hemp, Trading as Kama Hemp, which had been subject to an appeal to the District Court which was subsequently withdrawn.
The FSAI has ordered all activities of the food business, its establishments, holdings or other premises and the internet sites and social media sites operated by food business be ceased for the purpose of placing food on the market.
Recurring food safety issues identified in 2021 include evidence of pest activity and infestation, poor knowledge of basic food safety and hygiene rules, inadequate facilities for staff hygiene and cleaning within the food business, and inadequate temperature control in the storage and preparation of food.
The FSAI said the 59 enforcement orders served on businesses for breaches in food safety legislation in 2021 was an increase of 40 per cent, compared to the 42 orders served in 2020.
The increase largely reflects the reopening of many food businesses following long periods of temporary closures in 2020 due to the impact of Covid-19, the FSAI said.
The orders issued last year to businesses throughout the country by environmental health officers in the HSE, veterinary inspectors in the local authorities and officers of the FSAI include 47 closure orders, two improvement orders and 10 prohibition orders.
There is absolutely no excuse for negligent food practices at any time
Dr Pamela Byrne, chief executive of the FSAI, said many of the reasons behind the enforcement orders “concern the basic requirements for food safety and hygiene and should not be happening in any food business.”
“There is absolutely no excuse for negligent food practices at any time. Enforcement orders are served on food businesses only when a serious risk to consumer health has been established or where there are a number of ongoing serious breaches of food legislation,” she said.
“All food businesses must recognise that they are legally bound to ensure that the food they produce is safe to eat and that they implement and support a strong food safety culture, within the business.
“Consumers have a right to safe food. Non-compliance by food businesses will not be tolerated and all breaches of food safety legislation will be dealt with the full extent of the law.”