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Dublin: 0 °C Wednesday 21 March, 2018

A live insect, human nail and cigarette butt just some of the things found in food last year

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland received over 3,200 complaints last year.

Image: Shutterstock/Joshua Resnick

A LIVE INSECT found in a packaged dessert, a human nail in a takeaway and a cigarette butt in a bag of chips – these were just some of the complaints received by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland last year.

The FSAI Advice Line received 3,202 complaints in 2016, a 17% increase on the year previous when 2,739 complaints were received.

Other complaints regarding poor hygiene standards referred to dirty customer toilets, rats seen on the premises and one case of a staff member at a deli sneezing into their hands before preparing sandwiches without washing their hands.


Consumer complaints ranged from reports of food unfit to eat, to non-display of allergen information:

  • 1,126 complaints on unfit food
  • 864 complaints on hygiene standards
  • 741 complaints on suspect food poisoning
  • 221 complaints on incorrect information on food labelling
  • 60 complaints on non-display of allergen information
  • 190 other

The number of complaints about food poisoning were up considerably at 45%.

Poor hygiene standards were the second highest reported (up 34% from 2015), while complaints about incorrect information on food labelling were up 15%.

Information Manager with the FSAI Edel Smyth said, “As consumers in Ireland become more vocal about the standards they expect from food establishments, we are seeing a welcomed increase in the level of complaints we receive directly from consumers.

“We continue to encourage anyone who has had a bad food safety experience to report the matter to the FSAI so that the issue can be dealt with.”

All complaints received by the FSAI were followed up and investigated by enforcement officers throughout the country.

The FSAI Advice Line is manned by trained advisors and food scientists and can be reached at or through the ‘make a complaint’ section of the FSAI website.

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