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Food Safety

'There was prolific evidence of rodent droppings': Three food outlets closed in November

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland served closure orders on three outlets affected by rodent infestation.

THE FOOD SAFETY Authority of Ireland (FSAI) served three closure orders to food businesses in November for breaches of food safety legislation.

The three orders were served, under the FSAI Act 1998, to:

  • Iceland Stores Ireland Limited (retailer), Unit 1, Gorey Retail Park, Courtown Road, Gorey, Wexford
  • Canteen operated by Get Fresh (Vending) Ltd, T/A Get Fresh Catering (Closed Area: Dining area, front servery, rear wash up/dry goods store and rear food preparation room), Beaufort College, Trim Road, Navan, Co Meath
  • AD Cash and Carry (Wholesaler/ Distributor), Unit 3/4, St. James Industrial Park, Kylemore Way, Inchicore, Dublin 8

The enforcement orders were issued by environmental health officers from the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The order relating to the Iceland store states: “There was prolific evidence of rodent droppings observed on and below shelving where foodstuffs i.e. crisps and biscuits were stored in the shop floor area.

There was evidence of gnawing to the packaging of numerous multi-pack packets of crisps on the shelving for sale in the shop floor area. Pieces of gnawed crisps packaging were observed amongst rodent droppings on the shelving in the shop floor area. There was evidence of gnawing to numerous individual packets of crisps within multi-packs of crisps for sale.

“Upon further examination, rodent droppings were observed within the packaging of the multi-packs of crisps and within the individual packets of crisps in the multi-packs.”

The order on the Get Fresh canteen notes: “Adequate procedures to control pests are not in place. There is a current heavy mouse infestation in the canteen.

“A significant amount of fresh mouse droppings were found on food contact surfaces, on food equipment, on cleaning equipment, on food packaging and on crockery. Evidence of gnawing was found on food packaging. This is likely to lead to a grave and immediate danger to public health.”

The AD Cash and Carry order states: “A significant number of rodent droppings were found throughout the premises.”

Busy Christmas period

Commenting on the closures, Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive of the FSAI, said food businesses must prioritise food safety, particularly in the lead up to Christmas.

“The three closure orders in November cited inadequate procedures in pest control which resulted in evidence of rodents in all three premises. This is not acceptable in any food business at any time, as it poses a serious risk to public health. Food businesses need to ensure that their premises has the right food safety management procedures in place to ensure pest control at all times.”

Also, with the busy Christmas season well underway, food businesses must ensure that they can cope with the extra customer demand and must recognise the main food safety risk factors that can cause foodborne illness and are easily preventable.

“For example: poor hygiene in food premises; inadequate refrigeration; inadequate cooking or reheating; cross-contamination from raw to cooked food; contaminated raw ingredients; inadequately trained or supervised staff,” Byrne added.

Details of the food businesses served with enforcement orders are published on the FSAI’s website. Closure orders and improvement orders remain listed on the site for a period of three months from the date of when an outlet is judged to have corrected its food safety issue, with prohibition orders being listed for one month.

Read: Does Irish Water have your correct details? At least 19,000 customers need to get in touch so they can get their refund

Read: Rusty tables, foul smells and no privacy: Nursing home ordered to improve after concerning inspection

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