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Rat droppings and overflowing toilets: FSAI enforcements rise in 2021, including two in December

The FSAI issued 59 enforcement orders in total last year.
Jan 11th 2022, 3:15 PM 41,405 0

THE NUMBER OF restaurants and takeaways which had a food safety enforcement order served against rose again last year following a sharp decline during 2020.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) issued 59 enforcement orders on businesses last year, up 17 from 2020 when the start of the Covid-19 pandemic led to a smaller number of enforcements.

It ordered premises to shut in 15 counties, with Dublin having the most, followed by Tipperary and Cork.

The reasons ranged from rodent, cockroach and fly infestations, as well as the discoveries of cat litter in food preparation areas, a dead bird in one premises, and an overflowing staff toilet in another.

The FSAI said that the increase in numbers largely reflects the reopening of many food businesses following temporary closures during 2020.

However, although the 59 enforcement orders issued last year were an increase on the 42 issued during 2020, the figure remains lower than in years before the pandemic.

The FSAI issued 124 enforcement for the whole of 2019; a further 66 were issued in 2018 and 62 in 2017.

Closure orders are a small fraction of the amount of the premises actually inspected, and the HSE (which holds the contract from the FSAI for inspecting public-facing businesses like restaurants) visits thousands of establishments annually.

Most of the closure and enforcement orders placed on businesses during 2021 have since been lifted. 

Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive of the FSAI, stressed the serious nature of a food business being served an enforcement order.

“Unfortunately, many of the reasons cited for enforcement orders concern the basic requirements for food safety and hygiene and should not be happening in any food business,” she said.

“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.”

Byrne added that consumers have a right to safe food, and that food businesses must recognise that they are legally bound to ensure that the food they produce is safe to eat.

A full list of FSAI enforcements which were served during 2021 can be read here.

December closures

It comes as the FSAI reports that two Closure Orders and three Prohibition Orders were served on food businesses during the month of December.

One order was served under the FSAI Act 1998 on Express Fish and Chips, 39 Abbey Road, Kill of the Grange, Monkstown, Co Dublin.

Inspectors found a “significant rodent infestation” on the premises and a large amount of rat droppings under waste bins ant throughout the waste and food storage room floors.

The carcass of an unknown dead animal was also found on the floor of the waste and food storage room.

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The closure order was put in place on 17 December and lifted four days later.

Another closure order was served under the European Union (Official Controls in Relation to Food Legislation) Regulations on DFC Take Away, 82b Dorset Street Lower, Dublin 1.

Live cockroaches were found in a cockroach bait trap in the premises, located behind a freezer inside the main preparation area where food is stored, handled, prepared and sold ready-to-eat.

Inspectors noted that the same problem during previous visits to the premises in June and August last year - the former resulting in an initial closure order under the FSAI Act 1998.

An uncovered and overflowing bin full of dirty food packaging and food waste was also noted. The order was served on 10 December and lifted again on 14 December.

One Prohibition Order was served under the FSAI Act 1998 on Ballinwillin House manufacturing plant in Mitchelstown, Cork.

Inspectors noted that the plant did not implement controls to verify compliance with food law at the establishment in relation to some products.

And two Prohibition Orders were served under the European Union (Official Controls in Relation to Food Legislation) Regulations 2020 on:

  • Pinoy Sari, Sari Store Limited, 25/26 Mary Street Little, Dublin 7
  • Healing with Hemp, T/A Kama Hemp, Burdautien, Clones, Monaghan.

Pinoy Sari was found to be selling a number of dessert products and a stew product which were deemed not to have adequate traceability documentation to verify their origin.

And Healing with Hemp was found to be storing products in areas that were deemed not to be in clean condition or good repair.

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