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Number of unregistered food businesses investigated last year more than double 2019 figures

The FSAI said many unregistered businesses use social media platforms like Facebook to advertise their products.

THE FSAI LAST year investigated 47 unregistered food businesses, more than double the number investigated in 2019.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said the investigations related to a number of different food products including ready-to-eat sushi, meat and CBD.

Dr Pamela Byrne, the chief executive of the FSAI, said it is “very concerning” to see this increase in unregistered food businesses. 

“There is no doubt that Covid-19 has presented many challenges for the food industry and for people working in the sector, however, this does not change the legal requirements which are in place to protect consumer health,” Dr Byrne said. 

“Many of these unregistered food businesses are using social media platforms such as Facebook, Facebook Marketplace, Adverts.ie, DoneDeal and Instagram to advertise the sale and supply of their food products, and WhatsApp is also used by some for receiving orders.”

She said the FSAI and food inspectors continue to monitor these sites and “will take appropriate action” if any unregistered food businesses are found. 

The FSAI said the businesses under investigation were “operating illegally without the knowledge or supervision of the competent authorities”.

“Some of these food businesses were established in domestic kitchens or private dwellings with inadequate food safety processes, procedures and facilities in place, as a result of the temporary closure of the food business in which the people were employed due to the COVID-19 restrictions.”

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Under law, all food businesses must be notified to the relevant authority prior to it operating. 

After each investigation, the FSAI can take appropriate enforcement action if required. 

Last year, five closure orders, five compliance notices and three prohibition orders were served on unregistered/unapproved food businesses. 

Two warrants were also obtained to gain access to unregistered food businesses running from domestic dwellings.

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