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Dublin: 14 °C Sunday 26 May, 2019

Live insects, a tooth and a dead rodent: found in food here last year

The FSAI says complaints to its advice line increased by 13 per cent last year.

Image: anieto2k via Creative Commons

THE NUMBER of complaints handled by the Food Safety Authority‘s complaints line increased by 13 per cent last year as more people reported concerns over food and food establishments.

The FSAI says that a frequent complaint made throughout 2011 was the contamination of food by foreign objects including dead and live insects, pieces of metal, a plaster, a false nail, a tooth, and pieces of rubber tubing.

One complaint concerned the discovery of a small dead rodent in a bag of bananas, while another related to a nut, bolt and washer found in meatballs.

In total, the FSAI line received 11,166 queries for information and complaints. Of those calls, 2,415 were complaints which the FSAI categorises as follows:

  • 966 complaints of unfit food
  • 497 complaints of suspected food poisoning
  • 446 complaints about hygiene standards
  • 137 about incorrect food labelling
  • 37 about incorrect advertising of food products

The remaining 332 complaints were classified as ‘other’ by the FSAI, while other calls made to its advice line related to food labelling issues, information on food safety training, information on the legal requirements for starting a food business, and requests for FSAI reports.

The FSAI’s Edel Conway says that every complaint it received has been followed up and investigated by environmental health officers around the country.

She said that the level of calls received by the advice line show that “consumers are more vigilant than ever” and that they ”expect and are entitled to adequate standard of food hygiene in every food establishment and across every food product they purchase”.

“The potential health risks posed when poor food safety and hygiene standards are not met by food businesses can be serious, but are easily avoidable,” according to Conway. “Poor standards can be the result of a shoddy approach or ignorance where a food business has not made a priority to ensure they are following best practices to safeguard their customers’ health.”

“There is no excuse for a food business to have poor standards across any area of its production processes.”

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