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Food Safety

Dead rodents and 'gnawed' potatoes: Seven food businesses were hit with closure orders last month

Several of the closure orders refer to significant rodent infestations.

SEVEN FOOD BUSINESSES were hit with closure orders last month, according to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

Four closure orders were served under the FSAI Act, 1998 on:

  • OPTP Eatery Limited, The Cross Knocklong, Limerick.
  • IrEntertainment Limited, 106 Lagan Road, Dublin industrial Estate, Dublin 11.
  • Press Up Eats, 4-5 South Main Street, Cork.
  • Asian Food Babak, Unit 5A, Park Road Business Park Park Road, Waterford.

OPTP Eatery Limited in Limerick was ordered to close because an inspection found that adequate pest control procedures were not in place, resulting in a “grave and immediate danger” to public health.

The inspector said there was “extensive rodent activity” in a storage and potato chipping area. Rat droppings were also found under a pallet storing large bags of potatoes.

The report also mentioned that a loose potato was seen on the floor and “it had been gnawed”.

Asian Food Babak in Waterford was ordered to close due to inadequate pest control measures and evidence of rodent infestation.

The report notes that a glue trap containing a dead rodent was found on a box of crisps on the shop floor.

Rodent droppings were found in various areas throughout the shop including under packets of Vermicelli noodles, under containers of dried mint and mixed pickle and in presses in the staff canteen.

The inspector said that the mesh on the flyscreen door was torn and there was no pest control programme in place.

“A grave and immediate danger to public health exists because rodents can transmit harmful pathogens to foodstuffs and food packaging through their droppings and urine resulting in an unacceptable risk to public health,” the report said.

The closure order on IrEntertainment Limited in Dublin 11 said it failed to failed to notify the HSE that it was carrying out a food business.

It noted that the layout, design and construction of the premises did not permit cleaning or disinfection or provide adequate space for hygenic performance.

The inspector found that large volumes of high risk foods, including prawns and duck, were stored at ambient temperatures. There was also no hot water to ensure hygenic operations.

The closure order issued to Press Up Eats on South Main Street in Cork said mice droppings were noted at wall and floor junctions throughout the kitchen as well as under fridges, shelving and cooking equipment.

Droppings were also found in a container which was storing cleaning equipment and in the motors of fridges.

The inspector also noted evidence of pest nesting and “significant accumulations of mice droppings” in the kitchen next to the wash hand basin.

Three other closure orders were served under the European Union (Official Controls in Relation to Food Legislation) Regulations, 2020 on:

  • Remedy Health, Pembroke Hall, 27 Mount Street Upper, Dublin 2, D02 F890.
  • Indias Taste, Bridgewater Hall 17-19 Summerhill Parade, Dublin 1, D01 XC78.
  • Allta at Liffey Trust Centre, 117-126 Sheriff Street Upper, Dublin 1.

The closure order on Indias Taste in Dublin 1 listed 15 different points of non-compliance including dirty cleaning equipment stored in an unhygienic manner in the premises.

There were mops and a bucket full of dirty water left in the kitchen alongside a large delivery of food.

There was also mouldy, unclean dish-clothes stored inside an old food tin full of dirty water on the same sink where food was being prepared.

The inspector said “the standard of cleanliness in the kitchen was very poor”. Issues that had been noted during an inspection in November 2020 had not been addressed.

There were no suitable means for washing and disinfecting cooking equipment in the premises.

A double sink assigned to wash equipment was inaccessible as it was being used for food preparation and a sink designated for vegetable preparation was being used to store large pots and pans.

Allta at Liffey Trust Centre on Sheriff Street in Dublin 1 was ordered to close for four contraventions of food safety legislation including serving unfit food, and food safety training failures.

The investigator noted that a vacuum packer was being used for both raw and cooked food, leading to likely contamination of foods with pathogenic bacteria rendering the food unfit.

The report said there was no evidence of an appropriate food safety culture within the food business, or commitment by management to the safe production of food.

It also said there was no evidence that the operator had identified relevant food safety hazards including the potential growth of pathogenic microorganisms or formation of toxins during the fermentation process.

The partial closure on Remedy Health in Dublin 2 was made after analysis of samples of food supplements found that the concentrations of CBD declared on the product labels was misleading.

It directed that the company cease all processing, marketing, sale and supply of Cannabidiol (CBD) food products that were produced at at a business park in Youghal, Co. Cork.

It also ordered it do cease using internet and social media sites for the marketing, sale and supply of CBD products produced at the same location in Cork.

Dr Pamela Byrne of the FSAI today issued a reminder to businesses that ensuring food safety practices are being followed is a legal requirement.

“It is simply not good enough that there continues to be such grave and serious disregard of basic food safety procedures.

“The Enforcement Orders in March show that some businesses are failing to comply with safe food practices that are in place to protect consumers’ health,” she said.

Byrne noted that several of the closure orders refer to significant rodent infestations.

“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 they have a strong food safety culture, including correct food safety management procedures in place to ensure pest control and best hygiene practice at all times. Consumers have a right to safe food,” Dr Byrne said.

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