Companies rapped over food hygiene07/08/2012 - 19:08:49
One of the highest number of enforcement orders in 10 years was dished out to cafes and restaurants last month, new figures have revealed.
Twelve companies were hit with closure orders after being found with such poor food safety and hygiene standards they were deemed to be of grave or immediate danger to the public.
On top of that, one cash-and-carry was served with a prohibition order, meaning it was banned from selling food found to have been dangerous to consumers.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said the 13 orders represented a fourfold increase from the previous year, making July one of the highest months ever for enforcements over the last decade.
Chief executive Professor Alan Reilly said the figures were “extremely disappointing”.
“(This) serves as a stark reminder that there continues to be food business operators who put consumers’ health at risk by not complying with their legal obligations for food safety and hygiene,” said Prof Reilly.
“Food business operators must recognise that the legal onus is on them to be responsible and ensure that the food they serve is safe to eat.”
He also warned that the FSAI would not hold back from taking action against food businesses that do not comply with food safety legislation.
He said last month’s enforcement orders should serve as a reminder of the need for rigorous compliance with food safety and hygiene standards.
Environmental health officers in the Health Service Executive and officers in the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority issued the orders to companies in breach of standards.
The 12 closure orders were served where officers found there had been a serious risk to public health on the premises.
They can result in either the immediate closure of the businesses or of some of their activities.
The companies targeted included cafes and restaurants in Cork, Dublin, Wicklow, Laois, Kerry, Limerick, Mayo and Clare.
The prohibition order was served to a cash-and-carry in Finglas, Dublin where sub-standard food was being sold.
The FSAI can also issue notices demanding companies that are found handling, selling or preparing below-standard food or working in poor conditions, must improve.
Improvement orders can then be issued by the District Court if an improvement notice is not complied with.
Closure orders and improvement orders are listed on the FSAI website for three months, while prohibition orders are listed for a month.