31 closure orders and 9 prohibition orders served on Irish food businesses in 2020
Evidence of rodent infestations and the presence of cockroaches were amongst the reasons for the orders being served.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has revealed that 42 enforcement orders were served on Irish food businesses for breaches of food safety legislation in 2020.
In total, between 1 January and 31 December 2020, 31 closure orders, nine prohibition orders and two improvement orders were issued by environmental health officers in the HSE, veterinary inspectors in the local authorities and FSAI officers on food businesses throughout the country.
It is a 67% drop on the 125 enforcement orders served in 2019, a decrease the FSAI attributes to the massive impact of Covid-19 on the food service industry and not necessarily an improvement in food safety practices.
Recurring food safety issues that led to enforcement orders last year, the FSAI said, included filthy conditions, evidence of rodent infestations and rodent droppings and the presence of cockroaches.
Failure to maintain temperatures of foodstuffs, unsuitable food storage facilities and improper or lack of water facilities were also causes for enforcement orders to be served.
Details of the enforcement orders and affected food businesses can be found here.
A single closure order was issued by the HSE in December for breaches of food safety legislation, pursuant to the FSAI Act, 1998 on:
- Hayloft Bar (Closed area: the kitchen service area) (Public House), Bridge Street, Farnbeg, Strokestown, Roscommon
Commenting on the annual figures, Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive of the FSAI, stressed the serious nature of a food business being served an enforcement order.
“While in a normal year it would be very encouraging to see such a substantial drop in the need for enforcement orders, in 2020, however, it is likely that most of the reduction reflects the temporary closure of food businesses for many months due to Covid-19 restrictions,” Byrne said.
“Notwithstanding this, 42 enforcement orders are still too many, as it shows that, unfortunately, there continues to be a minority of food businesses not complying with their legal requirements.
“All food businesses must recognise that they are legally bound to ensure that the food they produce is safe to eat.
Consumers have a right to safe food. Food businesses must comply with food law and all breaches of food safety legislation will be dealt with to the full extent of the law.”