Snail in a chicken and caterpillar in pork chops among 3,460 issues raised by consumers to the FSAI in 2019 4 months ago

Snail in a chicken and caterpillar in pork chops among 3,460 issues raised by consumers to the FSAI in 2019

For those that love heading out for dinner...

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has revealed that over 3,460 consumer complaints were handled by their advice line in 2019, with over half of those relating to complaints of unfit food and poor hygiene standards.

Overall, the figure for 2019 represents an increase on the 3,424 complaints reported in 2018, with the number of reports relating to non-display of allergen information up significantly.

A noticeable increase was also noted among issues relating to poor hygiene standards and suspected food poisoning incidents too.

The FSAI noted an increase in the number of complaints from consumers in relation to inadequate pest control in food premises too. This has also been reflected in the total amount of Enforcement Orders issued in 2019.

Contamination of food with foreign objects was frequently reported by consumers too and in 2019, these reports included allegations of food containing insects, plastics and other foreign objects.

Elsewhere, hair being present in a number of foods was reported several times, as well as false nails, small pieces of stone, metal and plastic.

Other reports to the FSAI included the presence of a snail in a whole chicken, a caterpillar in pork chops, and a butterfly/moth in fresh cream.

Complaints regarding poor hygiene standards in food premises cited live mice and evidence of rodent activity throughout the food handling and storage areas. Elsewhere, staff failing to wash their hands when cooking and serving food, pigeons in the deli area, and flies noted throughout a premises noted too.

Here's a breakdown of the complaints that were registered to the FSAI in 2019:

  • 1,134 complaints on hygiene standards.
  • 1,082 complaints on unfit food.
  • 792 complaints on suspect food poisoning.
  • 149 complaints on incorrect information on food labelling.
  • 135 complaints on non-display of allergen information.
  • 113 other.

Speaking about this report, Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive FSAI, has commented: "Our advice line continues to be a valuable resource enabling consumers and food businesses to contact us with their complaints or queries around food safety. The figures from last year show that consumers too are becoming increasingly attentive as to how food establishments are expected to operate in terms of food safety in Ireland.

"By reporting their incidents around hygiene, labelling, food safety practices and pest control, members of the public and people working in the food sector provide us with the information we need to do our work effectively. In 2019, we noticed a significant increase in complaints around incorrect allergen information, which continues to be a concern to us.

"The importance of food businesses having correct allergen information displayed cannot be underestimated, as failures in this area can have serious consequences for the health of some consumers. It is also a legal requirement.”