Almost 100 Enforcement Orders served on Food Businesses in 2023
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has stated that 92 Enforcement Orders were served on food businesses for breaches of food safety legislation in 2023, an increase of 19% from the 77 that were served in 2022. Announcing the figures today, the FSAI, expressed disappointment at the increase, and reminded food businesses to train staff appropriately to produce, serve and sell food in accordance with food safety legislation, and to ensure that premises are fully suitable for safe food production and storage.
Between 1 January and 31 December 2023, 76 Closure Orders, 3 Improvement Orders and 13 Prohibition Orders were served on food businesses. A total of 6 prosecutions were also taken. These enforcement actions were led by Environmental Health Officers in the HSE, local authority veterinary inspectors, sea-fisheries protection officers in the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority and officers of the FSAI. Recurring issues of food safety negligence identified in food businesses resulted in the Enforcement Orders being issued, including inadequate food storage with the risk of contamination; a lack of pest control procedures such as monitoring and pest proofing; inadequate temperature control in food storage, preparation and distribution; and insufficient staff training in food safety, personal hygiene and record keeping.
Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI, expressed that she had hoped to see a reduction in the number of Enforcement Orders needing to be served in 2023. Disappointingly, this was not the case.
“As a result of the inspections carried out by Environmental Health Officers, local authority veterinary inspectors, sea-fisheries protection officers and FSAI officers, a total of 92 food businesses were served with legal orders for breaches of food safety law in 2023. While each of these Enforcement Orders was necessary for the protection of consumer health in relation to food safety, we should not be seeing such breaches of food law occurring in food businesses at all.”
“Enforcement Orders are served on food businesses only when a risk to consumer health has been identified, or where there are a number of ongoing breaches of food legislation. It is a legal obligation for food businesses to ensure that they are proactive in adhering to food safety regulations. Each month, food safety inspectors find similar, basic and fundamental breaches of food law, which are unacceptable. As we enter 2024, we urge food businesses to always prioritise and promote a culture of food safety in their businesses.”
The FSAI today also reported that four Closure Orders and one Prohibition Order were served on food businesses during the month of December 2023 for breaches of food safety legislation, pursuant to the FSAI Act, 1998 and the European Union (Official Controls in Relation to Food Legislation) Regulations, 2020. The Enforcement Orders were issued by Environmental Health Officers in the Health Service Executive.
Two Closure Orders were served under the FSAI Act, 1998 on:
- Sausage Paradise (butcher shop), Pound Street, Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon
- Padoca (restaurant/café), 64 Capel Street, Dublin 1
Two Closure Orders were served under the European Union (Official Controls in Relation to Food Legislation) Regulations, 2020 on:
- Duck (restaurant/café), 15 Fade Street, Dublin 2
- Golden Phoenix Chinese Restaurant, Main Street, Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath
One Prohibition Order was served under the FSAI Act, 1998 on:
- The Arch Bar, Main Street, Swords, Co. Dublin
Some of the reasons for the Enforcement Orders in December include: blood from raw ducks dripping onto ingredient bags and containers, with water and blood-soaked cloths left on food preparation surfaces; flies observed on both raw ducks and equipment, with whole raw ducks submerged in water in both meat and vegetable sinks; floor, walls, shelves, equipment and staff uniforms contaminated with water and blood from the sink; visible mould growth on many structural and food contact surfaces, indicating an absence of adequate cleaning and disinfection; ongoing cockroach infestation evident in food preparation areas such as under fryer and in the fridge, with open high risk foods present in the infested areas; absence of hand washing facilities in stations where raw meat is handled, along with absence of a probe thermometer and no evidence of temperature monitoring; gaps in the external walls of the building and holes in the ceiling, posing a risk of entry by pests.
Details of the food businesses served with Enforcement Orders are published on the FSAI’s website at www.fsai.ie. Closure Orders and Improvement Orders will remain listed in the enforcement reports on the website for a period of three months from the date of when a premises is adjudged to have corrected its food safety issue, with Prohibition Orders being listed for a period of one month from the date the order was lifted.