Some 96 closure orders were served to food businesses in Ireland by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) last year.

This is a a 19% decrease on the number served in 2013 and the first decrease in these orders since 2007, it said.

Most closure orders were served in the service sector, which is expected as this is the largest category of food businesses, the FSAI said.

Overall, over 48,000 food businesses in Ireland were inspected last year by the official agencies, under service contract to the FSAI.

In 2014, about 92% of registered food businesses were inspected by the Health Service Executive; 5% by the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority; 2% by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and 1% by the local authorities.

Some 10,202 inspections were carried out on agricultural food businesses (meat processors, milk processors and egg processors) last year by the FSAI.

This figure was down on the number carried out in 2013, when 9,547 were carried out and since 2010 the number of inspections is down 23%.

The FSAI said that unannounced inspections in food businesses are a key element of the official controls as well as other activities such as food sampling and investigation of incidents and outbreaks.

FSAI Inspections by agencies

It also said that in recent years there has been a decline in the number of inspections with an increasing focus on more through audits of food safety management systems in larger food businesses and of establishments presenting higher risks to public health.

There are a wide range of activities carried out by these food businesses, the FSAI said from importation and manufacturing, through to distributing, retailing and catering operations.

In 2014, 152 meat processors, 401 egg producers and 242 milk processors were inspected.

FSAI inspected business' 10-14

Genetically Modified Food

The FSAI is the competent authority for genetically modified food in Ireland and with the assistance of external scientific experts, it reviewed applications for the approval of 12 genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for use as food and feed in the EU.

These were: GM Maize x 2 (NK603, T25), GM cotton x 3 (T304- 40, MON88913, LLcotton25xGHB614), Oilseed rape x 2 (GT73, MON88302), GM soyabean x 5 (MON87769, 305423, MON87705, BPS-CV127-9, MON 87708).

The conclusions of the FSAI’s reviews are relayed to the Department of Health, which is the competent authority for policy matters relating to genetically modified food and all samples analysed were found to be compliant with the relevant legislation.