A build-up of food debris; rodent droppings observed under shelving; and no labelling of animal-origin foodstuffs were just some of the reasons for enforcement orders being served on food businesses last month.

According to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), it served six enforcement orders, including five closure orders and one prohibition order, for breaches of food-safety legislation in January 2022.

One closure order was served under the FSAI Act, 1998 on Treacys Hotel – the main kitchen and upstairs ancillary storage areas and staff facilities – located on The Quay, in Waterford.

Four closure orders were served under the European Union (Official Controls in Relation to Food Legislation) Regulations, 2020 on:

  • Feng Yuan Meats, rear of 8 Meath Street, Dublin 8;
  • Hu Botanicals Ltd (all of the business, its establishments, holdings or other premises – including Aughadreena, Stradone, Co. Cavan – and all social media platforms operated by or on behalf of Hu Botanicals Ltd.), out offices, Balsoon Bective, Navan, Meath;
  • Kiely’s Centra, Rosslare Road, Killinick, Wexford;
  • Café India, Patrick’s Court, Patrick’s Street, Tullamore, Offaly.

And, one prohibition order was served under the FSAI Act, 1998 on Olivia’s Food, 380 South Circular, Dublin 8.

Foodstuffs of animal origin

In the case of Feng Yuan Meats, the FSAI’s enforcement order stated that on the day of inspection, the FSAI authorised officer found evidence of “preparation and handling of foodstuffs of animal origin”.

Four boxes of processed meat consisting of chuck beef, which had been sliced on site, were found, as well as several open bags of pork leg bones and chicken bones.

It continued:

The food business operator did not have in place systems and procedures which allow for traceability information to be made available to the competent authorities on demand.

There were four boxes of chuck beef found which had no labelling and there were also several bags of pork leg bones and chicken bones with no labelling. The food business operator was not able to make available adequate information and/or documentation to establish the supplier of the meats and the basic traceability information.

“In the absence of appropriate traceability, it cannot be established whether the foods have been produced in accordance with applicable food law and there is an increased risk that unsafe food may be placed on the market.”

The order also stated that the establishment being used by this food-business operator had not been approved by the competent authority for the activities taking place, specifically the preparation and handling of foodstuffs of animal origin.

In addition to the conditions detected by the FSAI outlined above, it also observed in other food-business premises:

  • Exposed piping and rotten wood in male staff facilities;
  • Evidence that cleaning and disinfection was not taking place at a frequency sufficient to avoid any risk of contamination;
  • Dried food and dirt encrusted onto food storage containers and equipment in which food was stored;
  • Shelving on which food and food preparation equipment is stored was encrusted with dirt and grease;
  • No labelling on pre-prepared food in refrigerated storage or on foods in frozen storage;
  • An absence of systems and procedures which allow for traceability;
  • Frozen meals with high-risk ingredients were being produced on site, but were not held at the correct temperature.

Commenting, chief executive, FSAI, Dr. Pamela Byrne, warned that the legal onus is on food businesses to ensure they fully comply with food-safety legislation at all times.

 “It is unacceptable that we continue to find non-compliance with food safety legislation.

“Food-business operators who do not fulfil their legal obligations to ensure food safety and hygiene are, potentially, putting their customer’s health at risk.

Enforcement orders – especially closure orders and prohibition orders – are served on food businesses only when a serious risk to consumer health has been identified or where there are a number of ongoing serious breaches of food legislation.

“The orders are not served for minor breaches,” said Dr. Byrne.

She stated that that extensive resources are available to assist businesses in complying with their obligations around food safety.

She urged businesses to take full advantage of the information and support provided by the inspectorate and the FSAI to ensure that they have the correct food-safety management systems in place.

Full details of the enforcement orders can be found here