Illegal Louth slaughterhouse a ‘grave danger to public health’

A slaughter house that was operating without approval in Co. Louth was described as “a grave and immediate danger to public health”.

The premises in question, located in Corcreaghy, Carrickmacross, Co. Louth, was served with a closure notice for both a slaughterhouse and a cutting plant by Louth County Council in April, according to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

Subject to appeal until now, the orders were recently released to the public by the FSAI.

The establishment was operating as a meat cutting plant, also producing meat preparation and meat products, “without approval from the competent authority and as such was not subject to the required official controls to verify compliance with food law”, according to the closure order issued.

The closure order referred to animal sheds which were used as a slaughterhouse, and a building at the rear of a domestic dwelling which was a makeshift cutting plant.

The officer issuing the closure order found “four unidentified sheep of unknown origin and unknown health status, without required food chain information were on the premises”.

The slaughter house and cutting plant were both found wanting in a number of aspects, according to the county council officer, as listed below.

  • The design and construction of the premises failed to permit adequate maintenance,
    cleaning and disinfection and failed to permit good food hygiene practices, including
    protection against contamination;
  • There was no cold or hot running water available for the purposes of hand washing,
    or cleaning and disinfection;
  • There were no hand washing facilities available;
  • There were no facilities available for disinfecting tools (with hot water supplied at
    not less than 82° and/or alternative system) as required;
  • There was a very poor standard of cleaning and sanitation throughout the premises.
The officer in question noted in particular a wood chopping board ingrained with dirt and food debris, while a band saw and meat slicer were also found in a filthy condition, ingrained with dirt and food debris.

The overall condition of the premises and manner of operation “poses a serious risk of food contamination and presented a grave and immediate danger to public health”, the officer concluded.