A meat manufacturing plant was among four businesses to be issued with a closure order by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) during the month of October, the authority has confirmed.

The plant closure order was among 17 enforcement orders issued by the FSAI during the month of October, impacting on restaurants, take aways, retailers and other businesses.

The Whole Hoggs, a small meat manufacturing plant based in Rathmaiden, Slane, Co. Meath, was issued with the order on October 16, with three reasons given.

The reasons were:
  1. “There were inadequate arrangements for prevention and control of pest activity”;
  2. “Food and material used for wrapping and packaging foods were not effectively protected against contamination”; and
  3. “There as a poor standard of cleaning and disinfection and certain pieces of equipment which come into contact with food were not maintained in good repair resulting in increased risk of food contamination”.

Under the first reason, it was recorded that the construction of the premises “did not permit pest control”, specifically highlighting a 3cm by 5cm gap to the base of the entrance door.

In addition, “mouse faeces were noted throughout the establishment” as well as under the chest freezer, the vacuum packing machine and other areas.

For the second reason, it was said that “food wrapping and packaging material was being stored in close proximity to rodent {mouse) faeces”.

In addition, “porcine half-carcasses with visible external contamination had been accepted onto the premises. It is understood that the meat from these carcasses is used as raw material in the production of ready-to-eat foods such as salami and chorizo,” the order noted, among other reasons.

The third point referenced, among other factors that the “interior of the mincing machine, which is used to mince meat used in the production of ready-to-eat meat products, was visibly rusted and dirty internally”.

Commenting today, Friday, October 8, Dr. Pamela Byrne, chief executive of FSAI, reiterated the need for food businesses to have adequate pest control systems in place and added businesses must operate strict food safety procedures at all times and that they need to be extra vigilant during this busy time of year.

17 enforcement orders in one month is the highest in a month to date this year and this is an unacceptable number.

“As in recent months, a high number of the enforcement orders were associated with issues related to pests and failures in basic staff training.

“These issues are all preventable and food businesses must ensure that they always adhere to a high standard of food safety and hygiene,” Dr. Byrne said.