Rodent droppings and hygiene issues behind food business closures last month

Michael Bolton

Rodent droppings and perishable food stored in a non-operating freezer were just some of the reasons that food business closures were issued by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) last month.

The enforcement orders were issued by environmental health officers in the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Two closure orders were served under the FSAI Act to F Herterich’s Pork Butchers on Lombard Street, Galway, and the external food area room in O'Briens Gala in Ennis, Clare.

One closure order was served under the EU regulations on Golden Place on Swords Road, Whitehall, Dublin 9.

One prohibition order was served on a retailer called Mercury based on Park Road, Waterford.

Some of the reasons for the closures were raw fish stored in a non-food grade cardboard box; rodent droppings present throughout the premises and food-storage areas; a large amount of perishable food stored in a non-operating freezer; raw meat being prepared in a sink used to wash hands, food and equipment.

Other examples include failure to wash hands before or after the handling of raw meat, absence of traceability records or information available for food products, a large build-up of grease under and at the sides of food preparation equipment, a refrigerator kept in an unclean and greasy condition; and non-operating and non-calibrated probes for checking food temperatures.

Dr Pamela Byrne, chief executive of FSAI, stressed the importance of complying with food safety legal requirements.

“In January, there continued to be a number of food businesses who failed to ensure appropriate food safety management systems were in place and operating correctly. It is a legal requirement that all food businesses take responsibility in ensuring their premises are maintained to the standard required by Irish food law.

"Food safety requirements are put in place to protect the health of consumers. Consumers have a right to safe food. By failing to keep reasonable food safety and hygiene standards in place, a business not only poses a risk to the health of their customers, but also to their own reputation as a trustworthy and safe food business,”