Thirty-nine food alerts were issued by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) last year - the highest number in 10 years.
The FSAI is responsible for regulating the food industry and according to its Annual Report 2016, these alerts resulted in products being recalled or withdrawn from the Irish market for a variety of reasons, including the presence of foreign bodies and chemical contamination.
Meanwhile, 38 food allergen alerts were issued due to incorrectly labelled or declared products. Milk, soybeans, eggs and nuts were the most common allergens in this group.
A total of 106 enforcement orders were served on food businesses last year for breaches in food safety legislation. Some 94 of these were closure orders, which are only issued when there is, or is likely to be, a ‘grave and immediate danger to public health at/in a food premises'.
The report also revealed that the FSAI's advice line handled 10,497 queries during 2016. Of these, 3,202 were complaints by consumers about food, food premises and/or food labelling.
The report also noted that 2,625 food supplements were assessed for safety and health claims.
Speaking about the work of the FSAI, its CEO, Dr Pamela Byrne, said that the authority aims to ‘continually ensure safe and trustworthy food for everyone'.
"We seek to focus on protecting consumers through leading a collaborative food safety community to continuously raise food standards and create a culture of excellence in Ireland where the food industry not only complies with the regulations, but seeks to exceed standards," she commented.
For more information on the FSAI, click here