A dead rodent found under a delicatessen counter and dirty cloths being used to clean food areas are just some of the reasons why 10 food businesses were closed down last month.
Enforcement orders are issued to food businesses which fail to maintain certain standards. The most serious of these - closure orders - are served where it is deemed that "there is or is likely to be a grave and immediate danger to public health at or in the premises".
According to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), 10 closure orders were served on businesses in September, including takeaway restaurants and retailers, for serious breaches of food safety legislation, along with one prohibition order.
Reasons for the closure orders included:
-A dead rodent under a delicatessen counter
-Evidence of rodent activity throughout food handling and storage areas
-Staff failing to wash hands throughout cooking and service
-Dirty cloths being used to clean food areas
-Foods being left sitting at room temperature from the previous evening, posing a threat to customers' health.
According to FSAI chief executive, Dr Pamela Byrne, the rate at which enforcement orders are required for rodent-related incidents and poor hygiene standards "is disconcerting".
"With 11 enforcement orders in September, it was disappointing to see a number of these relating to the presence of rodents in food premises and also a number where the hygiene standards were very poor.
"Food businesses must ensure that proper pest control systems are in place to ensure satisfactory hygiene standards. Incidents involving rodents in food preparation areas are not acceptable," she commented.
She emphasised that it is the responsibility of all food business operators to ensure that their premises are fully compliant with food safety legislation.
"Consumers need to have confidence that the food they purchase has been produced to the highest standards," Dr Byrne added.
Details of food businesses that have been served with enforcement orders are published on the FSAI's website here. Closure orders remain listed on the website for a period of three months from the date when a premises is adjudged to have corrected its food safety issue. Prohibition orders are listed for a period of one month.
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