Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI)
is the Food Safety Authority?
Prompted by the
huge variety of food and food outlets now available in Ireland and the spread
of food-borne bugs like E-Coli and Salmonella, a Food Safety Authority was established
in Ireland in 1999.
The FSAI was set
up as a statutory, independent and science-based body, overseeing all functions
relating to the regulation of the food industry. This means they are established
to oversee the safety of food from farm to fork.
The Authority is
dedicated to protecting public health and consumer interests in the area of
food safety and hygiene. It comes under the aegis of the Minister for Health
and Children and currently has a five-member board. It also has a 15 member
Scientific Committee that assists and advises the Board. Therefore, decisions
relating to food safety and hygiene take account of the latest and best scientific
advice and information available.
Part of food safety
is informing the public about how to handle food properly. In July 2000 the
FSAI launched its first ever poster campaign. Designed around the slogan, 'Poor
Hygiene Dont Accept It', the campaign was aimed at the general
public. In the summer months, with the rise in temperatures, there is usually
an increase in food poisoning. By warning the public to be on the lookout for
poor hygiene in establishments that serve food and to complain about this, the
FSAI aims to reduce the level of food-related illness.
does the Authority do?
The most important
role of the Food Safety Authority is to ensure that food produced, distributed
or marketed in Ireland meets the highest standards of food safety and hygiene.
Obviously, this includes making sure that food complies with any legal requirements,
such as the marking and storage of beef, for example.
The Authority has
all the necessary powers to follow the food chain as far back as is necessary
in order to deal with any situation giving rise to concerns about the safety
and hygiene of food. Its officers have full powers to enter premises, seize
documents and samples, issue improvement notices and closure orders and to prohibit
the sale of food considered unfit for human consumption.
The FSAI also works
alongside the food industry, training professionals to improve, harmonise and
co-ordinate food safety and hygiene training throughout the country. The Authority
aims to educate those in the food industry and the general public about how
food should be handled, stored, transported and prepared.
The FSAI publishes
an annual report, which goes before each House of the Oireachtas. This is aimed
at creating a much greater degree of transparency and information about food
safety generally and the operation of the inspection system in particular.
The Authority does
not have any role in relation to the commercial developments in the food industry.
range of information and literature on all aspects of food safety is available
at the FSAIs Information Centre, Block
Abbey Street, Dublin
The Authority operates
a Food Safety Helpline on 1890 33 66 77 that provides information and advice
on all aspects of food safety.
also be obtained from RTE television on Aertel, page 667, or on the website
been food poisoned Can the FSAI help?
If you are ill
and suspect that this related to something you have eaten, you should attend
your GP, or in an emergency your local hospital A+E department.
If you were poisoned
by food that you were served or purchased in Ireland, then you should contact
the environmental officer of your local Health Board, who acts as an investigating
agent for the FSAI. The environmental officer will follow up any complaint made
about public food poisoning.
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