The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) today stated that 42 Enforcement Orders were served on food businesses for breaches in food safety legislation in 2020, a decrease of 67% in comparison to 125 Enforcement Orders served in 2019. The drop in numbers largely reflects the impact of COVID-19, where large numbers of food service businesses were temporarily closed for long periods throughout the year, and is not necessarily due to improved food safety practices. The FSAI reiterated the importance of robust food safety management systems and stressed that the legal responsibility lies with food businesses to ensure that the food they sell is compliant with food safety legislation and is safe to eat.
Between 1st January and 31st December 2020, 31 Closure Orders, 2 Improvement Orders and 9 Prohibition Orders were issued by environmental health officers in the Health Service Executive (HSE), veterinary inspectors in the local authorities and officers of the FSAI on food businesses throughout the country. The types of recurring food safety issues that led to Enforcement Orders in 2020 were: unregistered and unsupervised food businesses; filthy conditions; evidence of rodent infestations and rodent droppings; the presence of cockroaches; failure to maintain temperatures of foodstuffs; unsuitable food storage facilities; and improper or lack of water facilities.
Commenting on the annual figures, Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI stressed the serious nature of a food business being served an Enforcement Order.
While in a normal year it would be very encouraging to see such a substantial drop in the need for Enforcement Orders, in 2020, however it is likely that most of the reduction reflects the temporary closure of food businesses for many months due to COVID-19 restrictions. Notwithstanding this, 42 Enforcement Orders are still too many, as it shows that, unfortunately, there continues to be a minority of food businesses not complying with their legal requirements. All food businesses must recognise that they are legally bound to ensure that the food they produce is safe to eat. Consumers have a right to safe food. Food businesses must comply with food law and all breaches of food safety legislation will be dealt with to the full extent of the law, said Dr Byrne.
During the month of December 2020, a Closure Order was issued by the HSE for breaches of food safety legislation, pursuant to the FSAI Act, 1998 on:
- Hayloft Bar (Closed area: the kitchen service area) (Public House), Bridge Street, Farnbeg, Strokestown, Roscommon
The reason for the Closure Order on the pub in December include: there was no running hot or cold water at the staff toilet or the sinks in the food room for the cleaning of food, crockery and cutlery; and it did not have the necessary facilities in the food room to ensure that the food produced was protected against contamination.
Details of the food businesses served with Enforcement Orders are published on the FSAI’s website at www.fsai.ie. Closure Orders and Improvement Orders will remain listed on the website for a period of three months from the date of when a premises is adjudged to have corrected its food safety issue, with Prohibition Orders being listed for a period of one month.
Under the FSAI Act, 1998, a Closure Order is served where it is deemed that there is or there is likely to be a grave and immediate danger to public health at or in the premises; or where an Improvement Order is not complied with. Closure Orders can refer to the immediate closure of all or part of the food premises, or all or some of its activities.
An Improvement Order may be issued by the District Court if an Improvement Notice is not complied with within a defined period. Further non-compliance can result in a Closure Order also being served. An Improvement Notice is served when it is deemed that any activity involving the handling, preparation, etc. of food or the condition of a premises (or part thereof) is of such a nature that if it persists it will or is likely to pose a risk to public health. A Prohibition Order is issued if the activities (handling, processing, disposal, manufacturing, storage, distribution or selling food) involve or are likely to involve a serious risk to public health from a particular product, class, batch or item of food. The effect is to prohibit the sale of the product, either temporarily or permanently.
Under the European Union (Official Controls in Relation to Food Legislation) Regulations, 2020, Closure Orders and Prohibition Orders are served where there is a non-compliance with food legislation.
Closure Orders can refer to the immediate closure of all or part of the food premises, or all or some of its activities.
|Date Served||Date Lifted||Premises||Served On||Business Type||Issuing Agency||Legislation||Enforcement Order|
|11/12/2020||21/12/2020||Hayloft Bar (Closed area: the kitchen service area),|
Bridge Street, Farnbeg, Strokestown,
|Marlyin Kennedy||Public House||Health Service Executive||FSAI Act 1998|
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