The month of February saw the Food Safety Authority of Ireland taking significant action against food businesses across the country, with ten Closure Orders issued due to breaches of food safety legislation. These orders, mandated by the FSAI Act, 1998, and the European Union (Official Controls in Relation to Food Legislation) Regulations, 2020, were enforced by Environmental Health Officers from the Health Service Executive.

Five Closure Orders were served under the FSAI Act, 1998, while an additional five were issued under the European Union (Official Controls in Relation to Food Legislation) Regulations, 2020.

The reasons behind these enforcement actions were varied but alarming, including evidence of rodent infestation, the sale of food products falsely labelled as 'nut-free' in premises containing allergens, and improper food handling practices such as preparing raw chicken on equipment sinks without proper cleaning procedures.

Other reasons included the presence of personal items such as a mattress, blankets and duvet in the ambient food storage unit of the food business; the presence of cosmetics including face washes, oils and toothpaste at the kitchen food wash sink; failure to maintain temperature and monitoring records; evidence that articles, fittings and equipment coming into contact with food were not effectively cleaned and disinfected; and use of a domestic premises to provide off-site catering.

Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive of the FSAI, stressed the importance of food safety compliance, stating: "Food safety is not a ‘nice to have’ in a food business. It’s a legal requirement and the law is there to protect consumer health." She emphasized that maintaining clean premises, managing pest control, proper labelling, and providing traceability information are mandatory for all food businesses.

Dr Byrne highlighted the consequences of neglecting food safety standards, noting that businesses not only risk the health of their customers but also damage their own reputation as trustworthy establishments.

Details of the food businesses served with Closure Orders are available on the FSAI’s website. Closure Orders and Improvement Orders are listed in enforcement reports for three months from the date of correction, while Prohibition Orders remain listed for one month after being lifted. This transparency ensures accountability and underscores the importance of continuous compliance with food safety regulations.

If you require Food Safety/HACCP training for your staff, a Food Safety/HACCP system specifically designed for your food business or Food Safety advice, please contact SafeHands by phone on 01-7979836 or mobile on 0873823223, email or visit our website