Ten closure orders and one prohibition order were served on food businesses during the month of September for breaches of food safety legislation, according to the Food and Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).
Noor Foods (Butcher Shop), 10 Church Street, Dundalk, Louth was one of five firms which received a closure order, served under the FSAI Act, 1998.
In a letter, an authorised officer of the HSE made this order “being of the opinion that there is or is likely to be a grave and immediate danger to public health at, in, or on the said premises”.
“Evidence of rodent activity was found throughout the premises, including food handling and storage areas, posing a risk of contamination to food, food preparation surfaces, equipment and utensils.”
“Rodents transmit pathogens through faeces and urine which may lead to a serious risk to public health.” the letter stated.
One prohibition order was served under the FSAI Act, 1998 on MJI Meats 2595, a small meat manufacturing plant based at Unit 6, Enterprise Centre, Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo.
In a letter, an authorised officer of Mayo County Council demanded that re-minced food detained by one of its veterinary inspectors in a large freezer is withdrawn from sale with immediate effect, adding that the activities involve, or are likely to involve, a “serious risk to public health”.
“Thawing, re-mincing and reprocessing frozen mincemeat, some of which had gone for an extended period beyond its best-before expiry date.”
“This activity, which is not documented in the establishment's HACCP based procedures, broke the cold-chain for frozen minced meat.” the letter stated.
“In addition, the mincing process increases the temperature of the re-minced meat which could potentially facilitate the growth of both spoilage and pathogenic organisms.”
“No evidence was provided to support any valid shelf-life for this thawed and re-minced minced meat.” the letter added.
Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI has emphasised that vigilance is always required in relation to food safety and standards must not be permitted to slip to such levels that consumer health is put at risk.
“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.”
“It is the responsibility of all food business operators to ensure that their premises are fully compliant with food safety legislation, in the interests of their customers and their businesses.”