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.