Rats and cockroaches lead to record level of food outlet closures

A rat running towards a food storage area and high levels of E coli found in drinking water were some of the reasons why a record 21 food businesses were forced to temporarily close last month.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) served a “totally unacceptable” 23 enforcement orders to food businesses in November, the highest in a calendar month to date.

Seven temporary closure orders were served in Dublin, five in Co Cork, and two in Co Meath and Louth.

Food businesses in Donegal, Galway, Limerick, Wicklow and Sligo were also forced to close for a number of days in November.

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At Vernon Catering in Dublin’s East Wall, substantial pigeon faeces were found in a number of places. Pigeons were also present in the warehouse and nesting above the food packing area.

At Apache Pizza in Temple Bar, Dublin, a live rodent was noted running from behind an obsolete piece of equipment under the stairs towards the direction of the food storage and wash area.

Raw sewage was also noted on the floor of the customer toilet in the basement area.

At Blackchurch Inn, in Rathcoole, Dublin, high levels of E coli and coliforms were found in drinking water and ice samples taken from the premises, rendering the water unsafe for human consumption.

At Hilan Chinese and Korean BBQ Restaurant on Capel Street, Dublin, there was evidence of cockroaches throughout the kitchen area. Live cockroaches were also found on food, including an open container of cashew nuts.

On Cork’s North Main Street, Tony’s Bistro was served with a one-day closure.

The FSAI found an excessive build-up of dirt and food residue on the premises wall and floor surfaces, which it claimed may pose of risk of contamination of food stuffs.

And at New Century Chinese Takeaway in Dundalk, Co Louth, evidence of rodent activity was found in the kitchen, preparation and storage areas, posing a risk of contamination to food.

Dr Pamela Byrne, chief executive of the FSAI, condemned the record number of food businesses issued with enforcement orders.

“November had the highest amount of enforcement orders in the one calendar month which the FSAI has seen since the legislation was introduced in 1998,” she said.

She said the figures were “totally unacceptable”.

“With the Christmas period already under way, food businesses must ensure they maintain high food safety standards and I hope in December we see a significant reduction in enforcement orders,” she added.

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