The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) says they issued fewer enforcement orders to food businesses for food safety violations in 2015 compared to 2014.

In 2014, a total of 113 enforcement orders were handed out. In 2015, that number dipped to 106--a decrease of 6 percent.

Part of this may be explained by FSAI’s emphasis on reminding food businesses that they are legally responsible for ensuring that the food they serve and sell is safe to consume. In a statement, the agency says that, “The FSAI warns that all food businesses must ensure they have robust food safety management systems in place and that enforcement officers will not hold back in taking swift action against any food business that fails to meet its legal obligations in this area.”

Last year’s enforcement orders included 90 closure orders--mostly due to poor cleaning and sanitation of premises, poor personal hygiene, lack of running water, inadequate hand washing facilities, incorrect food storage, lack of or ineffective pest control program, structural problems arising from lack of ongoing maintenance, and lack of or inadequate food safety management system. In addition to the closure orders, 16 prohibition orders were also issued.

Commenting on the annual figures, Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI warned that there can be no room for complacency when it comes to food safety and that the legal onus is on food businesses to ensure they fully comply with food safety legislation at all times. She says, “There is absolutely no excuse for negligent food practices. The types of reasons cited for Closure Orders are recurring reasons and easily avoidable. They are simple errors that should not be happening in any food business. Food businesses need to have the proper systems in place to ensure that the food they are preparing or serving is safe to eat. While most food businesses follow high standards and are compliant with food safety legislation, we continue to encounter cases where consumers’ health is put at risk through a lack of compliance. This is unacceptable and will be met with the full rigors of the law.”

Byrne has urged food businesses to take full advantage of the information and support provided by the inspectorate and the FSAI to ensure that they have the correct food safety management systems in place.

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