In 2020, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) investigated almost 50 unregistered food businesses, which is more than double the amount from 2019.
FSAI inquired into 47 unregistered businesses in 2020. In 2019, that number was 49. FSAI officials found that many of the businesses were usuing social media, such as Facebook, Facebook Marketplace, Adverts.ie, Done Deal, and Instagram, to advertise their food products. WhatsApp was also used for messaging.
Authorities had no knowledge of, or supervision over, these businesses, which were operating illegally. Ireland law requires businesses to notify authorities prior to starting to conduct business, regardless of the business's size or type.
Some of the businesses were in domestic kitchens or buildings with inadequate food safety processes and procedures. The businesses were producing, processing, or distributing various foods, such as baked goods, eggs, ready-to-eat sushi, poultry, and raw and cooked meats.
Other agencies that assisted FSAI included the Environmental Health Service of the Health Service Executive, Local Authority Veterinary Service and Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. An Garda Siochana (the Irish Police force) also assisted, with some cases.
FSAI said that if food isn't labeled correctly or if there is no allergen information, there could be an allergy risk; or, if it isn't prepared correctly, and there are no food safety management procedures to ensure cross-contamination does not occur.