Good but not good enough

Related tags Hygiene

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has called on food
manufacturers to do more to improve their health and safety
records. The agency confirmed yesterday that 62 enforcement orders
were served on Irish food business in 2003, compared to 69 in 2002.
Enforcement officers served 35 closure orders, 26 improvement
orders and one prohibition order last year.

In December alone, three improvement orders were issued by Environmental health officers (EHOs) under the FSAI Act, 1998. All food businesses that are served closure orders, orders and prohibition orders are listed on the FSAI website​.

FSAI director of service contracts Peter Whelan said that while he was heartened that the number of enforcement orders issued fell to 62 in 2003, it was still not enough and indicated that some food businesses were not adhering to food safety management systems. He highlighted that most enforcement orders are being served because of the same easily preventable faults.

"Although 62 is a very small percentage of the 42,500 food businesses in Ireland, there is only a marginal decrease in the number of orders in 2002. It takes time, effort and money for businesses to build their reputation and client base, but to be the subject of one of these orders can undo a mountain of good work."

The FSAI says that it encourages best practice across the food chain and wishes to have no enforcement orders served. For this to be achieved, says Whelan, every food business has to play its part if consumers are to be reassured that their interests are placed first.

"A number of critical areas of non-compliance with the regulations are repeatedly coming up,"​ he said. "These include dirty premises and unhygienic practices, which lead to contamination of food; contaminated products; cross-contamination from raw to cooked foods and improper refrigeration.

"Many of these problems can be eliminated by the adequate training and re-training of staff which is required by law under the EU Hygiene of Foodstuffs Regulations, 2000."

The FSAI is urging all food businesses to take the opportunity to prioritise their food safety and hygiene practices in 2004, as the FSAI, along with the official agencies, will continue its policy of rigorous inspection of compliance with food safety regulations.

Related topics Processing & Packaging

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