The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has reported that two Closure Orders, one Prohibition Order and one Improvement Order were served on food businesses during the month of April for breaches of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland Act, 1998, and the EC (Official Control of Foodstuffs) Regulations, 2010. The Enforcement Orders were issued by HSE environmental health officers (“EHO”). A successful prosecution was also carried out by the HSE in relation to a retail food business in Roscommon.
Enforcement is dealt with under Part IV of the 1998 Act (“the Act”). Inspections are provided for under Section 50 of the Act and are usually carried out by an EHO who is an ‘authorised officer’ under the Act. An authorised officer is defined under Section 49 of the Act as a person appointed in writing by the Board or Chief Executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland or by an official agency which has entered into a service contract with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. Section 50(1) provides these authorised officers with a suite of powers of inspection in order to carry out their function.
Upon inspection, if circumstances warrant the service of an enforcement notice under Sections 52, 53 or 54 of the Act, such will be a matter for the professional judgement of the authorised officer in consultation with a designated officer. A designated officer is defined as a person who has been designated by the FSAI for the purposes of consultations as described in Sections 52, 53 and 54 of the Act.
The various Notices and Orders that can be served under the Act are as follows:
- Improvement Notice (Section 52) – requires a food business to implement certain improvements in a specified time period.
- Closure Order (Section 53) – requires the closure of a food business unless and until specific improvements are made.
- Prohibition Order (Section 54) – directs the withdrawal from the market of specific food products.
Commenting on the April figures, Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive of the FSAI, said that all food businesses must comply with food safety legislation in order to protect consumers’ health:
“While most food businesses are committed to maintaining the highest standards of food safety for the health of their customers, unfortunately this is not always the case. Although, it is encouraging that there have only been two Closure Orders for the month of April, we are urging all food businesses to ensure that they have a robust food safety management system in place and that it is consulted on a regular basis and updated, where necessary, to ensure non-compliance issues and breaches of food safety legislation don’t occur.”
Closure Orders and Improvement Orders remain listed on the FSAI website for a period of three months from the date of when a premises is adjudged to have corrected its food safety issue, with Prohibition Orders being listed for a period of one month.
Details of the food businesses served with Enforcement Orders are published on the FSAI’s website at www.fsai.ie.
Author: James Gallagher