The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) reports that in June 2013 environmental health officers issued eight enforcement orders; seven closure orders and one prohibition order. The majority of the businesses that received enforcement notices were restaurants or take away premises.
The FSAI reports that in the first half of 2013 a total of 69 enforcement orders were issued compared with 39 orders issued in the first six months of 2012. This equates to a 77% increase.
The reasons for this increase could be a greater willingness by the environmental health service to take formal enforcement action for breaches of food legislation and/or a reduction in standards by food business operators particularly those operating in the restaurant and fast-food sectors. Whatever the reasons, receiving enforcement orders is definitely not good for the business concerned and, where food safety and food hygiene is being compromised leads to consumers being put at risk of food poisoning.
The significant increase in enforcement activity may well lead to an increase in the number of criminal prosecutions being taken by environmental health officers. Defending these cases requires careful consideration of the legal and factual issues so that the organisation is empowered to make an informed decision about how to respond to the summons in order to protect its business and its reputation and to avoid or minimise the risk of individuals being sent to prison.
If you are facing enforcement action or criminal prosecution contact us to see how we can help minimise the detrimental impact on your business – firstname.lastname@example.org