During August 2013 seventeen enforcement orders were served on food business operators by environmental health officers. This is one more than were served in July. Professor Alan Reilly, Chief Executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland has again expressed his disappointment at the high number of enforcement actions and said “The legal onus is on food businesses to ensure that the food they serve is safe to eat in accordance with the legislation”.
Professor Reilly reminded all food businesses that “greater focus is required to ensure standards are not permitted to slip, thereby potentially putting the health of consumers at risk”. As every food business owner knows they must ensure that the way in which they operate their business does not put their customers at risk. One slip that results in the contamination of a food product can have devastating consequences for the customer and for the business.
Business owners must ensure that the basic principles of food hygiene are followed. As was reported by the FSAI this month, three of the main recurring problems encountered by officials were; improper storage of foodstuffs and poor cleaning and sanitising. These are things that should be second nature to all businesses and their employees and failure to do them properly can easily lead to contamination and food poisoning.
In August the officials relied on their powers in the Food Safety of Ireland Act 1998 and the EC (Official Control of Foodstuffs) Regulations 2010 to take enforcement action. They issued 15 Closure Orders and 2 Prohibition Orders.
Being in receipt of an enforcement order will have serious consequences for the food business. Where conditions are such that environmental health officers are considering issuing an enforcement order they may also be considering a criminal prosecution. This could lead to a fine and possible imprisonment.
Ian Thomas Associates is experienced in advising food business on issues of regulatory compliance, liaising with the authorities and defending enforcement action. We can also call upon the expertise of trusted food consultants to provide your business with the hands on training and guidance you require.
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