The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has reported that during May 2013, environmental health officers issued 19 enforcement orders to food business operators. Officers issued 15 Closure Orders, 2 Improvement Orders and 2 Prohibition Orders. In the same month, a successful prosecution was recorded against the Foodstall at The Gaelic Grounds, Ennis Road, Limerick.
In April 2013 environmental health officers had issued 7 Closure Orders, 1 Improvement Order and 1 Prohibition Order.
It is unclear whether the very high number of orders issued in May is the result of increased enforcement by the regulators and/or is evidence of falling standards in food businesses.
All food business operators must take all necessary steps to ensure they understand the rules around food safety and food hygiene and maintain proper standards. Being the recipient of an enforcement notice will have a detrimental impact on the food business concerned in terms of time and cost in rectifying the problems, being at risk of criminal prosecution and adverse publicity and reputational damage that follows.
Food business operators should also be familiar with the extensive powers given to environmental health officers (and other officials) and their options for challenging the actions of the authorities.
As the weather gets warmer the risk of foodborne illness arising from the improper handling and storage of food increases. Business owners should check that their procedures are suitable to ensure the proper handling of foods to prevent contamination. They should ensure that all members of staff are properly trained or, where appropriate, re-trained.
Ian Thomas Associates can help you understand the powers of inspectors and how to deal with inspections. We can also advise you about your options for challenging the actions of the authorities, appeal enforcement notices and defend criminal prosecutions. For further information about we can help you protect your business please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.