Chewing gum, insects and glass featured in food complaints in 2017

Poor personal hygiene were listed among the bad habits of staff working in the food sector

All complaints received by the FSAI last year were followed up and investigated by food inspectors throughout the country.  Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

All complaints received by the FSAI last year were followed up and investigated by food inspectors throughout the country. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

Food contaminated by glass, insects or other “foreign objects” were listed among more than 3,400 complaints received by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland in 2017.

Examples of complaints received included chewing gum reported several times as being present in a number foods including sandwich wraps; scrambled egg from a breakfast buffet; and in takeaway rice.

Other foreign objects found in foods were a long black hair in a sandwich; rodent droppings in a bag of crisps; a tooth in a takeaway dish; larvae in jar of beetroot; a piece of glass in a smoothie; maggots in mashed potato; and a wasp in a packet of rashers.

Of those complaints regarding poor hygiene standards in food premises – rats, mice and flies being present in premises were cited.

Others included poor personal hygiene habits of staff working in the food sector. Reports in this area cited staff wiping noses when preparing sandwiches; staff members picking up dropped food from the floor and then including the food to make a sandwich; and the smell of sewerage in food premises. All complaints received by the FSAI last year were followed up and investigated by food inspectors throughout the country.

Unfit for human consumption

According to the authority more than one third of the complaints (1,233) related to food that was said to be unfit for human consumption. Almost 900 related to the hygiene standards while a further 808 complaints related to suspected food poisoning.

A further 183 complaints related to incorrect information on food labelling, and 103 were in relation to non-display of allergen information.

There was an overall increase of 6 per cent in the number of complaints made to the FSAI last year.

The authority said the majority of consumer concerns relating to allergen information included non-compliance issues such as a lack of information in restaurants, confused messages regarding the presence of particular allergens in food, lack of awareness by food businesses of the legal requirement to display allergen information, allergens not highlighted on a food label and allergens present in a food, but not indicated or displayed.