A pool of what appeared to be foul smelling blood in a goods storage area, multiple sightings of rodents, and chicken and fish stored at room temperature for hours were among the reasons restaurants and shops were issued with closure orders by the food safety watchdog last month.
Six establishments were issued with closure orders in December including a branch of Lidl in Drogheda, a high-profile restaurant in Temple Bar and a Circle K outlet in west Dublin.
Indian Aagrah/Bombay Brasserie on Sundays Well Road in Cork was sanctioned over failure to implement adequate procedures to control pests and for the presence of suspect rodent droppings in the dry goods store as well as the lack of pest proofing throughout the premises.
The inspector’s report also noted “what appeared to be a pool of blood under a shelf unit in the dry goods store [and] a foul smell coming from the said pool of suspected blood”.
“Many examples of poor cleaning throughout the food premises”, were also reported.
Parts of a Lidl supermarket at the M1 Retail Park, in Mell, Drogheda were served with a closure order by Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) after "evidence of rodent activity was found in the food storage and preparation area posing a risk of contamination to food, food preparation services, equipment and utensils".
Beef & Lobster on Parliament Street in Dublin’s Temple Bar was served with a closure order last month after inspectors noted rodent droppings in cavity wall openings in a basement storage room. They also found a live rodent in an exposed cavity wall also in the basement storage room next to refrigeration and freezer units.
A Circle K service station on Belgard Road in Tallaght in Dublin was also issued with an order "due to evidence of mice infestation in the food area where food is handled".
The Carrot's Tail in Rathmines, Dublin 6 was also hit with a closure order after evidence of rodent activity was detected and a mouse "spotted running along the skirting board of the middle seating area".
Joe’s Take Away on Dean Street in Kilkenny was also issued with a closure order with inspectors reporting “a build up of ingrained dirt and food debris on surfaces including floors, walls, ceilings,doors, equipment and other hand contact surfaces”.
Inspectors also reported that “cooked chicken pieces and battered cod were stored at ambient room temperature for over five hours” and they noted that “unsafe cooling procedures of high risk foodstuffs could cause harmful food poisoning bacteria to grow and multiply on the food.”
Commenting on the December enforcement orders, chief executive of the FSAI Dr Pamela Byrne stressed the importance of having a robust food safety management system in place in a food business.
“It is highly disconcerting that some food business owners are still failing to comply with food safety standards and their legal obligations that have been set to ensure the safety of their customers,” she said.
“Even though they are in the minority, there is no excuse for any food business to remain unaware of the correct food handling and storage procedures which could prevent pest infestations or prevent bacterial growth.”
She said it was “crucial that all businesses within the industry are up to date with the legislation that address the issues that will prevent any unnecessary risk to consumers who may become sick as a result of these poor practices”.