An unregistered butcher business selling meats deemed unfit for human consumption in Tyrrellspass, Co Westmeath has been served a closure order by the food health and safety watchdog.
JLM Foods and JLM Family Butchers, located on Main Street, Tyrrellspass, was served a closure and prohibition order by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).
Inspectors found the premises had “not been registered or approved by a competent authority” for the purposes of storing and processing meat products.
“In the absence of official controls, it is not possible to verify compliance with food law and there is an increased risk that unsafe food may be placed on the market,” the FSAI closure order stated.
The inspection found there were no food safety procedure records available on site, and “allergenic ingredients”, such as wheat and celery, were not declared in some products.
“The risk of undeclared allergens in food presents a serious risk to the health of consumers with allergies or intolerances to those ingredients,” the closure order stated.
The watchdog found microbiological hazards had not been identified as risks in vacuum packed meats, and there was no evidence to confirm use-by dates on meat products were correct.
Some raw meat products were not clearly labelled by the business to inform customers of the requirement to thoroughly cook the product prior to consumption.
Inspectors found “unlabelled meat in a delivery vehicle which could not be reliably traced back to the establishment of origin.”
The premises was the only business shut down by the food safety authority last month, who issued a recall notice for meats sold and distributed by the business.
The watchdog also issued a prohibition order to Bruno Cesar Silva Gomes, a retailer in Bailis Manor, Navan, Co Meath, over meat produced at the premises.
Inspectors found meat products were not labelled with use-by dates and “therefore it could not be established if these products had exceeded their intended shelf-life.”
There was also meat which “had been transported and stored by an unregistered food business operator without refrigerated/temperature controlled transport facilities.”
The prohibition order directed the business to ensure that several items of food deemed not fit for human consumption by inspectors were destroyed.
Commenting on the orders, Dr Pamela Byrne, FSAI chief executive, said she was concerned some illegal food business operators could be using the coronavirus pandemic to take advantage of people shopping locally.
“The prohibition orders resulted in over 1,500kg of meat and meat products being seized and destroyed,” she said.
The enforcement actions taken by the watchdog last month were on foot of “blatant disregard for compliance with food legislation,” she said.