Jack Quann
Jack Quann

12.25 24 Feb 2020


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A snail found inside a whole chicken was just one of the complaints received by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland's (FSAI) Advice Line last year.

Over 3,460 consumer complaints were handled by the advice line in 2019 - with over half of those relating to complaints of unfit food and poor hygiene standards.

Other reports included a caterpillar in pork chops and a butterfly/moth in fresh cream.

Overall, complaints saw a marginal increase on the 3,424 complaints reported in 2018.

The number of reports relating to non-display of allergen information was also up significantly at 25%.

A considerable increase was also noted among issues relating to poor hygiene standards, at 19%, and suspected food poisoning incidents were up 8%

The FSAI also recorded an increase in the number of complaints about inadequate pest control in food premises - which it says was reflected in enforcement orders.

There were:

  • 1,134 complaints on hygiene standards
  • 1,082 complaints on unfit food
  • 792 complaints on suspect food poisoning
  • 149 complaints on incorrect information on food labelling
  • 135 complaints on non-display of allergen information
  • 113 other

Contamination of food with foreign objects was frequently reported - these reports included allegations of food containing insects, plastics and other foreign objects.

For example, hair was reported several times as being present in a number of foods - as well as false nails, small pieces of stone, metal and plastic.

Complaints regarding poor hygiene standards in food premises cited live mice and evidence of rodent activity throughout food handling and storage areas, staff failing to wash their hands when cooking and serving food and pigeons in the deli area.

Dr Pamela Byrne is chief executive of the FSAI.

"Our Advice Line continues to be a valuable resource enabling consumers and food businesses to contact us with their complaints or queries around food safety.

"The figures from last year show that consumers too are becoming increasingly attentive as to how food establishments are expected to operate in terms of food safety in Ireland.

"By reporting their incidents around hygiene, labelling, food safety practices and pest control, members of the public and people working in the food sector provide us with the information we need to do our work effectively."

The FSAI Advice Line operates from 10.00am to 4.00pm weekdays and is manned by trained advisors and food scientists.

It can be reached at info@fsai.ie or through the 'make a complaint' section of the FSAI website.


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Advice Line Complaints Dr Pamela Byrne FSAI FSAI Advice Line Food Labelling Food Poisoning Food Safety Authority Of Ireland Hygiene Standards

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