Maggots and mites spark 13pc rise in food complaints
RODENTS, mites and maggots were among the food nasties encountered by consumers last year.
Customer complaints about food quality soared by 13pc during 2011, with 2,415 customers contacting the Food Safety Authority to report unfit food, poor hygiene, suspected food poisoning and dodgy labelling.
A small dead rodent in a bag of bananas, maggots in an orange and live mites in a jar of sundried tomatoes were some of the most revolting discoveries made.
A dead spider in a tin of infant formula, a cockroach in bread and a false nail in custard were also uncovered, while one diner also discovered a nut and bolt in their meatballs and another got a used teabag in gravy.
The FSAI also received a number of complaints about packaged food not showing a best-before date.
Consumers were also aggrieved by food workers handling money and not washing their hands before handling the food.
The FSAI said health inspectors followed up on each complaint individually.
"Every case we receive is reviewed and followed up directly with the food business involved in a timely fashion," said FSAI Information Manager Edel Conway.
While many were once-offs, action such as issuing an enforcement order was taken if a serious problem was discovered in a restaurant, shop or factory.
There was no excuse for a food business to have poor standards in any area of food production, she added.
"Poor standards can be the result of a shoddy approach or ignorance, where a food business has not made it a priority to ensure they are following best practices," said Ms Conway.
In total the FSAI received 11,166 calls to their helpline last year, many of which were requests for advice on food labelling, the legal requirements for starting a new food business, food safety training and legislation.
Health inspectors issued a record 82 enforcement orders to food businesses last year, including 66 closure orders. This was a 12pc increase on the previous year.