Rats, flies and dried blood among violations found in Irish restaurant kitchens this year
COCKROACHES, congealed blood and dead rats were among the unsavoury discoveries that led to restaurants, food shops and wholesalers being closed by health inspectors this year.
A record 90 food businesses were served with closure orders in 2012 due to a litany of hygiene problems.
The Irish Independent has obtained details under freedom of information rules of the reasons why so many premises were told to shut down food operations until they'd cleaned up their act.
A dead rat which left droppings under the cooking equipment and on the freezer was the reason why the Oriental Express on Dublin's Parnell Street was served with a closure order on March 21.
This was lifted a few days later when the premises was cleaned up.
Meanwhile, a live rodent confronted one health inspector at Scoby's restaurant in Co Limerick and she even managed to snap a picture of the furry creature in the staff bathroom.
Rodent droppings were also found in the attic of Scoby's on Main Street, Hospital, and the Health Services Executive (HSE) issued a closure order on September 18, which was lifted within days after remedial pest-proofing.
Gnawed packaging and pest droppings on shelves and food led to Slovakpoint food shop on Cork's Lavitt Quay being served with a closure order on October 24, again lifted within days.
Cobwebs, spiders and flying insects in the kitchen, service and storage areas led to Star King Pan Asian Restaurant in Galway Shopping Centre, Headford Road, being served with a closure order on November 8.
Doors from the kitchen were left open directly on to a dirty yard full of chicken bones, mouldy food, pools of greasy waste water and other waste.
Inside the coldrooms, raw meat was stored in dirty, greasy, unlabelled containers while soiled trays were placed directly on top of cooked meat, and some meat was out of date.
"The entire premises including the walk-in coldrooms, refrigeration units, freezer and dry goods store were in a filthy condition throughout," a HSE inspector wrote. The closure order was lifted on December 13 when the problems were fixed.
A live cockroach infestation, which had not been dealt with despite a warning, was why the Bon Marche grocery store on Phibsboro Road, Dublin 7, was served with a closure order on April 10. The order was lifted on April 16 when the infestation was eradicated.
Failure to wash hands between handling raw poultry and cooked meat, and very poor hygiene were key reasons for the closure of Nice Star takeaway Main Street, Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, on February 3. An inspector observed a food worker using dirty cloths to clean hands after handling meat, and wiping food-preparation surfaces with the same cloth.
The inspector required all food workers to be suitably trained or supervised and for the premises and equipment to be thoroughly cleaned, after which the closure order was lifted on February 8.
Foul sewage smells, dirt and debris led to Chilli Kebabish takeaway in Limerick being closed on October 2. An inspector found dirty fridges with foul odours, broken tiles, burnt food debris, flies, cigarette butts, rubbish and a lack of documented pest control on the premises. The premises was allowed to reopen on October 10 after cleaning.
Congealed blood on a fridge and filthy cooking equipment "overflowing with liquid grease and food residue" contributed to Knox Street Bistro & Cafe in Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, being served with a closure order on January 31.
The order was lifted on February 16 when the problems were sorted out.