A RECORD 90 food businesses were served with closure orders in 2012.
This is up a massive 36pc on the 66 closure orders served in 2011 – which had itself set a new record – and is three times the level seen in many previous years.
Closure orders are the most serious sanction used by health inspectors and are only served when there is deemed likely to be a "grave and immediate danger to public health".
They can apply to all or part of the premises – meaning in some cases other parts of the business will still be operating.
The number of prohibition orders – used to ban batches of unsafe food from being sold – also rose by 36pc to 15 in 2012.
But what the raw figures don't tell you are the litany of hygiene failures which led to so many food businesses being told to shut until they'd cleaned up their act.
The Irish Independent obtained details of health inspectors' reports under the Freedom of Information Act to catalogue the grim details of food failings that could put consumers at risk.