Violations head for new high
THIS year is on course to set a new record for food safety failings in Ireland.
Already in 2013, some 84 food businesses – including restaurants, pubs, shops and stalls – have been served with closure orders.
That compares with 91 in the whole of 2012 – even though that was already a record year for serious problems.
Closure orders are only served when there is deemed likely to be a "grave and immediate danger to public health", but the number of businesses receiving them is now three times as high as it was during the boom.
However, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland has warned that the recession cannot be used as an excuse for cutting corners on protecting consumer health.
"If businesses are trying to save money, then it's a false economy, because the damage caused by receiving a closure order is far worse than the cost of doing things properly in the first place," said Dr Bernard Hegarty, FSAI director of service contracts.
"Many places sort out the issues within a few days once they get a closure order, so that shows it is not about some huge investment, it is just about having basic consumer protection measures in place."
The increase in food safety breaches was not down to increased inspections, riskiest sectors were just being targeted more, Dr Hegarty noted.