Breaches of food safety in pubs, restaurants soar
DEAD rodents, congealed grease and pools of blood were among the reasons for a soaring number of restaurants and food business closure orders.
Food Safety Authority of Ireland documents reveal a litany of filthy conditions in Irish food businesses.
Large numbers of rat droppings and "a very strong smell of rodent urine and excrement" led to a closure order being served on the basement and kitchen of the Red Parrot pub in Dublin's Dorset Street in July.
Drinks, crisps and ice were all stored in the basement area where the rat droppings were found, leaving them at risk of contamination, an environmental health officer noted.
The kitchen was in a "filthy condition" with accumulations of congealed grease and food debris. The fridge was too warm and there was no food safety management system in place.
The closure order was lifted within a week after the problems were rectified.
But this was just one of 84 premises served with closure orders this year in what is proving to be the worst on record for breaches of vital rules aimed at protecting consumer health.
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal details of why so many businesses are falling foul of inspections.
Filthy water and food debris, congealed blood, smelly cloths and soiled food containers were among the litany of hygiene failures which led to New Jasmine House restaurant in Aiden Street, Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, being closed last April.
The health inspector also spotted the restaurant operator pouring raw blood pooling on top of a box of chicken breasts straight into a deep fat fryer containing cooked chicken.
A pack of cooked duck breasts was also left to defrost on a cardboard box sitting on a pool of liquid blood, while refuse bins were overflowing.
Although this restaurant was allowed to re-open in May when those problems were sorted, it was slapped with another closure order in June, when a follow-up visit again revealed filthy, smelly and unkempt conditions.
A dead rodent and its droppings in the kitchen led to New Millennium Chinese Restaurant in Dublin's South King Street being served with a closure order in July.
The health inspector noted suspected contamination of the premises, equipment and food through access points and inadequate refuse storage, but the order was lifted within days when the problems were sorted out.
Following repeated warnings, a Co Wexford creche was served with a closure order in March requiring it to stop using the lobby to a children's toilet as a kitchen for storing and preparing their food.
The Little Treasures Naionra, Montessori and Afterschool on Milehouse Road, Enniscorthy, had been told to stop using this lobby area as a kitchen because a toilet opened directly onto it.
The health inspector noted that some pre-school children had had their nappies changed in this toilet, which required the door to be kept fully open even though the lobby it opened onto was used for storing, plating and reheating children's meals. The closure order was issued in March after various verbal and written warnings not to use the lobby as a kitchen, but it was lifted in April after the problem was resolved.
Repeated hygiene failings led to Fahy's Bar, 71 Bohermore, Galway city, being served with a closure order in March.
The pub was found to be dirty with profuse growth of mould in places with waste from the sewer strewn about the yard.
Numerous written warnings and official notices did not result in improvements, and a closure order was issued. This was lifted a few weeks later when the problems were rectified.