Tuesday 20 August 2019

'Droppings and lack of pest control' behind food safety orders

Rat (stock photo).
Rat (stock photo).
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

Rats, rodent droppings, accumulation of rubbish and a lack of pest control were among the reasons that six restaurants were issued with closing orders by the Food Safety Authority last month.

These include Booterstown pub The Old Punch Bowl and Victoria Asian Cuisine in Monkstown, both in Dublin.

Four closure orders were served under the FSAI Act 1998 on Taka Ra, 37 Abbey Street Upper, Dublin 1; Cuppacity Coffee, 3 Roger Casement Square, Cobh, Cork; The Old Punch Bowl, 116 Rock Road, Booterstown, Co Dublin; and Xian Street Food, 9 Quay Street, Galway.

The Old Punch Bowl was ordered to close its kitchen and food storage area on the first floor only, while its bars were not affected.

A large amount of rodent droppings were scattered on the floor of the dry goods store directly adjacent to the kitchen.

According to the report, this area is used to store foodstuffs.

A large amount of rodent droppings were also noted at the back of the upright and chest freezers, which were located in the kitchen area.

Adequate measures have not been taken to control pests on the premises, according to the report, while adequate measures had not been taken to thoroughly clean and disinfect surfaces where rodent activity was noted.

As for the closed area of Xian Street Food, it was its satellite kitchen at 8 Quay Street that was the problem.

There is no part of the premises at 9 Quay Street, Galway, closed.

Large gaps present at doors and other structural points, including ventilation ducts and wall and floor junctions, overall poor structural condition and finish of the premises, as well as a large accumulation of filled refuse bags in an upstairs area close to the food preparation area, were seen by inspectors as potentially attractive conditions for rodents.

The entire premises, including equipment was found to be in a very dirty condition, with an accumulation of food waste and debris lying around.

"Conditions evident would provide ideal harbourage and a readily available food source for rodents," read the report.

Two closure orders were served under the EC (Official Control of Foodstuffs) Regulations 2010 on Victoria Asian Cuisine, 5a The Crescent, Monkstown, Co Dublin, and Gourmet Tart Company (Manufacturing), Unit 1, Block 13, Ballybane Industrial Estate, Tuam Road, Galway.

One prohibition order was also served under the EC (Official Control of Foodstuffs) Regulations, 2010, on Gourmet Tart Company (Manufacturing), Unit 1, Block 13, Ballybane Industrial Estate, Tuam Road, Galway.

Dr Pamela Byrne, chief of the FSAI, emphasised that food businesses were not providing adequate care for their customers if they did not have an adequate pest control system in place.

She said it was "alarming" that there had been so many reports of rodent activity in businesses.

"The most common non-compliances identified in Irish food businesses during March were a significant lack of pest control, coupled with filthy conditions," she said.

"It is alarming to see consistent reporting of rodent activity noted in food businesses.

"Rodents harbour bacteria and spread harmful pathogens, contaminating food and surfaces.

"Food inspectors continue to encounter cases where consumers' health is put at risk through a failure to comply with pest control and hygiene requirements, which is unacceptable.

"Food businesses run the risk of making their customers sick through exposing food to pests and ruining their reputation with consumers by neglecting basic food safety management and hygiene standards.

"Negligent practices will not be tolerated."

Irish Independent

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