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Watchdog: E coli crisis highlights food dangers

THE E coli outbreak in Germany which has killed 26 people is a harsh reminder of the dangers of poor food safety, Ireland's food watchdog has warned.

The number of enforcement actions taken against food businesses doubled last month to seven showing an unacceptable decline in standards by some operators, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said.

"Such an increase in statistics is evidence that some food businesses have become complacent and let standards decline which is unacceptable," warned FSAI chief executive Professor Alan Reilly.

"The current E coli outbreak in Germany serves as a harsh reminder of the potential consequences of poor food safety practices."

Dirty premises, unhygienic practices and improper storage of food would not be tolerated, and food inspectors would be carrying out inspections all summer, he said.

Meanwhile, the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) said it would be seeking a meeting with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney about compensation for vegetable growers affected by the E coli scare.

Mr Coveney confirmed yesterday that Irish growers would be eligible to apply for compensation from the €210m EU fund announced this week if they had lost sales as a result of the scare.

Bord Bia said it had tweaked its current radio ad campaign promoting Irish fruit and vegetables to remind consumers to look for Bord Bia quality assured Irish produce.

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Irish Independent