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Huge rise in food firm start-ups

Entrepreneurs hungry to set up a business after being bitten by the recession are turning to the food sector.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said its free industry advice service handled a 72pc rise in requests for information and resources to assist a business start-up since the downturn in the economy.

It handled 734 inquiries in 2008, compared to 1,259 last year.

Edel Conway, information manager at the FSAI, said despite the recession there has been growth in the number of food businesses registered, from 44,052 in 2008 to 46,259 last year.

"We offer an expert resource of advisors who can assist people to understand what they need to do, how they need to go about it and how to comply with the law if they are thinking of setting up a new food outlet or business," said Ms Conway.

The agency launched a one-stop resource for anyone seeking information in relation to establishing a food venture on its website www.fsai.ie.