Centra stores across county Wexford have been recognised for their excellence at this year's Centra Quality awards.
Twelve stores were acknowledged for excellence in the areas of hygiene and food safety.
The awards ceremony took place at the Great Southern Hotel, Killarney, and during the event two model county stores were presented with coveted Q Mark Level 3 emerald awards: Caulfield's Centra, Campile, and O'Callaghan's Centra, Enniscorthy.
It was a very significant achievement for both businesses as the aim of the award is to acknowledge ongoing dedication from stores in demonstrating 'exemplary standards of store cleanliness and hygiene'.
A spokesperson for the awards organisers said: 'The winning Wexford Centra stores were chosen in recognition of their ongoing hard work and commitment in these areas and achieved a score of between 75 and 100 per cent in this independent assessment.'
The two winning stores were described as having 'displayed a comprehensive understanding of the importance of providing the best service for their customers as well as ensuring that quality, hygiene, and food safety are continually prioritised by their team of staff'.
A further 10 Wexford based stores were also acknowledged at the event for scoring between 60 and 74 per cent.
They were presented with the Q Mark for hygiene and food safety Level 2 Sapphire award having also been independently verified and acknowledged for having the highest standards of operational hygiene and food safety in operation.
The winning stores included: Kiely's Centra, Killinick; Kenna's Centra, Whitemills; Flood's Centra, Ramsgrange; Hammel's Centra, Kilmuckridge; Sinnott's Centra, Irishtown, New Ross; Kenna's Centra, Trinity St; Murphy's Centra, Rosslare; Goff's Centra, Bridgetown; Power's Centra, Castlebridge and McSorley's Centra, Ballinaboola.
Speaking on the night about the importance of the awards, Managing Director of Centra Ireland, Martin Kelleher, said: 'It's fantastic to see such a huge number of stores represented here this evening and even more terrific to see so many bestowed with awards.'
He said the awards were 'well-deserved' and were presented 'as a direct result of [the recipients'] constant commitment to ensuring their food service meets, and exceeds, the incredibly high standards laid out by Excellence Ireland.'
'Not only do these awards commend the hard work and dedication of store owners, management and staff, they also confirm to customers that exceptional food safety standards are being adhered to within each of the winning stores,' said Mr Kelleher.
Soraid McEntee, from the Excellence Ireland Quality Association, also praised the winners, and said: 'We have seen a huge improvement in the standard of food safety in Ireland over the last number of years and during this awards process, we have observed serious commitment to maintaining the highest levels of excellence in quality control by these award-winning Centra stores.'
The Centra retail group has stores in over 465 locations throughout the country and employs almost 11,000 people.
Centra invests over €240m in local communities each year in payments to local suppliers, acquisition of local business services, wages, charitable donations and local sponsorships.