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Ireland Faces Food Safety Woes

December 20, 2013

2013 has not been a good year for pubs, restaurants and other food establishments across Ireland with 84 closure notices served by the end of the third quarter for food safety breaches. This makes 2013 the worst year on record for food safety as reported by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.


Dead rodents, poor temperature control, hazardous cooking processes and soiled cloths and containers were all listed as reasons that food businesses were issued with warnings, official notices and closure orders. In one establishment, the health inspector even spotted the restaurant owner pouring raw blood that was pooling on top of a box of chicken breasts straights into the deep fat fryer containing cooked chicken.


In Ireland it is a legal requirement for food businesses to follow a HACCP plan and has been since 2002 when the National HACCP Strategy was introduced. Further requirements were introduced in 2006 as part of EU Directive 852/2004.


It would appear from the quantity of food safety breaches occurring that whilst a HACCP Plan may be implemented in food businesses, some of the 7 principles of HACCP – specifically corrective actions, monitoring and verification are not being followed closely enough.


The principle of monitoring refers to checking all critical control points within an organisation to ensure that identified potential food safety hazard limits are not exceeded.


If limits are exceeded then the principle of corrective actions kicks in. This principles refers to the steps that must be taken to control the hazard and to ensure that contaminated food does not reach the food chain, causing potential dangers to human health.


Verification is regular auditing and checking of the HACCP Plan to check that it is adequate and working as intended.


Food businesses in Ireland already must have a HACCP Plan in place. With a little more focus on the three principles listed above then hopefully 2014 will be a much more successful year for food safety!