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27 Jun 2022

Café in Donegal closed due to 'grave and immediate danger to public health'

'Consumers of food in Ireland have a right to safe food' - FSAI Chief

Closed SMCNAMARA

The FSAI issued a closure order on Raphoe Mart Café

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) chief said it was ‘simply unacceptable’ that food businesses - including Raphoe Mart Café - had to be served with closure orders.

Raphoe Mart Café was one of eight food businesses nationwide served with closure or prohibition orders during the month of May.

Reasons for the closure order on Raphoe Mart Café related to encrusted grease and dirt on surfaces, unsafe food storage, inadequate hand washing facilities and failure to label foods with information regarding ingredients that could cause life threatening allergic reactions.

Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive of the FSAI said that it was disappointing to see such disregard for consumer health in these food businesses.

 “It is simply unacceptable that some food businesses across Ireland continue to operate without fully adhering to food safety and hygiene legislation,” she said

“In particular, multiple occurrences in Enforcement Orders issued in May show a complete lack of adequate procedures in place to control pests. 

“Consumers of food in Ireland have a right to safe food and hygienic food premises.

“As we move into warmer summer months, it is disappointing to note that some food businesses are also inadequately monitoring their electric fly killers, and in some cases are preparing food directly beneath, leading to a risk of possible contamination. The health of consumers must never be put at risk, and we urge food businesses not to be so careless.”

According to the FSAI report on Raphoe Mart Café, the closure order issued by a representative of the  HSE’s Environmental Health Section in Donegal states: “I make this order being of the opinion that there is or is likely to be a grave and immediate danger to public health at, in or on the said premises.”

The order cites a number of reasons for the closure, including:

- There were accumulations of food debris, grease and encrusted dirt on floor surfaces, wall surfaces and shelving; accumulations of grease and food debris encrusted were noted on cooker; the ventilation canopy and grease filters were filthy with grease; the interiors of both fridges were dirty, the seals of fridges were full of food debris.

- There was no hot water at any of the sinks in the premises and there were no surface cleaning chemicals available on the premises.

- A wash hand basin had not been provided in the staff toilet; therefore facilities and materials for hygienic washing and drying hands were not provided.

- Ready to eat foods were found thawed overnight at room temperature. A temperature of 17.9°C was recorded in these foods giving rise to the risk of growth of pathogenic micro-organisms and/or the formation of toxins in the foods.

- It was found that foods were cooked as batches, to be reheated to order were stored in containers at room temperature prior to reheating, as the hot holding unit was broken. A temperature of 39.9°C was recorded of these foods giving rise to the risk of growth of pathogenic microorganisms and/or the formation of toxins in the foods.

- Flies were evident in the kitchen giving rise to contamination risks and the UV insectocuter was unplugged; and there was a risk of contamination of food due to the lack of hand wash facilities for food workers. This risk is compounded due to the provision of one hand sink for food workers in the corridor from the mart that is also used by customers prior to entering the canteen.

- It was found that refuse was allowed to accumulate throughout the premises. A substantial amount of food waste and refuse was noted on shelving, within sinks, on top of equipment, lying on floors throughout the kitchen.

- The food business operator made food available for sale or supply without indicating written particulars of any allergen in the food at the point of presentation, the point of sale, or  the point of supply. There was therefore a risk of possible presence of undeclared allergens in food which has the potential to cause a life threatening allergic reaction.

The full report can be seen at https://www.fsai.ie/enforcement_audit/enforcement/order/enf_criteria.html

The other seven premises to be issued with enforcement orders in May were in Dublin, Monaghan, Wexford and Offaly.

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