The number of queries handled by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s Advice Line increased by over 10% in 2016.  Of the 14,348 queries and complaints, 2,738 related to complaints by consumers about food and food premises, while 11,604 included requests for advice from food businesses across a range of food related areas. The FSAI states that the increased activity reflects a growing awareness among consumers of the need to report poor hygiene practice and incorrect labelling. Consumer complaints ranged from reports of food unfit to eat, to inaccurate labelling:

  • 1,199 complaints on unfit food
  • 529 complaints on suspect food poisoning
  • 566 complaints on hygiene standards
  • 175 complaints on incorrect information on food labelling
  • 269 other Calls to the FSAI’s Advice Line seeking advice (11,604) showed a dramatic increase in requests for information on food labelling (up 100% on 2013), coinciding with the introduction of new laws requiring the labelling of specific allergens on all loose food.      “Poor standards are often the result of inadequate staff training and a failure to follow best practices to safeguard customers’ health

Edel Smyth, Information Manager, FSAI states: “Consumers have become more vigilant in recent years and are now much more likely to report poor hygiene or food safety standards that they encounter. Contamination of food with foreign objects was frequently reported by consumers.  In 2014, these reports included allegations of food contaminated with dead maggots and glass, as well as other foreign objects. E.G. a razor blade found in minced meat; a cigarette found in a fruit brack; a fly found in a jar of marmalade; an insect in an apple tart; the tip of an knife found in spare ribs; wire in takeaway food and a metal bolt found in a tin of grapefruit.  All complaints received by the FSAI were followed up and investigated by the environmental health officers. www.fsai.ie