The Food Safety Authority served 109 enforcement orders on food businesses for breaches in food safety in 2018, an increase of 58% compared to 2017 when there were 69.

Between 1 January and 31 December last year, food inspectors served 95 closure orders, five improvement orders and nine prohibition orders on food businesses throughout the country.

In December alone nine closure orders were issued including to the Officers' Mess at the Air Corps Headquarters in Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnell. This facility was closed due to a failure to have adequate pest controls in place and a failure to ensure the premises permitted good food hygiene practices.

The types of recurring food safety issues in businesses that lead to enforcement orders were evidence of rodent infestation and rodent droppings; filthy conditions; failure to maintain correct temperatures of foodstuffs; a lack of knowledge of food safety by staff; unsuitable food storage facilities and improper or lack of water facilities for cleaning.

Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI said that the increase in enforcement orders in 2018 was unacceptable.

"There are absolutely no excuses for negligent food practices. The types of reasons cited for Enforcement Orders are simple errors that should not be happening in any food business.

"Enforcement Orders are served on food businesses only when a serious risk to consumer health has been established or where there are a number of ongoing serious breaches of food legislation.

"Non-compliance by food businesses will not be tolerated and all breaches of food safety legislation will be dealt with the full extent of the law."

"The onus is on food businesses to comply with the law by ensuring that they and their staff are fully trained in the areas of food safety and hygiene, and to protect the health of their customers," Dr Byrne concluded.