The Food Safety Authority of Ireland's (FSAI) advice line saw an 8% increase in complaints and queries in 2014, compared to the previous year. Out of a total 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.
Consumer complaints ranged from 1,199 about food being unfit to eat, to 175 about inaccurate labelling. A further 529 complaints came in on suspected food poisoning, while there 566 about hygiene standards.
Contamination of food with foreign objects was frequently reported in 2014, including allegations of food contaminated with dead maggots and glass, as well as other foreign objects. These include a razor blade found in minced meat; a cigarette found in a fruit brack; a fly found in a jar of marmalade; the tip of a knife found in spare ribs and a metal bolt found in a tin of grapefruit. All complaints received by the FSAI were followed up and investigated by the HSE's environmental health officers.
Edel Smyth, Information Manager, FSAI explained that consumers have become more likely to report hygiene issues, saying, "This is a welcome development and we continue to encourage anyone who has had a bad experience to report the matter to us so that the issue can be investigated directly."
"Poor standards are often the result of inadequate staff training and a failure to follow best practices to safeguard customers' health. This is inexcusable given the substantial information and resources available to assist food businesses," She added. "Our Advice Line is an important resource for the food industry where our experts are available to assist food business owners and managers raise their standards with the best available advice. We urge food businesses to take full advantage of the information and support provided to ensure they reach their food safety legal requirements."
© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.