Following the issuing of a product withdrawal notice by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) to Metron Stores Ltd, a franchisee that operates stores under the Iceland fascia in the Republic of Ireland, Iceland Foods has said in a statement that it is offering its 'full support' to Metron Stores and has also pledged to ensure that there will be 'no recurrence' of any such issues in the future.
The FSAI served a notice to Metron Stores, which has traded as Iceland Ireland since February, for the 'immediate withdrawal' from its retail stores of all imported frozen food of animal origin which has been imported into Ireland since 3 March 2023'.
The FSAI also asked Metron Stores to issue a product recall, and advised consumers 'not to eat any imported frozen food of animal origin bought from Iceland Ireland' since 3 March.
This includes chicken, meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, and is due to 'a number of identified breaches of food legislation and an ongoing investigation', according to the FSAI.
“To date, while we have no reports of any illness associated with implicated products from Iceland Ireland stores, in the absence of the company providing valid and correct traceability documentation as required by the law, we have to take a precautionary approach to best protect consumers, as we cannot be fully confident of the traceability and safety of these imported frozen foods of animal origin," commented Dr Pamela Byrne, CEO, FSAI.
She added that it is the "legal responsibility" of any business importing food into Ireland to "make the correct import declarations for the food they are importing.
"All food businesses must also have full traceability information on the food they are importing, producing, distributing and selling."
In response, Iceland Foods said that the FSAI had taken the action against Metron Stores 'because of concerns about inadequate evidence of traceability and incidents of non-compliance with import control legislation, including pre-notification and completion of entry declarations.'
It added that following the sale of the Irish business to Metron Stores, which was already operating a food importing business in Ireland, and had previous experience of importing Iceland products, it 'felt confident that the business was well equipped to ensure compliance with all appropriate legislation'
Iceland noted that the FSAI announcement does not affect purchases of Iceland products from the 35 Iceland and two The Food Warehouse stores in Northern Ireland, which remain under the ownership of Iceland Foods Ltd.
'All Iceland Foods own label products are manufactured and managed to UK regulatory requirements from independently audited manufacturing sites (whether in the UK, the EU, or a Third Country) with full end-to-end food safety, product traceability and due diligence,' it added.