Record 64 food outlets forced to shut in Ireland in 2011

Rodent droppings, maggots on meat and putrid fish were just some of the nasties found by health inspectors in food businesses last year.

Documents obtained by the Irish Independent reveal how 2011 was the worst year on record for food safety infringements, with a record number of premises forced to close because they posed a grave risk to public health. Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) figures show that 64 restaurants, pubs, shops and other food businesses were served with closure orders last year — the highest tally since it was established in 1999.

But the statistics only tell part of the story, as documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal the gory details behind the closures.
Maggots and mouldy meat at one foodstore led to the closure of its butchery department in April.

An environmental health inspector issued a closure order that remains in force to the butchery section of Cahill’s foodstore in Crookstown, Co Cork, after discovering problems including dirty bloodstained walls and flies.

"Maggots were found on the meat debris collected in the tray under the cutting plate. The meat debris, which had not been removed for some time, was hard, dried out and clumped together and mouldy," the order stated.

Out-of-date food was a recurring problem at many outlets, with putrid meat and fish leading to a closure order being served on Charlie Stewarts/Seasons 52 in Parnell St, Ennis, Co Clare, in March.

"Large volumes of malodourous meat and fish were found in refrigerated storage, which had become putrid and were clearly in advanced stages of decomposition," the order said.