A dirty fingernail in baby food and a human tooth in a Chinese takeaway are just some of the foreign objects found in food purchased by Irish consumers last year.
According to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), the contamination of food with foreign objects was ‘frequently reported by consumers’. These objects included metal fragments, glass fragments and plastic.
However, some of the more unusual items, aside from the fingernail and human tooth, were meat inside a chocolate yoghurt, a chicken’s head inside a pack of frozen chicken’s wings and live insects in a packet of dates.
The FSAI pointed out that the number of food-related complaints made to its food safety advice line jumped by more than 12% last year compared to the year before.
It noted that the line dealt with over 13,000 queries in 2013, but almost 3,000 of these were complaints by consumers about food or food premises – a 12.5% increase on the number of complaints handled in 2012.
Of these complaints, almost 1,200 related to unfit food, 566 related to suspect food poisoning and 587 related to hygiene standards.
All complaints received were investigated by environmental health officers.
Meanwhile other calls to the advice line included requests for information on food labeling, food legislation and training staff.
The FSAI also noted that just 33 calls in 2013 related to the horsemeat scandal, however an alert issued about a hepatitis A outbreak associated with imported frozen berries, received 267 queries.
“It is the responsibility of food businesses across the country to ensure that they provide food which does not compromise the health of anyone who eats it,” commented Edel Smyth of the FSAI.