The Food Safety Authority of Ireland handled 11,166 queries and complaints in 2011. The FSAI stated that there was an increase of over 13% in 2011 in calls relating to consumers reporting issues concerning food and food establishments. The 2,405 complaints ranged from reports of unfit food, low hygiene standards, inaccurate labelling information and cases of suspected poisoning.
The 2,405 complaints lodged by consumers related to:
- 966 complaints of unfit food.
- 497 complaints of suspected food poisoning.
- 446 complaints on hygiene standards.
- 137 complaints on incorrect information on food labelling.
- 37 complaints on incorrect advertising of food products.
- 332 other.
The Authority confirmed that contamination with foreign objects was frequently reported by consumers. In 2011, these reports included food contaminated with live and dead insects, a tooth, false nails, pieces of metal, plastic rubber, tubing and a plaster. Specific incidents cited were a small dead rodent in a bag of bananas and a bolt complete with a nut and washer in meat balls.
Speaking today about the Food Safety Authorities report Liam Moloney, a Kildare based Product Liability Solicitor said ‘’ consumers expect and are entitled to get adequate standards of food hygiene in every food establishment and across every food product they buy. Serious potential health risks are posed when poor hygiene standards apply. These standards can be as a result of shoddy practices or a blatant disregard for the health and safety of consumers”.
He continued “my advice to any consumer who has consumed unsafe or unfit food or has discovered a foreign object in any food item that they should immediately report the matter to the FSAI. If a consumer has suffered injury as a result of a foreign object or has contracted food poisoning they should seek legal advice’’.
All complaints received by the FSAI were individually followed up and investigated by environmental health officers throughout the country.