Seven food premises were issued with enforcement orders by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) last month for breaches of food safety legislation.
Three establishments in Dublin, three in Galway and one in Cork were ordered to close.
The FSAI listed a variety of reasons for non-compliance with food safety laws, including rodent dropping on a floor adjacent to a kitchen and at the back of freezers, or where no adequate pest control measures were in place.
In one of the premises, "rat activity" was identified in an area used for washing equipment, preparing sushi rice, and preparing ingredients for soup.
Health officers found an accumulation of rubbish bags, food waste and debris, while in another location a slug was found on a wall adjacent to the dishwasher.
Lack of hygiene was noted in several places, with containers of food stored on the floor of the premises which was in a greasy and dirty condition throughout, no evidence of hand washing or soap at wash hand basin, and dirty cloths used to clean surfaces and crockery.
Cooked rice and raw meat were also found to be stored at ambient temperatures.
Here are the full list of enforcement orders issued for March:
Commenting today, Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive of the FSAI, said food businesses are not providing sufficient care for their customers if they do not have a pest control system in place.
“The most common non-compliances identified in Irish food businesses during March were a significant lack of pest control, coupled with filthy conditions," she said.
“Food businesses run the risk of making their customers sick through exposing food to pests and ruining their reputation with consumers by neglecting basic food safety management and hygiene standards. Negligent practices will not be tolerated,” she said.
Under the FSAI Act, 1998, a Closure Order is served where it is deemed that there is or there is likely to be a grave and immediate danger to public health at or in the premises or where an Improvement Order is not complied with.
Under the EC (Official Control of Foodstuffs) Regulations, 2010, Closure Orders and Prohibition Orders are served where there is a non-compliance with food legislation.
An Improvement Order may be issued by the District Court if an Improvement Notice is not complied with within a defined period. Further non-compliance can result in a Closure Order also being served.
A Prohibition Order is issued if the activities (handling, processing, disposal, manufacturing, storage, distribution or selling food) involve or are likely to involve a serious risk to public health from a particular product, class, batch or item of food. The effect is to prohibit the sale of the product, either temporarily or permanently.
Further information on the Enforcement Orders is published on the FSAI’s website at https://www.fsai.ie/