Food Safety Authority of Ireland probes Rachel’s claim

The statutory body responsible for food consumer protection has confirmed it is investigating an allegation that a Cork restaurant may have misinformed customers over the source of products on its menu.

Mark Cribbin of Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms claimed Rachel’s on Washington St, Cork City, run by chef Rachel Allen, listed his products as being served there.

Mr Cribbins said that is not the case and he took to social media to highlight his concerns.

He also criticised the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) for failing in its duties to protect the good name of producers.

Rachel’s apologised “unreservedly to any customers who may not have been advised that the mushrooms were not Ballyhoura Mushrooms and to all at Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms”.

In a statement, the restaurant said it originally used Ballyhoura mushrooms sourced from a farmers’ market at Mahon Point and, at the beginning of July, the menu was updated to include a new dish, Ballyhoura Mushroom Risotto.

However, the eatery said it could not establish a supply of Ballyhoura Mushrooms from the supplier and so sourced wild mushrooms elsewhere.

“Although it was our firm intention to revert to using Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms again, once we could source a supply, we should have changed our menu to reflect this, but, unfortunately, due to a breakdown in communications internally this did not happen.”

Meanwhile, it emerged Mr Cribbin had similar claims against some other restaurants.

The producer told the Irish Examiner he had no satisfaction from other complaints he submitted to the FSAI on the matter.

He revealed an official at the FSAI even told him he should take it as a “compliment” that some restaurants are claiming they use Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms, although the Limerick-based company did not supply the specific businesses.

The FSAI, meanwhile, did not address the claim yesterday but confirmed it had received a complaint.

“It is important to note that the Ballyhoura district extends to covers the areas of east Limerick and north Cork where there are a number of mushroom gatherers,” said a spokesperson for the FSAI.

“The HSE’s environmental health officers, working under service contract to the FSAI, carry out inspection and oversight functions in food businesses to ensure compliance with legal standards and codes of best practice.”


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