Top pub hit with closure order for food safety lapse

One of the country’s best-known public houses — Morrisey’s in Abbeyleix, Co Laois — was one of seven food outlets served with a closure order for breaches of food safety legislation.

A regular stopping off point for people travelling on the old main Dublin-Cork road, the closure order, issued by the HSE, was served on the proprietor, Tom Lennon on Jun 26 and only affected the kitchen area of the premises. It was lifted two days later after it was found to be in compliance.

The closure order was issued under the EC (Official Control of Foodstuffs) Regulations. A spokesperson for the Food Safety Authority of Ireland said the legislation was used for cases of “persistent non-compliance”.

Other outlets issued with closure orders were Eatzen takeaway of Main Street, Clonee, Co Meath, and the Charcoal Kebab House restaurant, Patrick Street, Mountrath, Co Laois.

Four of the seven business premises served with closure orders were shut down under the FSAI Act after HSE inspectors considered the conditions posed a grave and immediate danger to public health. They were Doyle’s pub on College Street in Dublin; a Spar outlet on Grafton Street, Dublin; Phelan’s Home Bakery, Market Square, Portlaoise, Co Laois and Spicy Food Guru takeaway in Port Rd, Letterkenny, Co Donegal.

All closure orders were subsequently lifted after remedial action was taken by the business owners.

The HSE also secured a successful prosecution last month against Chungs at Tullio’s restaurant, Pearse Street, Ballina, Co Mayo, for breaches of food safety legislation. The restaurant was fined €300 and ordered to pay €750 in legal costs.

FSAI chief executive Alan Reilly, yesterday expressed disappointment at the high number of closure orders.

Prof Reilly urged owners of food businesses to be even more rigorous in maintaining the highest standards, stressing consumers have a right to feel confident the food they are purchasing is safe to eat.

A total of 39 enforcement orders have been served on food outlets in the Republic so far in 2012. He pointed out the need for strict adherence to hot and cold temperature controls, given bacteria can double every 20 minutes at room temperature, especially as there was a marked increase in foodborne diseases during the summer months.

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