An ice cream shop in Dublin was issued with a closure order last month after rodent droppings were found in its storage area.
Teddy’s Ice Cream on Dun Laoghaire's east pier battery was among the five closure orders issued by the Food Safety Authority (FSAI) in July.
Rodent droppings were found in its storage area, which left packaging and foodstuffs exposed to contamination.
It was also found that the storage area was very poorly pest proofed.
Food Safety Inspectors concluded the shop was "a grave and immediate danger to public health", and that its food and packaging storage unit be closed.
A spokesperson for Teddy’s Ice Cream said: "Unfortunately a storage unit for our small concession at Dun Laoghaire’s East Pier was served a closure notice last month. This does not impact any other stores.
"This concession has been closed since the middle of March, to adhere to the Covid-19 Government recommendations. Before it’s closure, the unit was not used to store food for service. The issues outlined are being dealt with and the unit will not be used in the future.
"We will ensure this is not an issue in the future and want to reassure our loyal customers that we will continue to serve our freshly whipped and soft scoop traditional ice-cream in the safest way, while adhering to social distancing.”
Rats were also an issue at the AIM Cash & Carry in Clondalkin, Dublin.
Part of the premises was ordered to be closed after an open chocolate bar was found under shelving in the rear store and droppings spotted beside the partially eaten product.
Overall the authority issued five closure orders and two prohibition orders on food businesses last month.
Five closure orders were served under the FSAI Act, 1998 on:
* AIM Cash & Carry (Closed activity: all food sales), Unit 20, Robinhood Industrial Estate, Clondalkin, Dublin 22
* Londis (Closed Areas: The deli counter, the butcher counter and preparation rooms and store rooms off the deli/butcher counters), 38 Fassaugh Avenue, Cabra, Dublin 7
* Teddy’s Ice Cream (Closed area: food and packaging storage unit at the side of the premises only), East Pier Battery, Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin *
WW Poultry (Cold Store), Unit 24 Orion Business Centre, Northwest Business Park, Ballycoolin, Dublin 15
* Indian Prince (Restaurant/Café), Unit 16, Kilminchy Court, Portlaoise, Co. Laois
Two prohibition orders were served under the FSAI Act, 1998 on:
* WW Poultry (Cold Store), Unit 24 Orion Business Centre, Northwest Business Park, Ballycoolin, Dublin 15
* AD Cash and Carry Limited (Wholesaler/Distributor), Unit 4, St James Industrial Park, Kylemore Way, Inchicore, Dublin 8 Dr Pamela Byrne, chief executive of the FSAI, said as well as the breaches of food legislation, they also identified some food businesses selling food with no regulatory oversight for food safety and consumer protection.
"A number of serious incidents have been identified where authorised officers found people operating out of food premises or vehicles where no adherence to basic food safety and hygiene practices where in place.
"On another occasion, a wholesale business was operating in filthy conditions with unfit and out of date food, whilst another establishment had a significant level of unlabelled and untraceable food on its premises.
"In all these cases, authorised officers used enforcement powers to mitigate the risk to consumers from these business operations.
"However, we would be concerned that this could be reflective of a growing level of unscrupulous operators seeking to make a profit, at the expense of public health.
"We would urge consumers to question anyone offering them food for sale that seems unusual or that has no food labels on the packaging.
"We would also ask food businesses not to purchase food from unregistered/unapproved suppliers.
"Larger food businesses should ensure, when selling commercial quantities of food, that the buyer is a registered or approved food business operator."
"Anyone who is selling food must register with or have their business approved by a competent authority and abide by food law.
"This is to protect consumers’ health in relation to food as each registered/approved business then comes within the food safety inspection process."