Thursday, January 13, 2011

The latest restaurant closures, not from recession but for putting customers at risk

Throughout 2010 I ate in several Dublin restaurants which had remarkably dropped their quality since visiting in the previous year. And I don't mean serving a lower quality offering which is still great food - if a restaurant takes crab from the lunch menu to replace it with French onion soup, then that French onion soup should still be a great product, even if it's produced for a lower cost and you're charged a lower price.

Yes we know restaurants are currently under pressure but cutting corners in respect of food quality, food hygiene and regulation doesn't work - I won't be going back to any of them.

Not only does cutting the quality of your product loose you customers, it can also kill them. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) recently released their figures for 2010 - revealing a total of 73 Enforcement Orders served for breaches in food safety legislation in 2010 compared with 54 in 2009, an increase totalling 35%.

Has the recession brought about this increase? If so, restaurants operating on this basis shouldn't be in business in the first place; those who use products beyond their sell by date, skip safe practise on storing them at the correct temperatures, or supply poor foodstuffs should pay the price for breaking the rules - not the customer. The FSAI emphasised that it's unacceptable to find food businesses continuing to breach food safety laws and warned businesses to place robust food safety management systems and hygiene practices top of their agenda for the new year or face the full rigors of the law.

Last year, the FSAI served 57 Closure Orders on Irish restaurants, four Improvement Orders and 12 Prohibition Orders on food businesses throughout the country. This compares with 34 Closure Orders, seven Improvement Orders and 13 Prohibition Orders issued in 2009.
Last month - December 2010 three restaurants were closed for breaches of food safety legislation.

The December Closure Orders were served on:
• T/A Sligo Spice and Halal Point butcher shop, 14 Connolly Street, Sligo

• Pattaya Thai Restaurant, Johnstown Road, Cabinteely Village, Dublin 18

• Fish Shop (the preparation room), Main Street, Schull, Co. Cork

An Improvement Order was served on:

• Chief Changs Restaurant, Omni Park Shopping Centre, Swords Rd, Santry, Dublin 9

A Prohibition Order was served on:
• Arirang restaurant, 102 Parnell Street, Dublin 1

During the month of December, successful prosecutions were carried out by the HSE West Region on Dragon Court Chinese Restaurant and Take Away, Chapel Road, Askeaton, Limerick and by the HSE Dublin North East Region on Adezath Superstore supermarket, 298 North Circular Road, Dublin 7.

Alan Reilly who heads up the FSAI said on the 34% increase in breaches of food safety law -
“The increase is disappointing... consumers must be confident that the food they are eating is safe to eat and the FSAI will continue to take a zero tolerance policy to breaches of food safety legislation. The onus is on each individual food business to take responsibility and commit to ensuring high food safety standards."

Details of the food businesses served with these Enforcement Orders are published on the FSAI’s website. Closure Orders and Improvement Orders remain listed on the website for a period of three months from the date of when a premises is adjudged to have corrected its food safety issue, with Prohibition Orders being listed for a period of one month.

Eat safely x

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