Monday, February 7, 2011

Are these restaurant owners deluded?

I've written here before about breaches in food safety in Irish restaurants and it seems January was a pretty popular month for it - three eateries were shut down last month because of the risks they were taking with food, and ultimately customer's health. It seems like madness to me that in a time when businesses are trying to generate new customers, you would take shortcuts with food to the extent that the Food Safety Authority end up closing you down.

Are these people thinking straight at all? Is it a case of - "Okay, that ham is a week past its sell by date but sure if we sling it on top of a pizza and no one will notice". Em, I think they will; customers aren't stupid and neither or the health authorities. And what we don't know, is how many people who ate food from these places ended up ill before they were closed down.

There are 49,000 food businesses in Ireland. While the times may be tight this is not an excuse to be cutting corners to this extent. Dr. Alan Reilly from the FSAI pointed out that "These errors include dirty premises and unhygienic practices, all leading to a variety of potential food safety hazards, be it contamination of foodstuffs; cross-contamination from raw to cooked foods and improper storage of food. It affects not only the premises involved, but the industry as a whole".
He's right - it does affect the industry as a whole - it knocks our faith in what we are eating and makes us wonder if there is bad stuff going on behind the kitchen doors of our favourite restaurant. All we can hope for is that this lastest round of closures and enforcement orders might give the bad practitioners a wake up call. For those of you looking to breathe a sigh of relief, the food outlets closed down were -
• Wok In take-away, 9 Captains Hill, Leixlip, Kildare
• The Burger Hut Foodstall, Knockcroghery, Roscommon

• Rezmerita Plus Ltd supermarket trading as Polonez,(Delicatessen and Butcher area only), Athlone Shopping Centre, Athlone, Westmeath

Not only that, but last month the FSAI served Improvement Orders on the following businesses whose food safety practises were not up to scratch, hopefully they will take note and pay a bit more attention to what customers are eating:

• Roma Take Away, 4 Lower Kennelsfort Road, Palmerstown, Dublin 20 and
• Bassetts at Woodstock restaurant, Woodstock, Inistioge, Kilkenny
While we know the vast majority of Irish restuarants have a great record in food safety and hygiene it's worth remembering that there are outlets out there who don't place this as a priority. So for the moment I will continue to keep and eye on the bad ones, while continuting to applaud the good guys. Happy eating folks x

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