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food safety Rodent droppings in meals and insects found crawling in rice among 2,772 complaints to FSAI

Some of the complaints included sharp glass in soup and fried noodles, live insects crawling through rice and snails turning up in a packet of salad.

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Chef holding mouth watering pasta salad, ready to serve.

Chef holding mouth watering pasta salad, ready to serve.

Chef holding mouth watering pasta salad, ready to serve.

CONTAMINATION of food with foreign objects such as insects, plastics and glass was frequently reported to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) last year.

The FSAI received 2,772 complaints to its phone line, with more than a third (34pc) relating to unfit food.

Some of the complaints included sharp glass in soup and fried noodles, live insects crawling through rice and snails turning up in a packet of salad.

Small pieces of stone, moths and rodent droppings in food were also reported and hair was found in food several times.

Thirty per cent of complaints related to poor hygiene standards, with customers reporting live mice evident in some premises, while the smell of sewage in a food business was also reported to the authority.

Other complaints included a lack of personal hygiene among staff, instances of staff handling cash and then handling food without washing their hands and food outlets having no hot water facilities for hand washing.

The number of complaints was down last year on 2019 figures, but the FSAI said this was largely due to food businesses being closed because of the pandemic.

There were 937 complaints about unfit food, 823 on hygiene standards, 429 on suspected food poisoning, 100 on incorrect information on food labelling and 78 on non-display of allergen information.

Dr Pamela Byrne, chief executive of the FSAI, said: "Our advice line has been a valuable resource for consumers who continued to contact us with complaints about food safety and hygiene in food businesses, even with the Level 5 restrictions.

"This resulted in the temporary closures of many food businesses.

"The consistently high number of complaints shows us that consumers are continuing to grow increasingly aware of their right to safe food, and also the food safety and hygiene standards which should be in place across all food businesses."


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