The FSAI hotline dealt with an increase in consumer calls that included dead maggots and glass found in food.
Dead maggots and glass were among the contamination complaint reports made via the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) telephone and online hotline during 2014.
Other foreign objects in foodstuffs reported by consumers included a razor blade found in minced meat, a cigarette found in a fruit brack, a fly in a jar of marmalade, an insect in an apple tart and even the the tip of an knife found in spare ribs. Takeaway food was also under the spotlight as one consumer reporting finding wire in their food.
The dedicated line dealt with over 14,300 calls that included both queries and complaints.
nearly three thousand of the calls related to complaints by consumers about food and food premises, while over 11500 calls included requests for advice from food businesses and retailers.
All complaints received by the FSAI were followed up and investigated by the HSE’s environmental health officers throughout the country.
The FSAI said that the increased activity reflected a growing demand for information about labeling requirements and also information for new food related business start-ups. However calls also reflected a growing awareness among consumers of the need to report poor hygiene practice.
The FSAI say that calls to the advice Line seeking advice showed a dramatic increase in requests for information on food labelling (up 100% on 2013), coinciding with the introduction of new laws requiring the labelling of specific allergens on all loose food. Other advice sought included information on new business startups, training, standards and legislation, as well as requests for FSAI publications.
Edel Smyth, Information Manager for the FSAI said consumers have become more vigilant in recent years and are now much more likely to report poor hygiene or food safety standards that they encounter.
" This is a welcome development and we continue to encourage anyone who has had a bad experience to report the matter to us so that the issue can be investigated directly.”
“ Poor standards are often the result of inadequate staff training and a failure to follow best practices to safeguard customers’ health. This is inexcusable given the substantial information and resources available to assist food businesses,” says Ms Smyth.
The FSAI Advice Line, which operates from 9am to 5pm weekdays, is manned by trained advisors and food scientists and can be reached on lo-call 1890 336677. Alternatively, anyone can email their enquiry to email@example.com or through the ‘make a complaint’ section of the FSAI website. The FSAI facebook and Twitter pages are also resources with up-to-the-minute information in relation food safety: www.facebook.com/FSAI and @FSAIinfo.
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