A cigarette butt in a bag of chips, a human nail in a takeaway, and a live insect found in a pre-packed dessert were just some of the whopping 3,202 complaints received by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.
A report revealed that “contamination of food with foreign objects was frequently reported by consumers”.
Further complaints included allegations of food contaminated with insects and glass, a long black hair in garlic sauce, and plastic rope in a takeaway.
The FSAI report said: “Other complaints regarding poor hygiene standards referred to dirty customer toilets, rats seen on the premises, dirty tables and floors, and one case of a staff member at a deli sneezing into their hands and then preparing sandwiches without washing their hands.”
Overall, the 3,202 complaints from consumers to FSAI’s Advice Line last year concerned food products and preparation, food premises and food labelling, and represented a 17% increase in the number of complaints in 2015. A breakdown of the complaints show in 2016 there were:
- 1,126 complaints on unfit food, up 7% on 2015;
- 864 complaints on hygiene standards, an increase of 34%;
- 741 complaints on suspected food poisoning, a rise of 45%;
- 221 complaints on incorrect information on food labelling, up 15%.
In 2016 alone, food inspectors served 116 enforcement orders on food businesses, 94 of which were closure orders, three improvement orders and 9 prohibition orders.
There were 54,941 food inspections by official agencies last year, 6,404 of which were unscheduled inspections. The authority issued 39 food alerts throughout 2016. These warnings led to either product recalls or withdrawals from the market and are the highest number of food alerts in 10 years.