Some 61 food businesses were served with closure orders by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) due to breaches in food safety legislation last year, with Dublin, Roscommon and Cork being the top three worst offenders.
The figures, which were obtained by thejournal.ie, reveal that the majority of closures were hygiene-related and split nearly 50:50 between restaurants and takeaways. Offences included businesses being unclean and many described in closure orders as being "in a filthy condition"; failures regarding food safety procedures and pest control; as well as the use of unfit equipment on the premises.
The HSE, which holds the contract from the FSAI for inspecting food businesses, inspected 36,353 businesses by rota or due to a complaint in 2015. Complaints have ranged from a human nail being found in a takeaway meal; to a live insect being in a packaged dessert; plastic rope in a takeaway meal; glass in a dessert; and a cigarette butt found in a bag of chips.
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Of the 61 orders served over the course of the year - one business was closed twice - two Dublin restaurant orders were lifted the day that they were given, but the average time for an order to be lifted was nearly 10 days. However, one Temple Bar food business took 224 days to get its closure order lifted.
Ultimately, two businesses in Cork, one each in Dublin and Meath failed to get their closure orders lifted, with the Meath business described by an inspector as making "no effort to comply with a previous inspection carried out in 2015".