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Closure Order Served On Tipperary Chinese ‘Take Away’.

Four food closure orders were served on food businesses in Ireland during the month of October, one of which was on a Chinese ‘Take Away’ premises in South Co. Tipperary.

The closure orders were pursuant to the FSAI Act, 1998, and the European Union (Official Controls in Relation to Food Legislation) Regulations, 2020.

All four ‘Closure Orders’; three of which were at Dublin addresses, were issued by Environmental Health Officers in the Health Service Executive, for flagrant breaches of strict food safety legislation.

The Tipperary Closure Order was served on Zhang Yu Qing and referred to the

According to the Food Hygiene Inspection Report, the Clogheen Food premises was not kept clean or maintained in good repair and condition.

Evidence provided included:-

  • Large accumulation of loose food waste, domestic waste, and recycling waste thrown in all areas of the back yard.
  • Build-up of slime and grease in ground area of backyard.
  • Food equipment and utensils stored on the ground outside and inside.
  • Uncovered ready to eat food stored in outside backyard area.
  • Embedded grease and dirt on all cooking appliances in kitchen.
  • Accumulation of dead flies on food storage shelf in cooking area.
  • Congealed grease dripping onto food preparation surfaces.
  • Food storage containers unclean and embedded with dirt.
  • Food utensils with rust evident.
  • Piping surrounding sinks embedded with congealed dirt grease and slime.
  • Mould evident on seals of chest freezer and fridges.
  • Large build-up of stale food debris around all cooking equipment.
  • Food waste bins covered in Grease, stale food and dirt not removed since day before.

Commenting on all four Closure Orders served last month, Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI, said it was disappointing that inspectors continue to find a lack of evidence of safe cleaning practices in food businesses.
Dr Byrne stated “It is a legal requirement for all food businesses to have their premises protected against pests and kept clean and yet food inspectors continue to find unacceptable levels of non-compliance with food safety legislation in some food businesses.
There is a personal responsibility for managers and all employees to comply with food safety law at all times. There can be zero tolerance for negligent practices that put consumers’ health at risk and Environmental Health Officers will use the full powers available to them under food law if a food business is found to be in breach. Consumers have a right to safe food and food businesses have a legal requirement to ensure that the food they are processing, serving or selling is safe to eat,”

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Boxty & Colcannon, Irish Food Associated With Halloween.

“Boxty on the griddle, Boxty in your pan, if you can’t make good Boxty, sure you’ll never get a man,” ~ Old Irish aphorism.

Boxty

Boxty; pronounced ‘bacstaí,’ was also known as ‘arán bocht tí,’, (Irish meaning ~ “poor-house bread”), or cáca bacstaí‎ (Irish meaning ~ “boxty cake,”), same a traditional Irish potato pancake dish.
The dish is mostly associated with the North West and Midlands of Ireland.

Colcannon

Colcannon; (Irish: ‘cál ceannann,’, meaning “white-headed cabbage”), is a traditional Irish dish made up of mashed potatoes mixed with cabbage or kale.
A now dying Irish Halloween tradition, was to serve colcannon with a ring, hidden in the mix; superstition declaring that whoever found it, was next to marry; or a hidden thimble, meaning you would remain a spinster for the coming year.
Other hidden prizes included small coins, such as a threepenny bit or a sixpenny bit; both indicating good fortune or you were about to come into sudden wealth.
Other items could also include a small stick indicating unhappiness in future marriage, or a small piece of rag denoting future poverty.

Suffice is to say that both dishes warranted the writing of songs in praise of the distinctive taste and delightful flavour of both Irish dishes.

Little Skillet Pot’ or ‘Colcannon’.

Written by Sean Nolan.

Well did you ever make colcannon
Made with lovely pickled cream,
With the greens & scallions mingled,
Like a pitcher in a dream.
Did you ever make a hole on top,
To hold the melting flake,
Or the creamy flavoured butter,
That our mother’s used to make.

Chorus:

Oh you did, so you did,
So did he and so did I.
And the more I think about it,
Sure the nearer I’m to cry.
Oh weren’t them the happy days,
When troubles we knew not.
And our mother made colcannon,
In the little skillet pot.

Well, did you ever take potato cake
And boxty to the school.
Tucked underneath your oxter,

With your books, your slate and rule.
And when teacher wasn’t looking,
Sure a great big bite you’d take,
Of the creamy flavoured soft and melting,
Sweet potato cake.

Repeat Chorus.

Well did you ever go a courting boys,
When the evening sun went down,
And the moon began a peeping,
From behind the Hill O’ Down.
And you wandered down the boreen,
Where the Clúrachán* was seen,
And you whispered loving praises,
To your own dear sweet cáilín*,

Repeat Chorus

End

* ‘Clúrachán’ ~ A mischievous fairy in Irish folklore.
* ‘Cáilín’ ~ girl.

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Consumer Prices Rose By 8.2% Over Past 12 Months To September 2022.

The CSO’s latest data (October 13th 2022), showing the national average price of groceries, consisting of essentials including bread, milk, cheese, rashers, sausages, chicken, fruit, vegetables, are now €11.00 more costly.

The average price of a large 800g white sliced pan is up 26 cents. So, if a family buys four sliced pan loaves a week, same represents an increase of over €54 per year, on purchasing just bread alone.

“Man shall not live by bread alone…….” (Matthew Ch. 4:V. 4)

Next, add bread prices to the increased price rise on full fat milk, per 2 litres, which has increased by 41 cents in the past year, while the average price of Irish cheddar, per kg, rose by €1.23; butter, per lb, up 67 cents; one dozen eggs up 12 cents; a medium size chicken up 85 cents; spaghetti up 31cents per 500g; then suddenly your grocery bill noticeably shoots further skyward.

For those of us who enjoy alcoholic beverage, the national average price of a take-home 50cl can of lager is €2.16, up 21 cents on average from September 2021, while a take-home 50cl can of cider at €2.46 is up 25 cents in the same period.
In September 2022, the national average price of a pint of stout in licensed premises was €5.14, up 19 cents a pint over the past year, while a pint of lager is costing €5.55, up 25 cents compared to that paid in September 2021.

Increased energy costs are reflected in the yearly increase of Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas & Other Fuels with electricity up 36.2%, gas up 53.1%, liquid fuels (home heating oil) up 83.8% and solid fuels up 32.5% in the year.
The annual change in Transport costs reflects a rise in the cost of diesel (+32.5%), petrol (+15.1%), purchase of motor cars (+11.2%) and airfares (+18.8%); compared with September 2021.

Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas & Other Fuels rose mainly due to an increase in the cost of electricity, liquid fuels (home heating oil), gas, solid fuels, higher rents and mortgage interest repayments.
Transport increased primarily due to a rise in prices for motor cars, diesel, petrol and services in respect of personal transport equipment. However, this increase was partially offset by lower prices for passenger transport by bus & coach and by railway.

Restaurants & Hotels prices rose, mainly due to higher prices for alcoholic drinks and food consumed in licensed premises, restaurants, cafes etc. and an increase in the cost of hotel accommodation, possibly in many cases brought about by sheer greed.

Miscellaneous Goods & Services did decrease, primarily due to a reduction in prices for motor insurance premiums, health insurance premiums, jewellery, clocks & watches.

Do not forget to budget these price rises to include the 10% increase in Local Property Tax here in Tipperary and the €1.60 per hour charges in Thurles town centre for parking your motor vehicle before you even buy one iota.

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Non-EEA Sea Fishers In Irish Fleet Become Eligible For Employment Permits.

  • Pathway to Employment Permits will allow for eventual transition to Stamp 4 immigration permission and its wider entitlements.

Government has today approved the publication of the Review of the Atypical Scheme for non-EEA Crew in the Irish Fishing Fleet. This report and its recommendations follow an extensive consultation process with stakeholders involved in the scheme.

Minister for Justice Mrs Helen McEntee, Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mr Damien English and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Mr Charlie McConalogue jointly welcome Government support for the recommended changes to the employment of non-EEA fishers in the Irish fishing fleet.

The Atypical Working Scheme (AWS) for non-EEA Crew in the Irish fishing fleet was established in 2015, as a cross Departmental response to address claims of exploitation and trafficking of undocumented non-EEA workers on certain categories of vessels, in the Irish fishing fleet.

Currently, non-EEA fishers can apply through the Department of Justice for a permission under the Atypical Working Scheme to work on a specific Irish vessel for a period of up to 12 months, but they are not eligible for consideration for the granting of an employment permit by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

The key recommendation of the Review Group is that the employment of non-EEA crew in the Irish fishing fleet should be provided for under the Employment Permit system (administered by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment), instead of the Atypical Working Scheme (administered by the Department of Justice). The sector will be required to submit a comprehensive business case to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment to support their inclusion in the Employment Permits System and a process of engagement has already begun in this regard.

The transition to the employment-permit based system would entitle employment permit holding Sea fishers to transition to a Stamp 4 immigration permission and the wider entitlements offered by that permission.

A cross-departmental group of senior officials in relevant departments and agencies will be established to oversee implementation of the transition from the current scheme to the Employment Permits Scheme. This group will be co-chaired by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. The overall time frame for implementation of the report’s recommendations is expected to be approximately 12 months.

Publishing the report today, Minister McEntee said: “The publication of this report and its recommendations is the first step in putting non-EEA Sea fishers on a similar path to other Non-EEA nationals employed in the State in terms of entitlements and protections.

Non-EEA fishers and their employers will now be entitled to apply for an employment permit through the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

These recommendations will also benefit Sea fishers employers, by streamlining the permission process and making it easier to recruit non-EEA Sea fishers.”

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue said; “I have asked my Department to examine the Review Report and to work closely with the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment with a view to ensuring the full implementation of the recommendations. I have also tasked an Bord Iascaigh Mhara with providing the fishing sector with any practical assistance necessary to support of the sectors access to the Employment Permit Scheme”.

Welcoming the publication of the report, Minister of State Damien English said: “The recommendations in this Report will go a long way to addressing the concerns raised by stakeholders in the sector. Of course, the Employment Permits system works very differently from the Atypical Working Scheme so it is proper that there will be a phased implementation in order to identify and address any challenges which arise and deal with these in the most effective way possible.”

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Concern For Irish Consumers When Buying Food.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) last week welcomed the EU-wide research conducted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The 2022 Eurobarometer on food safety, the first to be commissioned since 2019, and focused on a range of topics including concerns about food safety, trust in sources of information on food risks, and personal interest in food safety.

When asked about factors affecting food purchases, Irish consumers ranked cost (63%) as the most important consideration, with taste (54%) and food safety (52%) following close behind. Strikingly, these results are higher overall than the average top concerns across the whole EU of cost (54%), taste (51%) and food safety (46%).

Other findings from the Eurobarometer include:

  • Chief among Irish food safety concerns are food poisoning from food or drinks contaminated by bacteria, viruses, and parasites (39%); pesticide residues in food (36%); and additives like colours, preservatives or flavourings used in food or drinks (29%).
  • A strong majority of Irish consumers (82% of men and 83% of women) would change their behaviour if made aware of a foodborne disease outbreak news story, with 90% of those aged 15–24 stating they would do so.
  • When asked for their reasons for not engaging with the EU food safety system, Irish consumers (47%) responded; “I take it for granted that the food sold is safe”.

Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI said, “In the current high cost of living climate and with rising household bills, it is not surprising to see that Irish consumers report cost as the main factor when purchasing food, up 6% since 2019. However, from a food safety perspective, it is encouraging to see that Irish consumers place food safety as the third most important factor when buying food.

Over 1,000 Irish consumers were interviewed as part of this research, and 90% of those agreed that regulations are in place to ensure that the food we eat is safe, with 84% of the same respondents trusting national authorities as a source of information on food risk, a figure almost 20% higher than the EU average (66%).

75% of Irish people interviewed said they had a personal interest in the topic of food safety. We want every Irish consumer to know that the FSAI is responsive and understanding of their concerns regarding food safety. We continue to work with food businesses in Ireland to ensure that food safety regulations are complied with and that Ireland maintains its positive reputation for producing safe food. Working in conjunction with the food inspectorate and other EU food safety authorities, we will continue to protect consumers and raise compliance through partnership, science, and food law enforcement,” Dr Byrne concluded.

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