A hospital kitchen in Meath had to be closed down last month because of ‘rodent activity', just weeks after a different kitchen in the same hospital was closed for the same reason.
According to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), it served a closure order on the kitchenette medical assessment unit and kitchenette female medical ward in Our Lady's Hospital in Navan on January 2.
Rodent activity included a ‘small rodent found dead in the kitchen of the medical assessment unit', rodent droppings found behind kitchen equipment and a ‘mouse caught on trap' in the female medical ward.
The FSAI's closure order stated that the presence of rodents posed ‘a risk of contamination of food with pathogenic bacteria and foreign matter resulting in an unacceptable risk to consumer safety'.
The closure order was served on the hospital's manager, Ken Fitzgibbon, on January 2, and the order was lifted on January 5, when the problems were deemed rectified.
However, on December 10, 2018, a closure order was also served on the kitchen of the male medical ward in the same hospital, after a dead rodent was discovered ‘trapped underneath the sink unit'. Fresh rodent droppings were also found.
That closure order was lifted on December 15.
Meanwhile, other food businesses served with closure orders last month included a number of takeaway restaurants. Reasons for the closures included an active cockroach infestation, dirty food storage containers with evidence of black mould and poor staff hygiene practises.
"Pests and insects can pose a grave risk to human health. Our inspectors are finding recurring incidents of filthy premises and rodent infestations in food businesses.
"Implementing and maintaining a pest control system is a basic requirement and is of the highest importance for food business operators. They have a duty of care to their customers to serve food that is safe to eat," commented FSAI chief executive, Dr Pamela Byrne.
All closure orders are displayed on the FSAI website for a three-month period. They can be viewed here