Although the Covid-19 pandemic saw a decline in the number of cases reported to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s (FSAI) Advice Line in 2020 compared to the previous
year, complaints included finding glass in soup, live insects crawling in rice, and sewage smells in premises.
Overall, complaints dropped from 3,460 reported in 2019 to 2,772 last year, the FSAI said. Just under two-thirds of complaints made related to unfit food and poor hygiene standards, with each category almost evenly split.
Contamination of food with foreign objects was frequently reported in 2020, including allegations of food containing insects, plastics and other foreign objects.
"Examples of complaints received included hair reported several times as being present in a number of foods; sharp glass in soup and fried noodles; live insects crawling through rice and; snails in a packet of spinach and a bag of frozen mixed fruits.
"Small pieces of stone, moths and rodent droppings in food were also reported," the FSAI said.
When it came to complaints regarding poor hygiene standards in food premises, examples included live mice and evidence of rodent activity in a café.
Staff’s lack of personal hygiene, handling cash and then proceeding to handle food without washing their hands, and no hot water for handwashing were some of the common themes, while the smell of sewage in food premises was also cited.