Documents obtained by the Irish Independent show that 2011 was the worst year for food safety at the retail level in Ireland since the current enforcement system went into effect in 1999.

The newspaper, using records obtained under the Irish Freedom of Information Act, reports that Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) last year closed a record 64 restaurants, pubs, and other retail food establishments because they poised a grave risk to public health.

The Independent said the documents revealed “gory details behind the closures.”  For example, it said maggots and mold were behind the April closure of the butchery section of Cahill’s food store in Cork County. Inspectors closed the facility after maggots were found on meat debris under the cutting plate.  

It has yet to re-open.

Pests were frequently a problem, including rat and mice infestations.  Closure orders are typically lifted in Ireland as soon as the problems cited are addressed.  

Two closures involved mixing staff accommodations with food businesses, including finding such personal items as hair brushes and razors in a kitchen where no shower or bathroom facilities existed, and filthy mattresses and personal toiletries in food store room.