Irish authorities have closed an unregistered business for selling meat judged to be unfit to eat.
Jair Lopes Muniz of JLM Foods and JLM Family Butchers on Main Street Tyrrellspass, Westmeath, was served with a closure order in May.
The small meat manufacturing plant was not registered or approved by authorities for operations taking place, relating to storage, processing and national distribution of meat and other products.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) found products considered not to be fit for human consumption were being sold without valid shelf-lives, a lack of labeling and traceability and undeclared allergens.
Microbiological and allergen issues
As the matter is currently under investigation, an FSAI spokeswoman said the agency was not in a position to comment on what type of meat products were involved, how long JLM Foods had been illegally operating or if any related consumer complaints had been received.
No HACCP based food safety management procedures or associated monitoring records were available for inspection, Clostridium botulinum had not been identified as a microbiological hazard for vacuum-packed meats and allergens including wheat and celery had not been seen as potential food safety hazards, according to the closure order.
Raw meat preparations, such as the Linguica Toscana product, were not clearly labeled by the manufacturer to tell the consumer that thorough cooking is needed prior to consumption. Unlabeled meats in a delivery vehicle could also not be reliably traced back to the site of origin.
This company and Bruno Cesar Silva Gomes, a retailer in Bailis Manor, Navan, Co Meath, also received a prohibition order, which resulted in more than 1,500 kilograms of meat products being seized and destroyed.
As part of the prohibition order, all pack sizes, batch codes and use by dates of meat products and preparations from JLM Foods and JLM Family Butchers, were recalled as they were processed in an unapproved establishment, and were not subject to official controls.
Traceability and accuracy of the labeling information is non-compliant, according to the FSAI.
Celery and cereals containing gluten are undeclared on labels of Toscana Calabres and Linguica Toscana sausage products. The recall notice stated presence or absence of other allergens is unknown for all meat products and preparations from JLM Foods and JLM Family Butchers.
Pamela Byrne, chief executive of FSAI, said during the coronavirus pandemic, some illegal food business operators could be seeking to take advantage of consumers wishing to support firms in their own communities.
“No matter where, how or from whom consumers buy food, it must be safe to eat, produced in an approved or registered food establishment and comply with food law, so that public health is protected,” she said.
“The enforcement orders in May were served for a blatant disregard for compliance with food legislation. We are calling on everyone to be vigilant about food being offered for sale and if they are unsure or suspect there is an unusual activity being demonstrated by a retailer, processor, distributor or from a domestic dwelling, that they can contact us via our online complaint form and we will investigate.”
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)