The agency responsible for seafood safety in the Republic of Ireland has recorded 18 potential breaches of food safety law in the first half of 2023.

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) is responsible for enforcement of food law in the seafood sector up to the point of retail.

Eight enforcements notices were served against businesses during the first three months of 2023 and 10 in the next quarter, as part of risk-based official controls.

Sea-Fisheries Protection Officers carried out 87 inspections from January to March 2023 in land-based establishments as well as freezer and factory vessels.

The eight enforcement notices included seven compliance notices and one prohibition order.

Paschal Hayes, SFPA executive chairperson, said: “Protecting seafood safety is a central element of our remit as a regulatory authority. Assuring consumer trust in the quality, provenance, and safety of our seafood produce, is critical to achieving the collective ambitions of the sector.

“The low level of non-compliance found illustrates the considerable efforts being made by most seafood businesses to work within the regulations, as well as the robust inspection system in place to assure and, where necessary, to enforce compliance.”

From April to June
The 10 enforcement notices in the second quarter of 2023 included six fixed payment notices, three compliance notices and one improvement notice.

One company, O Cathain Iasc Teoranta, was fined €4,500 ($4,800) at the district court of An Daingean in April.

The firm, based in Dingle, County Kerry, pled guilty to charges of breaching food safety law including the placing of unsafe bluefin tuna product on the market, failure to comply with food hygiene requirements and failures to ensure temperature control of bluefin tuna products.

The case arose following an unannounced inspection at the premises in March 2021, which also resulted in bluefin tuna prevented from being sold at retail.

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