The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) saw complaints around unfit food and poor hygiene standards increase by almost one fifth (18.9%) in 2022.
A total of 7,363 queries and complaints were handled by the FSAI's advice line in 2022, it announced on Monday 20 March.
Foreign body contamination of food was most frequently reported in last year according to the authority.
Among the objects reported in food were pieces of glass, wood, plastic, paper, metal, hairs, small stones, medicine tablets, and insects.
Examples include live maggots in fried chicken, a live snail in a pack of spinach, part of a disposable glove in a rocky road biscuit, a dirty and possibly bloody plaster in a curry and a false nail in garlic cheese chips.
Complaints regarding unfit food cited meats not cooked completely, mold found on food products, food on sale past their use-by date and food served cold instead of hot, the authority has said.
The second most frequently reported topic related to poor hygiene standards.
Fish deliveries were left outside in the sun in one instance and rodent droppings were found in another.
Unfit food, poor hygiene standards and suspected food poisoning all had over 1,000 complaints each.
Mislabeling of food and incorrect allergen information had 150 and 127 complaints respectively.
The FSAI has advised that all complaints received in 2022 were followed up and investigated by food inspectors throughout the country.
Dr Pamela Byrne, chief executive of FSAI commented that the reporting of food safety issues plays a vital role in complementing the work of the food safety inspectorate.
"The increase in complaints is a positive indication of people’s heightened awareness of their right to expect high standards of hygiene and food safety in relation to food.
"We encourage anyone who encounters poor hygiene or food safety standards in a food business to report the matter to the FSAI, so that it can be investigated by the relevant food safety inspectorate,” said Dr Byrne.
The FSAI advice line is open from 10am to 4pm weekdays and is manned by food scientists and trained advisors and can be reached at email@example.com.