A mouse, a bone and worms were among the foreign objects found in food complained about to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) last year.

The mouse was found in a punnet of strawberries, the bone in a bar of chocolate and the worms in frozen dumplings.

Other complaints made about objects found in food included a stone in black pudding, part of a latex glove in a bag of spinach, a shard of glass in a loaf of bread, a metal shaving in takeaway noodles and a metal pin in a prepacked salad.

Commonly reported foreign objects in food included plastic, hair, insects, glass, stones and wood.

Foreign objects in food fall under unfit food, which was the second-most reported complaint to the FSAI last year.


Almost 60% of complaints made to the FSAI last year related to poor hygiene and food being unfit for consumption.

Some 32% of the 4,395 complaints to the FSAI advice line in 2023 were about poor hygiene, while 27% related to food unfit for consumption and almost 27% on suspected food poisoning.

Overall, there was an 8.3% increase in complaints to the FSAI last year, with all complaints investigated by food inspectors.

Poor hygiene standards includes staff not having their hair covered during food preparation, toilets being dirty, staff handling food and cash with the same gloves, food unprotected from contamination, bins outside overflowing and attracting animals, dirty fridges, food not being stored correctly, visibly dirty premises and rodents spotted.

On suspected food poisoning, chicken, beef, fish and shellfish were the most commonly mentioned foods.

Advice line

Chief executive officer of the FSAI Pamela Byrne said the advice line is a valuable resource for the public in making food safety complaints.

“While routine inspections are carried out regularly, reports from the public help to identify specific issues, ensuring swift identification of potential threats to public health.

“The increase in complaints reflects a growing awareness among the public of their right to safe food and the importance of high standards of food safety and hygiene,” she added.

The FSAI’s advice line also offers advice and information.

In 2023, there were 3,337 queries from people working in the food industry, food safety consultants, researchers, consumers and others.

Popular topics included how to start a food business, requests for FSAI publications, food labelling information, best practice in food businesses, food safety training and imports/exports.