The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) received a total of 3,414 complaints by consumers in 2021.

Of the complaints received through the authority’s advice line, 36% were relating to unfit food and 24% for poor hygiene standards.

The FSAI also noted that foreign body contamination of food was frequently reported in 2021.

Some of the reported objects in food included, strands of hair, insects, stones, pieces of plastic, metal, and glass.

Examples of some of these cases were glass found in porridge and sweet potato fries, hair found in numerous takeaway foods, metal found in baked beans, a maggot found in soup as well as a metal screw in spareribs.

Other complaints received by the FSAI regarding unfit food cited a can of orange juice filled with beans, a piece of wood found in a container of soup, an exploding bottle of fruit juice, a spider in a takeaway cocktail and a disposable glove in a pie.

Breakdown of complaints

The FSAI gave a breakdown of how many complaints were received in each category.

  • 1,235 complaints were received on unfit food.
  • 815 complaints were received on hygiene standards.
  • 622 complaints were received on suspect food poisoning
  • 162 complaints were received on unregistered food businesses.
  • 139 complaints were received on incorrect information on food labelling.
  • 97 complaints were received on non-display of allergen information.
  • Some 344 complaints fell under an ‘other’ category which according to the FSAI may include unregistered food businesses, COVID-19 restrictions, or advertising complaints.

    All complaints received by the FSAI in 2021 were followed up and investigated by food inspectors throughout the country.

    Dr Pamela Byrne, chief executive of FSAI commented: “We welcome consumers and food businesses contacting us via our advice line.

    “Consumers have a right to safe food. Having people spotting and reporting inappropriate and unsafe food and practices greatly aids our work with the food inspectors and provides us with information that we can act upon.”