The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) issued five enforcement orders to food businesses last month, with rodent activity, inadequate hygiene measures, and improper food storage among the issues cited.
The reports from September show inspectors discovered rodent activity at La Cave Restaurant on Anne Street South in Dublin, with the report stating "rat activity was noted in the dry goods store with evidence by means of rat dropping on the shelves and floors behind fridges and freezers".
Poor cleaning and hygiene procedures were also observed, while the inspector said there was "a lack of routine maintenance to exclude rats from the premises".
In Mrs Crogh's Bar in Thurles, Co Tipperary, pizzas were found being prepared in an area which was also being used to chop wood with an axe.
Insufficient work space for the preparation, cooking and serving of food was also noted, while a series of issues relating to the incorrect storage of food were highlighted.
Structural issues and a lack of adequate procedures to control pests were stated on the report of a food retailer operating out of Midleton Enterprise Park in Co Cork, while Domenico Take Away in Newcastle, Co Tipperary was also ordered to close due to a number of issues identified during their inspection.
The regulation breaches on the premises included inadequate pest control procedures, with flies noted throughout the site and mouse droppings in a room being used to store burger buns, as well as general cleanliness issues.
The report states the servery area, rear preparation area and the staff bathrooms were in a "generally filthy condition", and there was "an accumulation of congealed grease running down the front of the cooking equipment".
Potential for food contamination was also highlighted, as ready-to-eat pitta breads were seen being stored in a fridge next to raw pork sausages, while battered sausages were found at 25.7 degrees, and battered chicken burgers and fish were discovered at temperatures over 30 degrees.
In addition to the September Closure Orders, one Prohibition Order was also served on Brazuca Market on Parnell Street in Dublin. The reasons for the order stated in the report include lack of traceability documentation and food being stored without labels, including use by dates and allergen information.
During the month, two prosecutions were also taken by the FSAI and the HSE in relation to food businesses in Co Meath and Co Carlow.
In the case of a pub in Garryhill, Co Carlow, the business was convicted and costs of €1,500 were awarded, while the Meath-based transporter had a fine of €740 imposed after it was found to be unregistered.
Commenting on the September findings, FSAI chief executive Dr Pamela Byrne said it is a "continuous disappointment that each month food inspectors find serious non-compliances in food businesses that can put consumers’ health at risk".
"Businesses failed to comply with food safety, hygiene and proper food storage and handling standards that are in place to protect consumers’ health.
"Food businesses also need to ensure that their premises have the right food safety management procedures in place to ensure pest control and best hygiene practice at all times," Dr Byrne added.