By Colin Gleeson for Irish Times
The Irish arm of retailer Iceland has been ordered to recall and immediately withdraw all frozen food of animal origin which has been imported into the State since March 3rd.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) served the notice on Metron Stores, trading as Iceland Ireland, on Thursday.
The food safety watchdog also directed the company to recall the products from consumers, and, as a precaution, has advised consumers not to eat any imported frozen food of animal origin bought from Iceland Ireland stores since March 3rd.
Foods of animal origin are any food products that contain ingredients that come from an animal, such as chicken, meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. The watchdog said the move was due to a number of identified breaches of food legislation and an ongoing investigation.
The reasons for the notice include inadequate evidence of traceability of imported frozen food of animal origin.
The FSAI said there have been a number of incidents of non-compliance with import control legislation in relation to frozen foods of animal origin.
It said some frozen food of animal origin has been imported into Ireland without pre-notification and completion of entry declarations and health certificates.
Discussions with the company have taken place and the investigation involves the FSAI; the Health Service Executive; the Department of Food; and the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority.
FSAI chief executive Pamela Byrne described the breaches of food law as “very serious”.
She said there have been no reports of any illness associated with the products, but that the move was being taken as the company has failed to provide valid and correct traceability documentation.
“We cannot be fully confident of the traceability and safety of these imported frozen foods of animal origin,” she said.
“It is the legal responsibility of any food business importing food into Ireland to make the correct import declarations for the food they are importing.
“All food businesses must also have full traceability information on the food they are importing, producing, distributing and selling. Due to these breaches of food legislation and in the interest of consumer protection, this action has been taken.”
The action is part of an ongoing investigation following identification by Department of Food officials in collaboration with Revenue of undeclared frozen food of animal origin with no accompanying documentation for goods being imported by Metron Stores.
This has led to the Department of Food detaining consignments and issuing an import control notice to return them to Britain or destroy them.
Officials at Dublin Port continue to assess the detained consignments to determine compliance with legal requirements and import controls.
As part of the investigation, the FSAI has informed the European Commission, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) UK, Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland, and Food Standards Scotland and are sharing relevant information to support the investigation.
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