Tuesday, 05 September 2023
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) today publishes its Audit of Official Controls in Bottled Water Establishments.
The FSAI has overall responsibility for the enforcement of food law in Ireland. It carries out official control audits to examine the effectiveness and appropriateness of official controls as implemented by official agencies in relation to food law, service contracts and Ireland’s Multi-Annual National Control Plan requirements.
This audit of official controls was undertaken as part of the FSAI’s 2022 planned program of audits. Five local Environmental Health Offices and five food business operators were audited within three regions of the Health Service Executive (HSE), between June 2022 and Sept 2022.
The objective of the audit was to assess the suitability and effectiveness of official controls carried out by the Environmental Health Service (EHS) in bottled water food business operations and to assess the compliance of selected bottled water establishments with food law.
The audit identified that there is a structured and organised system of official controls in place for the supervision of food businesses involved in bottling water. Official controls are carried out on a risk basis and there are procedures and arrangements in place to ensure the effectiveness and appropriateness of official controls. EHS documented protocols were available within each local office and were found to be comprehensive, however, there were instances identified where the requirements of certain protocols were not being adhered to in full.
Non-compliance with food law was identified within all five bottled water establishments audited. From the three large scale and two small scale bottled water establishments audited, significant non-compliance with food law was identified within the two small scale establishments. This suggested that the application of official controls was more effective and appropriate within larger scale bottled water establishments than in smaller scale establishments audited.
The report makes reference to four findings requiring corrective action which have been addressed by the HSE subsequent to the audit.