Wednesday, 04 May 2022
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) welcomed the outcome of a District Court prosecution yesterday against Mr Domenico Venditti, the former operator of Domenico Take Away, Newcastle, County Tipperary.
The District Court prosecution in Clonmel arose from four separate breaches of a Closure Order and other offences observed at the premises. The Closure Order was served under the European Union (Official Controls in Relation to Food Legislation) Regulations, 2020 (the Regulations) on 8 September 2021 for non-compliance with food legislation including inadequate procedures to control pests, failure to keep the premises clean, failure to protect food against contamination, holding foods at unsafe temperatures, lack of adequate hand washing facilities and no evidence of regular hand washing.
Mr Venditti entered guilty pleas to all nine charges brought by the FSAI. The Court found that the premises was run in an unhygienic way and expressed significant concern that Mr Venditti continued to trade in breach of the Closure Order and showed blatant disregard for the function of the FSAI. The Court imposed the following penalties for three charges (with the remaining six charges regarded as aggravating incidents):
- Failure to keep the premises clean on 8 September 2021 in breach of the EC (Hygiene of Foodstuffs) Regulations, 2006. Imprisonment for a term of three months.
- Failure to comply with a Closure Order on 17 September 2021. Imprisonment for a term of three months to run consecutively with the sentence imposed above.
- Failure to comply with a Closure Order on 10 September 2021. Fine of €500 to be paid within 12 months.
Mr Venditti was also ordered to pay a contribution of €2,500 towards the FSAI’s costs.
The premises was initially inspected on 8 September 2021 by an officer of the FSAI in the context of a national audit of food business operator compliance with meat labelling and traceability requirements. During the course of the inspection, serious and widespread non-compliance with food legislation was observed. An environmental health officer of the Health Service Executive attended the premises and it was noted that the premises was operating under extremely unhygienic and unsafe conditions, which presented a danger to public health.
Following the inspection, the FSAI served a Closure Order under the Regulations. The majority of Closure Orders are complied with promptly by food businesses. However, in this case, the food business operator repeatedly failed to comply with the order.
Speaking following the court proceedings, Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI said: “The ruling today sends a strong message to food businesses that non-compliance with food safety legislation will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Consumers have a right to safe food and today’s ruling has a positive outcome for consumers in Ireland.“