Friday, 25 March 2022
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) today welcomed the outcome of High Court proceedings in relation to a food business operator’s failure to comply with a Closure Order served under the European Union (Official Controls in Relation to Food Legislation) Regulations, 2020. In delivering judgment, Ms. Justice Hyland stated that she was satisfied to grant the order on the terms sought and upon consideration of the Notice of Motion and the various affidavits put before the Court by the FSAI. The High Court Order directed the food business operator, Mr Alan Donohoe trading as Hempture and Hempland, 6, 6a, 7, 7a Abbey Street Upper, Dublin 1 to cease with immediate effect, all activities of the food business operated by him, its establishments, holdings or other premises including internet sites and social media sites. The Closure Order which the food business operator failed to comply with was served for non-compliance with food legislation. The Regulations permit that if a food business breaches a Closure Order, the authorities may apply to the High Court for an order directing compliance with the Closure Order.
This legal ruling was a consequence of a chain of events which resulted in joint inspections by environmental health officers of the HSE and officers of the FSAI, with support from members of An Garda Síochána which were carried out 15 April 2021 and on 4 August 2021. During the inspection of the premises, it was noted that the food business operator failed to ensure that the HSE had up-to-date information on the range of activities taking place at the establishment; there was no food safety management system in place; and there were no systems or procedures in place which allowed for traceability. This resulted in the food business operator placing unsafe food and unauthorised novel food on the market. As a result, the FSAI served a Closure Order under the European Union (Official Controls in Relation to Food Legislation) Regulations, 2020. The inspection also resulted in the seizure, removal and detention of a large quantity of products.
The vast majority of Closure Orders are complied with by food businesses. However, in this case, following monitoring by the FSAI, it was confirmed that the food business operator continued to place food on the market. This resulted in the FSAI making the application to the High Court, ordering the premises to comply with the requirements of the Closure Order. The High Court granted an interim order on 8 September 2021 to stop the activities, which has now been confirmed in the new High Court ruling.
Speaking following the ruling, Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI stated: “We are very pleased that the court ruled in our favour , in a move that protects public health. The vast majority of food businesses throughout Ireland comply with regulations, however, any incident of non-compliance with a Closure Order or any enforcement order will not be permitted. This ruling is a positive outcome for consumers in Ireland, who have a right to safe food. It also sends a strong message to the food industry that non-compliances will not be tolerated.”