Food Safety Authority Welcomes Court Case Result

Thursday, 4 November 2021

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) today welcomed Judge Miriam Walsh’s ruling at Ballinasloe District Court in a case involving Arrabawn Co-Operative Society Limited, Kilconnell, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.

The Court ruling today convicted and fined Arrabawn Co-Operative Society Limited €40,000 for breaches of food law. The company agreed to pay the FSAI’s legal costs and a contribution to the investigation costs. A former quality manager for the company was also convicted and fined €6,500.

The case was brought by the FSAI after receipt of a protected disclosure in August 2020, which resulted in an investigation led by the FSAI, in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). The investigation found that documents had been illegally forged or altered and that these documents were then provided to business customers, third-party auditors, and to FSAI and DAFM authorised officers.

The breaches of food law of which Arrabawn Co-Operative Society Limited pleaded guilty include:

  • two charges of possession of forged or altered documents relating to testing of pasteurised milk
  • possession of forged documents relating to testing and calibration records
  • possession of forged documents relating to packaging integrity and water treatment
  • failing to ensure that food handlers were adequately supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters
  • two charges of failing to comply with microbiological criteria for Enterobacteriaceae in pasteurised milk
  • supplying inaccurate information concerning the folic acid content of milk

Dr Pamela Byrne, CEO, FSAI said that this court decision reinforces the legal obligation that all food businesses must abide by food law, which are in place to protect consumers’ health and interests. The law requires that food businesses must provide accurate documentation in relation to the food safety practices in their business and that their teams are properly trained and adequately supervised. Customers must have confidence in their food suppliers, certain in the knowledge that the food they are purchasing is safe and trustworthy.

The role of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland is to protect consumers and raise compliance through partnership, science and food law enforcement. A statutory, independent and science-based body, the FSAI is dedicated to protecting public health and consumer interests in the area of food safety and hygiene.