An animal’s tooth in jam, a beetle in a burger and a worm in a chicken nugget were among thousands of complaints made to food safety chiefs last year, they have revealed.
Other food contamination scares at restaurants and food outlets throughout the country included a snail found in a pick ‘n’ mix bag of sweets, a metal screw in a cake and a sharp piece of glass in a packet of frozen peas.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), which is charged with making sure traders serve food that is fit to eat, said it received 2,739 complaints from customers during 2015.
Other complaints included cases of mouldy bread being used to make sandwiches in food outlets, undercooked food being served, out-of-date food being sold in shops and strange tastes coming from food.
Edel Smyth, of the FSAI, said consumers are much less tolerant now of poor food hygiene and safety.
“In recent years, consumers have become much more conscious about the food they consume and are increasingly vigilant about food safety issues,” she said.
“There is now a low level of tolerance around poor hygiene standards and food that is unfit to eat in particular.
“This is a welcome development and is reflected in the level of complaints we receive directly from consumers.”
Ms Smyth said the FSAI encourages anyone who has had a bad food safety experience to report the matter to the authority.
All complaints are followed up and investigated by enforcement officers throughout the country, she added.
The number of complaints specifically about poor hygiene standards at food outlets jumped 14% last year – up to 643 – compared with the previous year.
There was a 10% rise in complaints about incorrect information on food labelling while the number of consumers who contacted the authority about food that was unfit to eat dropped 12%.
There was also a 4% dip in complaints about food poisoning, down to 510.