Recent food-poisoning outbreaks could have been avoided with simple, cost-free measures, says a leading scientist.
Dr Patrick Wall, the new chief executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, said: "We're not learning from the disasters. People don't deliberately poison their customers, it's that they don't think."
According to figures from the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, the three most repeated faults in catering are in storing food, which accounted for 253 outbreaks over four years, inadequate cooking (248) and cross-contamination (218).
"People in hotels are under pressure. They're rushing around and don't bother to wipe down a surface. People also prepare and store food too far in advance. Outbreaks occur in a lot of buffets," said Wall.
Of 500 food poisoning outbreaks recorded for the catering sector over four years, more than 200 were in restaurants and 193 in hotels. Over one quarter were caused by salmonella, and more than half occurred in the summer.