The 1950s rules regarding domestic animals (dogs and cats) in food premises have been repealed and while domestic animals can be permitted in food premises, at the food business operator’s discretion, under Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 access by domestic animals is prohibited to food premises or parts of food premises where food is prepared, handled or stored, which may be applicable to premises such as kitchens, supermarkets and shops.
Where allowed by law, the decision to permit access to animals ultimately rests with the food business operator. Where access is granted, however, the food business operator must be able to demonstrate that such access will not pose an undue risk of contamination of foodstuffs. In deciding where and when access may be permitted, the food business operator must identify potential hazards, consider the likelihood and severity of the risks and determine effective controls.
It should be noted that the exception is that food business operators should allow access for:
- Guide dogs to help people who are vision impaired
- Assistance dogs for families of children with autism
- Assistance dogs for adolescents with autism
- Companion dogs for persons with other disabilities
- Pups and dogs in training who will go on to qualify as the above categories of dog
Food Safety Authority of Ireland