The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has announced on Tuesday that the "1950s rules" regarding domestic animals (i.e. cats and dogs) have been repealed.
Restaurant owners will have to make certain provisions to ensure that no domestic animal can access any area where food is prepped or stored (that means technically not in a supermarket where open food may be on display).
So, can I bring my dog/cat into a restaurant?
Basically, it's up to the owner! You can bring your pooch in with you at the discretion of the owner of the food business, who must have adequate procedures in place to prevent domestic animals from gaining access to places where food is prepared, handled or store.
However, if permitted by the operator, it is then up to them to show that letting the dogs and cats in will not pose a risk of contamination.
If the operator wants to let the animals in, they have to take into account potential hazards and severity of risks that could be caused by permitting access.
There are some exceptions to the rule - as pointed out by FSAI in their statement - and food business operators should always allow access for guide dogs etc.
Access to customer dining areas of restaurants and bars could be permitted by the food business operator, at his or her discretion if:
- Such access to customer dining areas is taken into account within the food safety management system in operation in the food business
- The dining areas are monitored
- Every effort is taken to ensure that food cannot be contaminated
- Dogs and other pets are kept under the control of the owners, and
- Proper procedures are in place to deal with any contamination of the premises.