A HSE environmental health service investigation is ongoing into the sale of jams and preserves by two self-styled hermits in West Cork.
Mother Irene Gibson and Sr Annemarie Loeman have been selling jams and preserves at locations in Skibbereen and Clonakilty in recent months. However, the HSE has confirmed to The Southern Star that they have received a complaint and that an investigation is underway.
The two hermits are currently living in what amounts to a series of garden sheds at an unauthorised development at a site in Corran, Leap where, according to their own website, they have no running water, electricity or sewage facilities, and where the jams are being manufactured.
A statement from the office of the Bishop of Cork and Ross last year clarified that the women ‘do not belong to any religious community which is in communion with the Catholic Church’.
Mother Irene is also subject to a court ruling ordering the two hermits to vacate the site at Corran before the end of June 2021. They have described the Council’s decision to bring proceedings under the State’s planning laws as ‘the malicious work of Satan’.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) says anyone wishing to sell food must be (1) registered or approved by their local HSE office and (2) have minimum safety and hygiene facilities, with cleaning, food safety training and refrigeration (a separate fridge is required).
‘The HSE Environmental Health Service received one complaint forwarded by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) in relation to this business,’ a spokesperson for the HSE said.
‘All complaints are investigated under relevant food safety legislation and appropriate action taken if required. Investigations can take time to reach conclusion. The HSE does not comment on the outcome of individual investigations.’