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Scientific Committee Meeting - 14 May 2024

Tuesday, 14 May 2024 @ 10.30am (online)


Members Present

  • Martin Cormican (Chair) (MC)
  • Alan Kelly (AK)
  • Andrew Flanagan (AF)
  • Ann Marie Part (AMP)
  • Anne Molloy (AM)
  • Dagmar Stengel (DS)
  • Dolores O’Riordan (DOR)
  • Geraldine Duffy (GD)
  • Ita Kinahan (IK)
  • Kevin Cashman (KC)
  • Mark Fenelon (MF)
  • Montserrat Gutierrez (MG)
  • Séamus Fanning (SF)

FSAI Staff Present

  • Wayne Anderson (WA)
  • Pat O’Mahony (POM)
  • Lisa O’Connor (LiOC)
  • Joe Hannon (JH)
  • Micheál O’Mahony (MOM)
  • Rob Phillips (RP)
  • Mary Flynn (MFl)
  • Judith Giles (JG)


  • Lois O’Connor (LOC)
  • Martin Wilkinson (MW)

1.    Disclosures of Interest

The Chair welcomed the members to the meeting. There were no disclosures of interest.

2. Matters Arising from the Meeting Minutes of 11 December 2023

There were no matters arising from the minutes.

3. Update from Analytical Methods Subcommittee

Draft report on ‘The suitability of analytical methods for food authenticity use

The Chair thanked IK and the subcommittee members for their work on the report. IK thanked the FSAI staff for their help in incorporating the feedback from the Scientific Committee and making the report more concise. There was positive feedback from the Scientific Committee and the following was noted:

  • A clearer title was agreed for the report.
  • It was agreed that the text answering the two questions is useful and should remain as part of the Executive Summary, with a sentence linking them into this section.
  • The answers to the questions were reviewed and some amendments agreed.
  • Permissions must be sought to use figures and diagrams from publications that may be included in the report. Websites can be checked for copyright permissions. Another option is to construct de novo diagrams. Some figures will be removed.
  • The use of names of particular manufacturers in the text will be reviewed to ensure that the report does not appear to endorse any specific proprietary technology.
  • Abbreviations need only be included in the table of abbreviations if they appear multiple times in the report, otherwise they can be explained in the text when used.
  • The definitions of terms in Section 3 should not be included also in the Glossary.
  • Various editorial and technical comments were discussed, addressed, and documented.
  • The annotations for references need to be checked for consistency.
  • The numbering of sections needs to be reviewed.
  • It was agreed that recommendations are not needed for this report.
  • Appendix 2 must be completed and abbreviations within the table explained in a footnote.

MC confirmed that the report has in principle been approved by the Scientific Committee. The changes agreed need to be made and the report then sent to the committee for electronic sign off, if possible by the end of June. MC thanked everyone for their input.


  • IK/POM to update the report and circulate for electronic sign off.

4.    Update from Biological Safety Subcommittee

GD noted that the Biological Safety Subcommittee met on 10 May to progress the work on the two requests for advice (RfAs):

  1. Risk Ranking of Microbiological Hazards: This is progressing well with FSAI technical support. The list of hazards was reviewed and a final list of seven was agreed. The data to calculate the burden of illness has been collected and a meeting to agree the underestimation factors is scheduled in June. There was feedback on the calibration questionnaire for the expert elicitation on source attribution and these will be updated. GD will circulate a first draft of the report to the Scientific Committee at the next meeting and the subcommittee will aim to complete the work by spring/summer 2025.
  2. Hepatitis E in Pigs and Pigmeat WG: The WG, chaired by Helen O’Shea and supported by MOM, has met three times and is working on the introduction/background section of the report which will be used to answer the questions in the RfA. The WG will share the first draft of their report with the subcommittee at their next meeting.

5.    Update from PHN Subcommittee

KC confirmed that the Healthy Eating Guidelines for Adolescents WG met in January where they agreed the parameters for the modelling work that is being carried out this year. There are six subsets being modelled: boys and girls and, within these, omnivores, vegetarians and vegans. The timelines for the work may need to be extended due to the changeover of students and the replacement of the Technical Executive in the FSAI team. The group will meet in the summer to review the data for the boys. KC will give the Scientific Committee a first draft of the report in early 2025 which will include the boys’ data. The modelling for the girls will be ongoing at that stage.

6.    Update from Chemical Safety Subcommittee

AF noted that the Chemical Safety Subcommittee held a meeting in March where the two RfAs were discussed:
(1)    Dioxins & PCBs WG: work on the production methods is ongoing by FSAI staff.
(2)    Total Diet Study (TDS) and Biomarkers Working Group (WG): the membership of the WG was updated and a meeting of the WG has been arranged for May to progress Q3 on biomarkers.

AF thanked FSAI staff for their support.

7.    Update from Food Hygiene Rating Systems Subcommittee

RP provided an update on this new subcommittee. DOR will chair the group and the membership (10) is being finalised currently. An SFI research fellow working with FSAI will assist with the work and has produced a primer document which includes a detailed literature review. A potential date for the first meeting has been identified and a work plan drafted. This will include presentations from other countries and legal and academic perspectives.

8.    Publication of Scientific Committee Opinions

A proposal for the publication of Scientific Committee opinions in the EFSA Food Risk Assess Europe (FRAE) open access journal was discussed and agreed. Authors must be identified for publication and essentially the subcommittee or working group who draft the report will be offered authorship, plus FSAI staff leading on the work and any other significant contributor.

9.    Work Plan

WA updated the work plan to include the status of projects. It was agreed to note that Q1 & Q2 of the RfA on the Total Diet Study have been adopted.


  • WA to update the work plan for the website.

10.    Correspondence

There was no correspondence received.

11.    AOB

It was noted that, as per the Rules of Procedure, a member is required to return declaration of interest forms and engage with the committee in order to continue to participate in the work of the committee.

12.    Date of Next Meeting

The Chair proposed a face-to-face meeting in late September. He thanked the members for a good discussion at the meeting and for their ongoing commitment to support the work of the committee.

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