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Scientific Committee Meeting - 15 May 2019

Minutes of the Meeting of the Scientific Committee of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland on Wednesday 15 May 2019 at 2pm in the FSAI – The Market 1.


  • Prof. Albert Flynn (Chair) [AF]
  • Prof. Brian McKenna [BMcK]
  • Ms Ita Saul [IS]
  • Dr Donal Sammin [DS]
  • Dr Eleanor McNamara [EMcN]
  • Dr Michael O’Keeffe [MOK]
  • Mr Ray Parle [RP]


  • Dr Wayne Anderson [WA]
  • Dr Mary Flynn [MFL]
  • Ms Oonagh Lyons [OL]
  • Ms Judith Giles [JG]


  • Dr Mark Fenelon [MF]
  • Dr Margaret O’Sullivan [MOS]
  • Prof. Kevin Cashman [KC]
  • Ms Paula Barry Walsh [PBW]
  • Mr John Keegan [JK]
  • Dr P J Cullen [PJC]
  • Dr Geraldine Duffy [GD]


Noted: There were no disclosures of interest.


Noted: The draft minutes were agreed.


Noted: Most of the actions were completed or were on the agenda for discussion. The following updates were provided:

  • The annexes to the new technologies report will be completed by Pat O’Mahony’s team.
  • The Rules of Procedure were amended and will go to the Board for approval in June.
  • DS is progressing the setting up of the MAP Subcommittee with John Matthews.
  • The RfA on ‘Scientific Recommendations for Health Eating Guidelines for Older Adults’ has been updated and was discussed with the Department of Health.
  • WA noted that the draft work plan can be finalised as the changes relate only to the progress of work projects. DS asked about the work on the use of coccidiostats in poultry as DAFM have some concerns on this.

Noted: WA explained the electronic sign off procedure. Where scientific advice is agreed subject to some changes being made, the report can be updated and sent for electronic sign off. Any further changes suggested after this are brought to the Chair. If substantive changes are proposed, the Chair can call another meeting of the Committee. A reply is needed from all Committee members for electronic sign off but how this is done needs to be clarified.

Action: WA/MF to make a decision regarding the project ‘The food safety and nutritional aspects of thermal processes (total thermal loading) applied to dairy products’.

Action: MF/POM to circulate the new technologies report including the annexes to the Committee for electronic sign off by June/July.

Action: JG to circulate the updated RfA for information.

Action: WA/JG to review electronic sign off.

Action: WA to discuss the coccidiostats work with Lisa O’Connor. WA/JG to update the work plan and circulate to the Committee.


Noted: The proposed vitamin D recommendation was discussed. Any recommendation should only be made based on scientific evidence. Information on vitamin D (what it does, its effects, risk factors) has been included in an appendix to the report. There is an increasing number of vitamin D fortified foods on the market and this is having a positive impact on status. The UL for children 1-5 years old is ≥50ųg and it was agreed that there is no evidence of a safety issue with a 5ųg supplement. The target intake of vitamin D is ≥10ųg but most children in this age group do not achieve this level. The need to achieve this target was discussed. But it is difficult to clinically identify deficiency. It is also difficult to define ‘at risk’ groups. The need for vitamin D is greater in the winter time. The concern of over-consumption of vitamin D and potential toxicity was mentioned. The Committee agreed a 5ųg vitamin D supplement for 1-5 year olds from Halloween to St Patrick’s Day. It should also be made clear that this supplement should not exceed 5ųg. The rationale for safety, need and use in winter months must be clearly outlined and explained in the report, as discussed.

Noted: The iron recommendation for 1-3 year olds <25th growth percentile was agreed with the addition of a statement to explain that dietary intake of iron is unlikely to be sufficient for smaller children in this age group and also clarification on the use of iron-fortified full fat milk.

Noted: There was a discussion on the recommendation on fortified milk being a source of iron, vitamin D and n-3 PUFA for 1-3 year olds and also on sugar coated cereals. The other recommendations in the report were reviewed and simplified. The chapters in the body of the report will need to be updated to reflect the recommendations agreed. It was agreed that the updated recommendations section and vitamin D section would be circulated with changes tracked by next week. The full report will be circulated after that for electronic sign off. The Committee also decided that the full report must be signed off before being released to the Department of Health.

Action: IS/MFL/OL to update the report with the suggestions agreed by the Committee, which will be circulated as follows: (1) Recommendations & vitamin D sections by next week and (2) final report to follow in June.

5. AOB

Noted: There were no items discussed under AOB.


Noted: The next meeting will take place on 26 September in the Science Gallery.