Minutes of the Meeting of the Scientific Committee of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland on Friday 3rd April 2020 at 10:30am by video conference
- Prof. Albert Flynn (Chair) [AF]
- Prof. Brian McKenna [BMcK]
- Ms Ita Saul [IS]
- Dr Geraldine Duffy [GD]
- Dr Michael O’Keeffe [MOK]
- Dr Donal Sammin [DS]
- Dr Mark Fenelon [MF]
- Mr John Keegan [JK]
- Ms Paula Barry Walsh [PBW]
- Prof. Kevin Cashman [KC]
- Dr Wayne Anderson [WA]
- Dr Mary Flynn [MFL]
- Ms Nuala Collins [NC]
- Ms Oonagh Lyons [OL]
- Ms Dorothy Guina Dornan [DGD]
- Ms Judith Giles [JG]
- Mr Ray Parle [RP]
- Dr Margaret O’Sullivan [MOS]
- Dr Eleanor McNamara [EMcN]
- Dr PJ Cullen [PJC]
- Dr Christina Tlustos [CT]
- Dr Lisa O’Connor [LOC]
- Dr Pat O’Mahony [POM]
- Mr John Matthews [JM]
This meeting was held by video conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chair welcomed everyone and thanked them for joining the meeting.
1. DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST
Noted: There were no disclosures of interest.
2. AGREE MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (6 December 2019)
Noted: The draft minutes were agreed with amendments to the PHN and MAP updates.
3. MATTERS ARISING
Noted: All actions except one were completed. The following updates were noted:
- The statement on botanicals was drafted, approved by the FSAI Board and sent the Communications Team for publication.
- The information links for industry are work in progress. To note, FSAI has joined a Head of Agencies Working Group (co-chairing with Germany), looking at this issue with a view to understand the various provisions in the EU MS and to draw up an agreed harmonized negative list as far as possible. FSAI will draw on the information obtained via this WG to collate information to put on the website. CT & NC are on the WG.
- The FSAI Science Strategy has been reviewed and sent to the Communications Team for publication. WA thanked members for their feedback.
4. DISCUSSION ON AMENDMENTS TO SC REPORT ON THE SAFETY OF VITAMINS AND MINERALS IN FOOD SUPPLEMENTS
Noted: NC explained the background to this where FSAI was tasked with producing a plain English version of this report for food business operators. A working group completed the document, however some issues and concerns arose while reviewing the report. AF outlined the four proposed changes. Three of the text changes, including an update to the National Vitamin D policy, were agreed and a thorough check of the report will be done for any other references to these changes. There was a discussion on the proposed addition of values for folic acid to certain tables in appendix V to go with the folate values already there. It was agreed to add the values for the total population in line with the table header. However, a concern was expressed that these data may be at odds with current information relating to folic acid fortification which is based on consumers only. It was agreed that a footnote would be added to the tables to say that risk assessment is based on folic acid rather than folate and that consideration should be given to whether the risk assessment should be based on folic acid intakes in the total population or in consumers only.
Action: MF/NC to update the report with the changes agreed.
5. UPDATE FROM BIOLOGICAL SAFETY SUBCOMMITTEE
Noted: GD provided an update on the Risk Ranking of Microbiological Hazards project. A list of seven hazards was agreed by the Biological Safety Subcommittee in January (biological amines will not be included as data is limited). A start was made on calculating the burden of human illness for campylobacter but HPSC input is required and, as their resources are currently focused on the COVID-19 crisis, this part of the project will be delayed. The expert elicitation work can progress alongside this work and a detailed procedure is being drafted. Additional expertise will be needed for the risk modelling. An SFI candidate chosen to work on another project in FSAI may be able to help with this. The project will not be completed by year-end and the FSAI Board has been informed and has accepted this.
6. UPDATE FROM CHEMICAL SAFETY SUBCOMMITTEE
Noted: MOK noted that the first recommendation in the Risk Ranking of Chemical Contaminants Report adopted last year was that the proposed Risk Ranking Model should be trialled on further chemicals (other than those used as examples in the report) and reviewed by the Risk Ranking WG to confirm "fitness for purpose", before eventually being implemented for the National Chemical Monitoring Programme. To progress this, the Chemical Safety group in FSAI have derived toxicology scores for a range of chemicals, using the approach outlined in the Risk Ranking Report, and have asked the members of the original Toxicological Focus Group to review these derived scores. This work is ongoing.
See agenda item 3 for the update on the botanicals work.
7. UPDATE FROM PUBLIC HEALTH NUTRITION SUBCOMMITTEE
Noted: IS provided an update from the PHN Subcommittee. Two meetings have been held this year: one in January and one by teleconference in March. Good progress is being made on the draft report and the report structure was circulated to the Scientific Committee for information prior to this meeting. A template was issued to assist authors drafting sections in the report and includes key issues and recommendations. The second draft of most sections is due back by Friday 10 April; text on fats and carbohydrates will also be drafted. More information has been requested from the Dept. of Health on the four subgroups of older adults. The final draft of the report will be presented to the Committee in October. The Chair suggested that the subcommittee send on a draft of the Conclusions and Recommendations section before October if possible and this was agreed by IS/MF.
8. UPDATE FROM AD HOC SUBCOMMITTEE ON SEAWEED
Noted: BMcK noted that the draft Seaweed report was reviewed and restructured. The main body was shortened to 25 pages including a first draft of recommendations, the remainder is annexes. It was circulated to the subcommittee for feedback by 24 April. A meeting will be scheduled to finalise the report after this date. The subcommittee will aim to send the final draft report to the Scientific Committee by June for approval. If not, a draft will be sent for a first reading.
9. UPDATE FROM AD HOC SUBCOMMITTEE ON MAP AND CROHN’S DISEASE
Noted: DS provided an update from the MAP Subcommittee. The group held their fourth meeting at the end of January. Two subgroups have been created to focus on Q1 and Q2. At the meeting a systematic approach was agreed to answering Q1 on the link between MAP and Crohn’s Disease and this was outlined to the Scientific Committee. For Q2, various studies are being reviewed in terms of heat sensitivity, processing parameters and different environments and conclusions are being drawn from these. Research gaps for Q3 are being documented. DS noted that the work has been delayed due to the COVID-19 situation so the deadline of Q2 for the final report will not be met. The subcommittee will try to get draft text to the Scientific Committee for the next meeting.
10. APPOINTMENT OF NEW SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE 2021-2025
Noted: WA noted that letters and expression of interest forms will be sent out shortly in relation to the new Scientific Committee. The replies will be reviewed and a short list of nominees for the next Scientific Committee will be agreed by the FSAI Board and sent to the Minister for consideration in Q3.
Noted: WA confirmed that the Chair’s term of office finishes on 20 April and that he has requested the Dept. of Health to extend this until the end of the year. It was proposed that Brian McKenna could act as Vice Chair if required until the matter is resolved and the Committee members agreed to this.
Noted: There was no correspondence received.
Noted: The work plan was updated and circulated for review. It was agreed to remove one project from the list as it is no longer required and all other outstanding projects will be listed under a new heading ‘For consideration for the work plan of the next Scientific Committee.
Action: WA/JG to update the work plan with the changes agreed.
13. DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Noted: The next meeting will be scheduled in June if there are matters for discussion. A doodle poll will be issued later. The Chair thanked everyone for their input during the meeting and wished them well.