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Consultative Council Meeting - 17th June 2021

Online Induction Meeting for New Members - 17 June 2021 at 09:30


  • Ray Bowe, [RB] Chair
  • Paula Barry Walsh [PBW]
  • Louise Reynolds [LR]
  • Pat Farrell [PF]
  • Jonathan Griffith [JG]
  • Marcella Rudden [MR]
  • Regina Sexton [RS]
  • Cormac Healy [CH]
  • Alice McGlynn [AMcG]
  • Conor Mulvihill [CMu]
  • Catherine Morrison [CM]
  • Janis Morrissey [JM]
  • Tim O’Brien [TO’B]
  • Sorcha Kavanagh [SK]

In Attendance

  • Pamela Byrne [PB], Eileen Lippert [EL]


  • Caroline Keeling [CK]

Welcome and Introductions

The Chair welcomed all the new members to this induction meeting and commented that he looked forward
to working with them. In the interests of efficiency, he explained to the members that he will defer the
introductions until the main meeting.

Overview of FSAI and the Legal Mandate of the FSCC

The Chair welcomed Pamela Byrne, FSAI’s CEO to the meeting and invited her to give an overview of the FSAI
and the legal mandate for the FSCC. The main points of this presentation included:

  • The organogram of the FSAI
  • The Values of the FSAI
  • An outline of the systems for food controls with a snapshot of statistics from 2019
  • An introduction to the FSAI Board members and the members of the FSAI Scientific Committee
  • An outline of FSAI’s approach to stakeholder engagement as foreseen in the FSAI Act and the various forums through which this is achieved
  • An explanation of the legal mandate for the FSCC

Action: The presentation will be circulated by EL to the members after the meeting.

Overview of FSCC to Date

The Chair gave a presentation to the members, the main points of which included:

  • An introduction to the existing members
  • An introduction to the new members
  • Topics discussed at previous meetings of the FSCC
  • The role of the FSCC members

Action: The presentation will be circulated by EL to the members after the meeting.

Questions and Answers

Following the presentations, the chair opened the floor to questions. The first question was what role the
FSAI has in relation to food and nutrition. PB answered this and summarised that Safefood has the remit for
consumer nutrition and FSAI’s role relates to the science of nutrition which then feeds into policy making in
the Department of Health. Another member requested an example of how the FSCC influenced the FSAI
Board and RB provided food safety culture as one such instance and elaborated on this. PB also added that
the Councils Open Meetings and its meeting with its N. Ireland counterparts, NIFAC as well as the Council’s
role in informing the FSAI’s strategy. It was also confirmed that there will be a stronger collaboration
between the FSCC and the Board and the FSCC Chair will meet with the FSAI board in November. A longterm member also gave an account of his positive experiences on the Council.

MINUTES - Food Safety Consultative Council Virtual Meeting 17 June 2021 at 09:30


  • Ray Bowe, Chair, (RB) Annette Sweeney, (AS)
  • Tim O’Brien, (TO’B) Martin Roper, (MR)
  • Louise Reynolds, (LR) Eamonn Quinn, (EQ)
  • Pat Farrell, (PF) Sorcha Kavanagh, (SK)
  • Alice McGlynn, (AMcG) Cormac Healy, (CH)
  • Jonathan Griffith, (JG) Catherine Morrison, (CM)
  • Paula Barry Walsh, (PBW) Maree Gallagher, (MG)
  • Regina Sexton, (RS) Conor Mulvihill (CMu)
  • Marcella Rudden, (MRu) Janis Morrissey (JM)
  • Apologies: Caroline Keeling, Dermott Jewell, Jamie Knox, James McCrudden

In attendance

  • Pamela Byrne
  • Eileen Lippert
  • Jane Ryder
  • Emer O’Reilly*
  • Gail Carroll**

Welcome and Introductions followed by a short video

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and as there were so many new members, he invited everyone
to introduce themselves. This was followed by a short video outlining the role of the FSAI. He also outlined
some of the main changes to the new FSCC, including: acknowledging the increased experience and sectoral
knowledge on the Council; that there is more opportunity for sub-groups to discuss and develop FSCC
positions on specific areas of interest; there are increased opportunities to engage with FSAI on areas of
consumer interest/benefit and that the FSCC can report the outcomes of its work to the FSAI Board.

Agree Minutes of the Meeting of 18 March 2021

The minutes of the last meeting was agreed subject to some minor editorial issues.

Matters Arising

Only one action was outstanding, and this will be dealt with after this meeting.

FSAI Update

A short document providing members with an update on FSAI activity was circulated in advance of the

Covid Impact on Food Safety/Regulation and Governance by FSAI

The Chair invited Dr Byrne, CEO of the FSAI to present and the main points of the presentation included:

  • How the FSAI kept a watching brief on developments since January 2020
  • Elaborated on the tipping point for the FSAI
  • FSAI published its first FAW on Covid-19 on 31 January 2020
  • Outlined the change in traffic to the FSAI website following the publication of the FAQ
  • The steps FSAI took in February to prepare
  • Highlighted some headlines relating to threats to the food supply in Ireland
  • Commented on food security, EU internal borders and issues with the free movement of people
  • Food industry concerns
  • Consumer concerns
  • An outline of enquiries to the FSAI Advice Line
  • Summarised the changes in the complaints received by the Advice Line
  • Elaborated on risk assessment difficulties
  • Spoke about some rapid risk assessments carried out by the Authority
  • Expanded on the disruptions to official controls and disruptions to checks and balances
  • Highlighted official control challenges
  • Shared draft annual official control data – 2019 v 2020
  • Outlined the increase in illegal food businesses
  • Referred to FSAI’s role in outbreak control teams in meat plants
  • Essential advice and guidance provided by WHO and ICMSF
  • The role social media played in providing reputable information and shared some FSAI social media statistics

Action: This presentation will be circulated to the members after the meeting. The CEO also encouraged the members to share FSAI’s social media messages.

Update on E171/Impact on industry, retail and consumers – Emer O’Reilly

Next, the Chair invited Emer O’Reilly to speak and the main points of her presentation included:

  • The background on Titanium Dioxide (E171)
  • An explanation of the nano scale of E171
  • Outlined the timelines and assessments of E171
  • An elaboration of EFSA’s multi-disciplinary approach to the assessment
  • The EFSA opinion was published on 6 May 2021
  • The conclusions of the EFSA opinion on general toxicity
  • EFSA’s conclusions on genotoxicity
  • EFSA’s overall conclusion
  • Risk managements measures to be taken

Action: This presentation will be circulated to the members after the meeting.

Following the presentation there were two queries from the members, both of which were addressed by ER.

One query related to the fact that France had banned E171 and another related to the frequency of the European Commission removing an additive for use. It was confirmed that this is only the second time since 2009.

Brexit Update – Gail Carroll

GC joined the meeting to update the members on Brexit and Food Regulation. The main points from presentation were:

  • FSAI’s Brexit-related goals
  • The various agencies FSAI is working with and how
  • Food safety challenges
  • Information on Brexit resources and where to find them

Action: This presentation will be circulated to the members after the meeting.

Action: A member enquired if FSAI has guidance notes for FBOs regarding their responsibilities for placing goods on the UK market. It was confirmed that there are some Q&A on the website, but to email FSAI directly if they need additional information.

Work Plan 2021

The chair listed some draft work plan topics – they were:

  • Food safety training in Ireland: trends, online, risks
  • The “unofficial” food production and delivery sector/covid
  • International internet-enabled food commerce
  • Growth in CBD and other related foods
  • Emerging global food safety risks
  • Micro plastics research and risk factors (part 2)
  • Food safety risks and covid – part 2
  • FSCC update to the FSAI Board

The Chair invited the members to make some suggestions to add to this list by emailing by 16 July. Members gave some suggestions at this meeting including:

  • The two-way linkage of Ireland and UK for food supplies
  • The Food Fraud Network to be included as a topic/agenda item at a future meeting

Additional information was sought on where the lines are drawn between HPRA and FSAI regarding substances such as E171 and CBD. Also, how linked in is the Food Fraud Network with RASFF? PB responded to the question re CBD, adding that this is a highly complex issue but confirmed that FSAI is leading a multiagency task force on the matter. She added that a more comprehensive update on this can be provided at the next meeting of the FSCC. Pamela also confirmed that the FSAI is the central contact point for AAC and the Food Fraud Network in Ireland.

Action: FSAI will follow-up on query re E171 and revert to the members. Additionally, it will also send an update on AAC activities. There was also a query about One substance/one assessment and PB will find out if some information she has can be circulated to the member who enquired.

FSCC Open Meeting (November)

The Chair informed the members that the Open Meeting will take place in November on a date to be confirmed and added that it will be a hybrid/blended event. He advised the members that the theme for this year’s meeting will be Food Safety Culture.

Dates for Future Meetings

The dates for the next meeting were agreed and are as follows:

  • September 16
  • November – TBC – Open Meeting
  • December 09

The Chair explained that due to the increased membership of the FSCC, it would be too unwieldy to provide options/polls for members availability, but he hoped that the dates arranges would suit the majority of the members.


Action: A member had a question about governance of the group and how the group will make decisions. PB confirmed that the FSAI is in the process of reviewing and developing a system for this which will be discussed further at the next meeting.

Another question focussed on the FSAI’s whistle-blower charter and EL will circulate this to the members.