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Consultative Council - 11 December 2018

Minutes of the Consultative Council Meeting, 11 December 2018.


  • Ray Bowe, Chair [RB]
  • Tim O’Brien [TOB]
  • Jamie Knox [JK]
  • James McCrudden [JMC]
  • Eamonn Quinn [EQ]
  • Dermot Gates [DG}
  • Annette Sweeney [AS]
  • Brendan Kehoe [BK]
  • Cormac Healy; [CH]
  • Dermott Jewell [DJ]
  • Pat Daly [PD].


  • Una Fitzgibbon [UF]
  • Maree Gallagher [MG]
  • Donal Maguire [DM]
  • Martin Roper [MR]
  • Siobhan Murphy [SM].


  • Pamela Byrne [PB]
  • Dorothy Guina Dornan, [DGD]
  • Eileen Lippert [EL]


The Chair welcomed all to the meeting. He extended his condolences and those of the FSCC to Martin Roper on the recent passing of his mother. 

Minutes of previous meeting on 3 October 2018

The minutes were agreed without amendment.

Matters arising

There were no other matters arising that were not agenda items. 


PB gave an update on the current situation relating to Brexit. It’s all very unclear at the moment, and hopefully, more will be known after 21 January 2019. She advised the members that resources for additional staff on the basis of transition have been sanctioned. FSAI is currently assessing all that needs to be done, and who and how it will be done. She elaborated on some of the implications to the work of the FSAI, service contracts how a cross-agency group has been established to discuss the main issues in the event of ‘no deal’. She also informed the members that FSAI will be circulating a survey about Brexit and she urged all the members to complete it. 

PB also explained the four key pillars surrounding the whole Brexit issue:
1 Stakeholders engagement
2 Understanding regulatory divergence
3 Understanding what are the risks in the system
4 Engagement with other agencies and Government

There were several questions and comments about what other agencies and countries are doing and it would appear that some countries seem to be more organised than others. Members were assured that FSA NI has agreed that whatever happens, public health if of the utmost priority and they plan to co-operate with FSAI, however, an agreed mechanism on how this will operate has to be developed. 

Review of FSCC 2018

RB gave an overview of what the Council has achieved this year. Members were asked to review and rate how they felt each topic was addressed. After discussions, it was agreed that the issues of relevance to consumers is a very lengthy one and could take a long time to fully address. It was suggested that a survey could be conducted to find out about topics that exercise consumers. FSAI will be carrying out a survey next year and it might be possible for the Council to feed into this. RE referred to a recent EFSA survey and EL will circulate this to the members. EL will also seek out the surveys carried out by the first FSCC. One of the members also recommended that we consider learnings from around the globe and not just focus on Ireland, UK and Europe. 

Action: EL will circulate the presentation to the members.

Work Plan for 2019

The chair outlined potential items for discussion in 2019 and discussions on these took place. Following these discussion it was agreed to adopt the topics proposed subject to the amendment of item 4 and the deletion of item 5. However, if members have any additional views or ideas on the work plan for 2019, please email Eileen Lippert.

Members also reviewed the format of the meetings. After discussions it was agreed the preferred time is from 11:00-13:00, although there will be one with a later start of 13:30-17:00. Members were also in favour of having one meeting per year off-site and there will be five meetings in 2019 including an open meeting which will take place in May in the Science Gallery in TCD. 

There are four members whose term will finish in February 2019 and FSAI will be in contact with DoH about FSCC membership. 

FSAI also agreed to arrange a joint meeting with the Board and this will be discussed in more detail with the FSAI Chairman. A meeting with N. Ireland Food Advisory Council will also take place. January 7/8 was suggested by FSA NI, but the FSCC members were of the view that a meeting in April would be much more useful as we may have more information about Brexit by then. 

Two agreed topics for discussion at future meetings are regulation of pest control contractors and confusion in the industry about the certification of consultants. FSAI will arrange for a representative of the Pest Control Association to speak at a future meeting. It was confirmed that FSAI plans to make some clarifications about the certification of consultants on its website, but agreed a discussion on the topic would be useful. 

There was a discussion about the influences, (positive and negative) of the media (social and traditional) (both positive and negative) and some articles to demonstrate this were circulated. 

Open Meeting

Potential topics for the open meeting were discussed. Some possibilities include:

  • Single-use plastics and the bio-degradability of plastics
  • Durability and shelf-life issues – do they lead to food waste?
  • Sustainability – however, this is outside of the FSAI’s remit. 

Agreed: It was agreed that an Open Meeting Sub-group will be established and EL will email the members for volunteers to join this group. Most of the work involved will be carried out electronically and a topic will need to be agreed on by mid-February. 

FSAI Update

Raymond Ellard updated the members on the main issues that have arisen in the FSAI since the last meeting. These included a summary of:

  • Food incidents
  • Training carried out
  • Meetings re Brexit
  • FSAI’s 20th anniversary in 2019
  • Crisis simulation exercise
  • Recent FSAI publications
  • Guidance on spirit drinks.

RE added that 2018 was a very busy year for alerts and incidents – nearly double that of the previous year. Allergen alerts are also on the increase and this is probably because people are more aware of them. 

Any Other Business

TO’B thanked the chair for his work with the FSCC this year. 

Dates of Meetings in 2019

Agreed: The dates for the meetings in 2019 are:

  • 26 March 2019 – Venue to be confirmed
  • 14 May 2019 – Open Meeting TCD Science Gallery
  • 26 July 2019 – Venue to be confirmed
  • 12 September – Venue to be confirmed
  • 4 December – Venue to be confirmed.