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Consultative Council - 15 November 2017

Minutes of the Consultative Council Meeting, 15 November 2017.

Members Present 

  •  Ray Bowe, Chair, [RB] 
  • Maree Gallagher [MG] 
  • Dermott Jewell [DJ]
  • Pat Daly [PD]
  • Tim O’Brien [TOB]
  • Siobhan Murphy [SM]
  • Jamie Knox [JK]
  • Dermot Gates [DG]
  • James McCrudden [JMM]
  • Annette Sweeney [AS]
  • Martin Roper [MR] 

FSAI staff present

  • Pamela Byrne, [PB]
  • Raymond Ellard, [RE]
  • Eileen Lippert [EL]
  • Clodagh Crehan, [CC]
  • Jane Ryder, [JR]
  • Clare O’Donovan [COD]
  • Shaun Smith [SS].


  • Cormac Healy, [CH]
  • Eamonn Quinn [EQ]
  • Brendan Kehoe, [BK]
  • Una Fitzgibbon [UF]
  • Donal Maguire [DM].

1. Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed everybody to the meeting. He expressed his appreciation to the previous Chair Veronica Campbell along with the members of the previous Council. He added that he sees his role as bringing focus to the group, taking its recommendations to the Board and encouraging members to participate. A round of introductions then followed.

When the introductions were complete, the Chair invited Dr Pamela Byrne, the CEO of FSAI to address the meeting. She welcomed everyone and thanked them for agreeing to join the Council. She added that another eight persons may yet be nominated by the Minister. She explained that she sees the FSCC as a key group of people to engage with and to disseminate information to the various sectors. She is also keen for the members to be involved in the development of the FSAI’s new strategy for 2019 and beyond.

2. Minutes of previous meeting 

The minutes of the meeting of 14th December 2016 were approved without amendment.

3. Matters arising

There were no matters arising. 

4. Introduction to the role of the FSAI

RE gave a short presentation which outlined:

  • Information about the establishment and principal function of the FSAI
  • Strategy 2016-2018
  • FSAI vision & mission
  • The dual functions of the Authority
  • The organisation structure
  • The Executive, CEO and Board members
  • The FSCC membership, roles and functions
  • Previous meetings and issues considered
  • Previous public open meetings and topics
  • Joint meetings with the Board, Scientific Committee and N. Ireland Food Advisory Council

Following the presentation RE added that the Council is encouraged to self-task and that the FSAI is open to hearing suggestions and opportunities for improvement.
Action: EL will circulate copies of the presentation to the members. 

5. Rules and Terms of Reference

RE prepared a short note, which was circulated at the meeting, on the Terms of Reference for the FSCC and on liaison between the FSCC and the FSAI Board. He outlined the main points and asked members to contact him if they had any questions or needed clarification on any point.
Action: One of the members expressed an interest in the FSAI’s e-learning offerings. EL will contact the member with information on how to access this. 

6. Country of origin labelling

Clodagh Crehan from the FSAI was introduced and she gave a presentation entitled “Origin labelling of food – when can a food be labelled as Irish?” The main points centred on:

  • Food information for consumers regulation (FIC) article 26 which deals with country of origin or place of provenance
  • Article 26 with regards to meat and additional provisions
  • Reg. (EU) No 1337/2013 – indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for fresh, chilled and frozen meat of swine, sheep, goats and poultry Derogations
  • Definition of poultry meat
  • Reg. 1379/2013 – fishery and aquaculture products
  • General marketing standards – Reg. 1580/2007 – fruit and vegetables

Action: EL to circulate the presentation to the members.
There were several questions, all of which were addressed by CC or RE. Some of these queries were:

  • How many queries does the Advice-line receive about labelling?
  • What was the outcome of the issue with a leading retailer incorrectly labelling smoked salmon – RE elaborated on this. 
  • What is the difference between incorrect labelling and fraud?
  • National schemes in France and Italy
  • Social media as an effective deterrent against misleading labelling

Action: FSAI will prepare a short document on national schemes for a future meeting of the FSCC.

7. FSCC and Social Media

Jane Ryder, Communications Manager in the FSAI was introduced to the group. Her presentation focussed on: 

  • The FSAI’s objectives for social media
  • FSAI’s use of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter
  • Issues relating to social media and 'keyboard warriors'

Action: EL will circulate the presentation to the members.
Some questions followed the presentation and these included:

  • How FSAI deals with complaints received via social media? 

It was confirmed that FSAI follows-up on all complaints, though it is not always possible to report back on the findings due to the public nature of social media.
The issue of FSAI indemnifying/adding disclaimers to social media sites with regard to data protection was raised and FSAI will double-check this. It was noted that FSAI is restricted by current food laws in the type of information it make public or post to these platforms. 

8. Lactose Free Foods (and “Free From” Foods)

Clare O’Donovan from the FSAI Public Health Nutrition Team gave a presentation on “lactose” free claims on food, explaining the implications for people with galactose intolerance. Her presentation covered:

  • Lactose terminology
  • How lactase enzyme works
  • Lactose intolerance 
  • Types of lactose intolerance
  • Classical galactosaemia
  • Galactosaemia in Ireland
  • Lactose free milks

Action: EL will email the presentation to the members.

9. Revised Advice on Cooking Burgers

The final speaker was Dr Shaun Smith from the FSAI biological safety unit. He outlined the FSAI’s updated advice on cooking of beef burgers. He commented on:
1. The difference from a food safety perspective between burgers and steaks
2. Details of a recent survey on how Irish people like their burgers when dining out
3. The Safefood on line advertising campaign on the safe cooking of burgers
4. FSAI advice for caterers on serving burgers that are safe to eat - burgers must be cooked thoroughly until the core temperature reaches 75o C in the thickest part of the meat.
5. FSAI Scientific Committee’s report on this issue to be published early in 2018.
Action: EL to circulate this presentation to the members.
SS dealt with queries and comments, some of which included:

  • Some additional information about the recent survey on how people like their burgers. 
  • SS also added that it was very important that FBOs should contact the FSAI before undertaking microbiological challenge tests. 
  • Higher prevalence of VTEC in Ireland
  • Meat cooking norms in Europe

10. Provenance of Spirit Drinks

Due to time constraints, this item was postponed to a future meeting. 

11. Proposed Work

The Chair outlined a few topics that might firm a list of proposed work for the FSCC.
Action: The Chair will prepare a list for circulation to the members and he invited all to add to this list by 8th December. 

12. AOB

Engagement with the FSAI Board

This will be discussed with the Chairman of the FSAI Board. The FSAI CEO will prepare an outline of the FSCC objectives. A copy of the Scientific Committees work plan will also be made available to the members. 

Congratulations to the new Chair

On behalf of the rest of the Council, TOB wished the Chair well in his new role.

13. Date of Next Meeting

Agreed: The plan is to have a meeting every four months.
Agreed: The Chair suggested that an informal event for the members be held before Christmas as a way for members to get to know each other. FSAI will arrange this.
Action: Include the new FSAI 2019 strategy on the agenda of the next meeting.