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Consultative Council Meeting - 16th September 2021

Members Present

  • Ray Bowe, Musgraves
  • Dermott Jewell, CAI
  • Paula Barry Walsh, DAFM (retired)
  • Conor Mulvihill, DII
  • Cormac Healy, MII
  • Sorcha Kavanagh, Conscious Cup
  • Maree Gallagher, Food lawyer
  • James McCrudden, Country Markets
  • Annette McSweeney, TUD
  • Siobhan Murphy, HSE
  • Louise Reynolds, INDI
  • Martin Roper, Food Safety Consultant
  • Alice McGlynn, Bord Bia
  • Marcella Rudden, LEO, Cavan
  • Regina Sexton, UCC
  • Patrick Farrell, ex IFA
  • Jonathan Griffith, IHTA
  • Caroline Keeling, Keelings
  • Jamie Knox, Britvic
  • Catherine Morrison, BIM

FSAI Staff Present

  • Pamela Byrne
  • Gail Carroll
  • Jane Ryder
  • Gail Carroll


  • Janis Morrissey, Irish Heart Foundation
  • Eamonn Quinn, Kelsius
  • Tim O’Brien, Restaurateur

1. Introduction

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and provided a summary of the plans for today’s meeting.

2. Agree Minutes of Previous meeting (17 June 2021)

The minutes were agreed without amendment.


  • Post the agreed minutes to the FSAI website.

3. Matters Arising

Pamela Byrne gave an update on the Ethylene Oxide and Titanium Dioxide issue (ETO/E171). The FSAI continues to respond to what is coming through via RASFF and other sources.

The issue of governance of FSCC is a work in progress.


  • Governance will be an agenda item at a future meeting of the FSCC.

4. FSAI Update

Gail Carroll introduced herself and advised the members of her new role as Director of Regulatory Affairs and Compliance Building in the FSAI. She then provided a verbal update of items of interest to the members. Jane Ryder provided additional information on some media queries. Some of the members had some follow-up queries which were addressed by Gail or by FSCC members. The members expressed an interest in hearing more about food fraud. Pamela elaborated on some current food fraud issues and spoke about the Central Intelligence Hub (CIH) initiative that is currently being developed in the FSAI.


  • Members were invited to advise Eileen Lippert if they would like any particular issues included in future FSAI updates and members suggested that updates on food authenticity would be a useful addition to the FSAI update.
  • EL will circulate the FSAI update to the members.

5. Work Plan 2022/Dragon’s Den

The Chair commented on the results of the votes from the members who were invited to vote on the list of items suggested for the FSCC Work Plan for 2022. The top five items were identified, and the member/proposers were invited to elaborate about why they considered the matter important.

Paula Barry Walsh spoke for the No. 1 item as voted by the members - Food safety crises: risk assessment, risk management and risk communication. Several other members agreed with this issue being a priority, but some members did mention that a lot of work has been done in this area and referred to Guidance Notes that are available to assist Food Business Operators and Enforcement Officers. There was a query about the existence of multi/cross-departmental/agency groups in the event of a crisis and the FSAI confirmed that these protocols are established in the event of a crisis or outbreak. The FSAI also referred to simulation exercises that FSAI carried out in recent years. Members also commented on the importance of this issue from the point of view of Ireland’s reputation when exporting food.

The members identified Reusable and safe food packaging as the second most important item on the work plan for 2022. Sorcha Kavanagh, proposer of this item, gave the background to this issue and spoke about why she considers it should be on the work plan. She referred to recent initiatives in Germany and queried if Ireland could adapt some of these ideas. Some of the members commented that while they are in favour of reusable and safe food packaging, research they have carried out has shown that alternatives to single use plastics often have a high carbon footprint. While the members were in favour of this item on the work plan, they stressed the need that the FSCC needs to focus on the food safety aspects.

Pamela Byrne commented on ongoing collaboration with The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) and the FSAI on the potential food safety issues that should be considered within the context of the circular economy.

The third priority identified by the members was Emerging global food safety risks. Ray Bowe elaborated on his rationale for including this on the list of items for the FSCC work plan. The FSAI commented that it is currently very involved in a number of groups in the context of emerging risks, i.e., the FSAI and IBEC Emerging Risks Task Force; EFSA’s Emerging Risks Network and the Food Safety Intelligence Network.

The fourth most important item on the work plan as agreed by the members was Digital Technology in Food Safety Systems. Ray Bowe elaborated on the importance of this topic and its background. Some of the members commented on how their organisations use block chain technology and members felt it could be useful to highlight such technologies to smaller FBOs and the opportunities to improve food safety in their businesses.

Food safety training in Ireland: trends, online, risks was selected as prioritised as fifth and Caroline Keeling spoke about this and expressed concerns at the high cost of training in businesses with high staff turnover and commented on the need for quality training to be cost effective. This issue was discussed for some time and the issue of the lack of availability of suitable food safety trainers is a matter of concern and the inconsistencies in training was also elaborated upon. Gail Carroll provided a short update on some of FSAI’s training initiatives and Conor Mulvihill also briefly outlined the Government-funded Skillsnet. The members also noted that food safety culture plays a signification role in the quality of training in a small FBO.

The chair explained that these five issues need to be reduced to a top three and advised that the members will be invited to vote in a second ballot during the break and send their votes back to E Lippert who will collate the votes with the results of the ballot being announced after the break.


  • Re item 2, it was agreed to change the name from Reusable food packaging to Reusable and safe food packaging. The FSAI will, at a future meeting of the FSCC, present on the work and outcome of collaboration with DECC.
  • Re item 3, Wayne Anderson of the FSAI to be invited to speak to the FSCC on the work of the above mentioned groups and this might help the FSCC to decide on where they should focus.
  • Re item 5, Ruth Conefrey, Training and Compliance Manager in the FSAI will be invited to speak to the FSCC on current FSAI training initiatives.
  • Following the second ballot, the top three items are (in order of votes received)
    1. Food safety crises: risk assessment, risk management and risk communication
    2. Reusable and safe food packaging
    3. Food safety training in Ireland: trends, online, risks

6. FSCC Open Meeting 2021

The Chair confirmed that the Open Meeting will take place on 18 November, exact time to be advised. The Chair elaborated on the speakers, Mike Taylor and Lone Jespersen who will speak on the topic of Food Safety Culture. The invitation and agenda will be issued shortly.


  • Members are encouraged to circulate the invitation to the virtual Open Meeting to their networks.

7. AOB

As discussed earlier, the issue of governance will remain on the FSCC’s to-do list and it is hoped that an update on the issue will be given at a meeting in the near future.


  • Invite Peter Whelan to present about food fraud and CIH at a future meeting of the FSCC.

8. Date of Next Meeting

The next regular meeting of the FSCC will take place on 9 December and the plan for this meeting will be to: 1. Finalise dates for meetings in 2022; 2. Allocate work plan topics; 3.

Agree topic sub-teams which will organise and invite guest speakers.


  • Members to email Eileen Lippert to express their interest in joining one of the three sub-teams.