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Consultative Council - 17th October 2019

Minutes of the Consultative Council Meeting, 17th October 2019


  • Ray Bowe, Chair [RB]; 
  • Jamie Knox [JK]; 
  • James McCrudden [JMC]; 
  • Dermot Gates [DG]; 
  • Annette Sweeney [AS]; 
  • Maree Gallagher [MG]; 
  • Eamonn Quinn [EQ]; 
  • Cormac Healy [CH]; 
  • Tim O’Brien [TOB]


  • Martin Roper [MR]; 
  • Dermott Jewell [DJ]; 
  • Siobhan Murphy [SM]; 
  • Pamela Byrne [PB].

In Attendance

  • Raymond Ellard [RE]; 
  • Dorothy Guina Dornan, [DGD]; 
  • Eileen Lippert [EL]; 
  • John Coady [JC]; 
  • Pat O’Mahony [POM]; 
  • Alison Johnson [AJ].


The Chair welcomed all to the meeting and thanked them for attending. He also thanked Jamie Knox for facilitating a tour of the plant and for hosting the meeting. 

Minutes of previous meeting on 24th July 2019

The minutes of the previous were agreed subject to a few minor amendments.

Matters arising

There were no matters arising. 

Investigations of Food Fraud - Case Studies and New Approaches – John Coady, FSAI

John Coady was introduced to the members and made a presentation to the members, the main points of which included:

  • New Official Control Regulation
  • Recent media attention
  • Social Networks 
  • Food complaint cases
  • Examples of investigations conducted
  • Promotion of The Protected Disclosure Act 2014 & Article 140 of Regulation 2017/625

Due to the sensitive nature of some of the information in this presentation, it will not be distributed to the members. 

JC dealt with all questions and queries following the presentation and some discussions surrounding the fraudulent practices and previous cases encountered by the Audit & Investigation team.

Food Fraud Detection – Alison Johnson, Managing Director – Food Forensics Ltd

Alison Johnson was introduced to the members by Ray Bowe and made a presentation to the members, the main points of which included:

  • Food Forensics
  • Food Fraud
  • Current Risks
  • Profile of likely offenders
  • Examples of global cases
  • Implication scenarios 
  • Next generation sequencing
  • Environmental fingerprinting
  • Key drivers and objectives
  • Breakdown of previous report findings
  • Possible solutions identified

Following the presentation, there was a discussion around fraud and proposed deterrents. It was mentioned that Musgraves will be hosting their annual ‘Food Integrity Week’ in January 2020, in which they invite suppliers to take part. 

Action: The presentation will be circulated to the members 

Laboratory Analysis: Regulatory Setting – Pat O’Mahony, FSAI

Ray Bowe was introduced to the FSCC committee and presented the following presentation prepared by Pat O’Mahony in which the following topics were covered:

  • Laboratory Resources 
  • Regulatory Monitoring
  • DNA Based Analysis
  • Farmed v Wild Irish Salmon
  • Food Masking
  • Burger Products – Qualitative PCR Results
  • Next Generation DNA Sequencing
  • Bioinformatics
  • Hemp Oil / CBD Oil
  • Interpretation of Results: Official control labs v Commercial labs

There followed a post presentation discussion in which it was noted that currently approximately 1,500 items of food regulation fall under the remit of the FSAI. RE then elaborated on some of the food fraud incidents throughout Europe recently and the steps being taken by the relevant countries in tackling these incidents.

Action: The presentation will be circulated to the members. 

Open Meeting 2019

It will take place in the Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin on 21st November 2019. The focus will revolve around a topic discussion of ‘Plastic & Food – a question of taste’. There were discussions surrounding the likely speakers that would be involved in the event.

Action: The council members expressed their desire to have specific people invited and confirmed that they would notify FSAI of these individuals in due course. 

Brexit Update

RE gave a brief update: a deal has been reached in relation to Brexit, however it was surmised that the current deal was unlikely to pass. Upon further discussion it was noted that it now seemed highly unlikely that a no deal scenario would present itself again. They did not foresee any imminent problems with Brexit but predicted that problems may begin to manifest themselves possibly after the first six months, and maybe up to the first couple of years until things begin to settle down. The need for a strong working relationship with FSA in N. Ireland was noted and the desire that they remain under the EU regulatory system. 

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:

  • Updating interagency protocol.
  • STEC – published agenda.
  • Training guides.
  • Educators Forum – 3rd Level.
  • Private trainer consultants.

There are discussions due to take place with the baby formula industry, with the aim to take some of the risk out of the system at present.


There was no other business. 

Date of next meeting

The open meeting will take place on 21st November 2019 in the Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin.