Skip to main content

Consultative Council - 28 March 2018

Minutes of the Consultative Council Meeting, 28 March 2018.


  • Ray Bowe, Chair, [RB]
  • Maree Gallagher [MG]
  • Dermott Jewell [DJ]
  • Pat Daly [PD]
  • Tim O’Brien [TOB]
  • Siobhan Murphy [SM]
  • Jamie Knox [JK]
  • James McCrudden [JMM]
  • Martin Roper [MR]
  • Eamonn Quinn [EQ]
  • Brendan Kehoe [BK]
  • Donal Maguire [DM].

Others present

  •  Pamela Byrne, [PB]
  • Bernard Hegarty [BH]
  • Dorothy Guina Dornan [DGD]
  • Eileen Lippert [EL], Jane Ryder, [JR]
  • Elaine Connolly, [EC]
  • Lone Jespersen 


Dermot Gates, [DG], Cormac Healy, [CH], [BK], Annette Sweeney [AS], Raymond Ellard [RE], Una Fitzgibbon [UF].

1. Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed everybody to the meeting. As this was the second meeting and not all the members were at the last meeting, everyone was invited to briefly introduce themselves. 

2. Minutes of previous meeting on 15th November 2017

The minutes of the meeting of 15th November 2017 were approved without amendment. 

3. Matters arising

There were no matters arising. 

4. Work Plan for 2018 for the FSCC

RB gave a short presentation which outlined:

  • The role of the Consultative Council
  • Objective 3 of the FSAI’s strategy which ties in with the FSCC
  • The main topics for discussion as suggested by the members. 
  • The draft plan for the four meetings planned for 2018 and the main issues for discussion. 
  • The desired outcomes for 2018

Following the presentation, RB invited members to submit topics within two weeks if they feel that anything is missing. The CEO of the FSAI informed the members that the FSAI is in the process of devising its new five year strategy and added that an independent panel will be involved in the preparation. Members or a sub-group of the Council will be invited to meet with this independent panel when they are in Dublin in June 2018.

Agreed: The work plan was agreed without amendment. 

Much discussion took place about the work plan and members commented that they were pleased that Brexit is high on the agenda of both the FSAI and the FSCC. Several areas of concern were highlighted such as: 

  • Import and export of foods; 
  • Will additional sampling and testing need to be carried out? Can the current system cope with this?
  • FSAI will need to liaise more with Bord Bia, FSA NI, DAFM and other stakeholders. 
  • The fact that 97% of UK regulations are EU-based and the new Official Controls legislation was also commented upon. 
  • What will be the issue with non-tariff countries?
  • Red-tape for exporting to new markets needs to be reduced. 
  • Implications of WTO and SPS were raised and FSAI may need to become more focussed upon these.
  • It was also commented upon that EC should fund the border controls that the Rep. of Ireland will have to carry out. 
  • Cross-border crisis management will also be a major issue. 

Action: EL will circulate copies of the presentation to the members. 

5. FSAI Update

Pamela Byrne gave the members an update on: 

  • New FSAI Chairman
  • Food incidents and alerts
  • Falcon Labs food supplements
  • FSAI’s food supplement notification system
  • A non-compliance in a meat products manufacturer
  • Irish whiskey – a protected geographical indications
  • Regulation on country of origin
  • Public health alcohol bill – notification from Ireland
  • Private food microbiological laboratories.
  • Five protected disclosures received this year. 

There was some discussion about what is entailed in a protected disclosure and this was briefly discussed. Also, interest was expressed in a seminar on private food microbiological laboratories which is taking place in April and members were advised to register for this event via the FSAI website. 

6. Publishing Enforcement Orders - Update

Elaine Connolly from FSAI’s Enforcement Policy Unit gave a presentation which commented upon:

  • How food safety is enforced;
  • Enforcement tools under FSAI Act
  • Enforcement tools under S. I. 117 of 2010
  • Enforcement orders on
  • What FSAI published prior to publishing full enforcement order
  • What FSAI publishes now
  • Reasons for publishing the entire orders
  • Gave an example of a redacted closure order
  • Key differences prior to publishing and after publishing

Action: EL to circulate the presentation to the members. 

Several questions followed the presentation and these were addressed by Elaine Connolly, Bernard Hegarty and Dorothy Guina Dornan. Members queried if fines or penalties accompany a closure order; FSAI explained that these may be imposed by Courts following prosecution, but prosecutions are slow and expensive. Closure of business and being named and shamed causes significant reputational damage. It was also commented upon that perhaps food businesses are not learning due to the prevalence of closures, but it was pointed out that the closures are down to the attitudes and practices of the organisations involved and the numbers are small compared to the overall number of food businesses in Ireland. The fact that so many closures are in the ethnic sector was also raised and FSAI explained it has published some of its documents in various languages, but that there was little take up. The Chair suggested that the FSAI consider formal liaison with Pest Control Companies / Industry Trade Association with a view to establishing common approaches to pest management in food premises. This would serve to increase awareness within the Pest control sector of the recent trend in food premises incidents.

Action: Reference was made to FSAI’s GN on HSE inspections and EL will circulate this to the members for information.

7. Food Safety Culture – Lone Jespersen

The Chair introduced Lone Jespersen to the group and she gave a short summary of her background to date. Her presentation also addressed:

  • Cultural dimensions
  • Measuring culture
  • Food Safety Culture Technical Working Group
  • Definition of food safety culture
  • Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) position paper on food safety
  • Sub-dimensions by GFSI
  • Tools and tactics
  • Vision and mission
  • Hazards and risk awareness
  • People
  • Consistency

Action: EL will circulate the presentation to the members. Additionally, GFSI’s position paper will be made available to the members when it is available. 

After the presentation the Chair thanked Dr Jespersen and the members agreed that her presentation will certainly increase awareness. 

Action: The Chair suggested it might be useful for the FSCC to carry out a small survey on the issue of food safety culture and the results could be discussed at a future meeting. 

7. AOB

There was no other business. 

8. Date of Next Meeting

Agreed: The next meeting will take place in June at a date to be arranged.