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Artisan Forum - 23 September 2014

Minutes of the Artisan Forum Meeting, 23 September 2014


Wayne Anderson, FSAI (WA) Chair
Darina Allen, Ballymaloe Cookery School (DA)
Sean Kent, Poultry breeder (SK)
Eamon McGee (EMcG) alternate for Michael Gleeson
Pat Daly, Teagasc (PD)
Rupert Hugh Jones (RHJ)
Kevin Sheridan (KS) – alternate for Raymond O’Rourke and Jeffa Gill


Myrtle Allen, Ballymaloe House (MA)
Frank Hederman, Belvelly Smoking (FH)
Mary Burns, Ardrahan Cheese (and CAIS) (MB)
Raymond O’Rourke, Taste Council of Ireland (RO’R)
Michael Gleeson, Irish Beekeepers Assoc. (MG)
Sally Barnes, Woodcock Smokery (SB)
Dave Lang, ACBI (DL)
Declan Ryan, Arbutus Breads (DR)
Jeffa Gill, Durrus Cheese (JG)
Michael Healy, Wild Irish Game (MH)
John Brennan, Leitrim Organic Farming Co-op (JB)
Donal Lehane, Food NPD Teo (DL)
John Matthews, FSAI (JM)
Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)

In Attendance

Eileen Lippert, FSAI (EL)
Tim Camon, FSAI (TC)
Lisa O’Connor, FSAI, (LO’C)
Helena McMahon, TRADEIT (HMcM)
Catherine Halbert, TRADEIT (CH) 


Noted: As there were several new faces at the meeting, WA invited everyone to introduce themselves briefly.

2. PRESENTATION ABOUT TRADEIT – Helena McMahon and Catherine Halbert

Noted: Both Helena and Catherine introduced themselves and proceed to give their presentation, the main points of which included:

  • A brief synopsis of what TRADEIT is about;
  • Aimed at the traditional agri-food sector which is a growing segment of the EU food market and there is a need to meet consumer demands;
  • The team and the objectives of the project;
  • The architecture/structure of the project;
  • Networks for innovation;
  • Tailored support for food producers;
  • Training that is practical and applied with localised content targeted at SME
  • Information on training events;
  • Explained the TRADEIT marketplace, the brokerage events and participants;
  • Gave details of entrepreneurial summer academy;
  • How it promotes innovation and enterprise;
  • How it communicates with target audience;
  • The impacts of the various resources;
  • Outlined the various networks it uses;

Noted: During the presentation it was explained that:

  • TRADEIT is a consortium of 19 different institutions internationally and that it’s a pan European project;
  • They are aiming for consistency in their workshops which are free and consist of nine modules.
  • Online training materials will be available at the end of the Irish event which will take place at the Dingle Food Festival;
  • Bakery event will take place in Germany in November;
  • Food safety event will take place in Dublin in February 2015;
  • There is a budget to fund two or three small to medium businesses to travel outside of Ireland to attend the brokerage events;
  • TRADEIT is liaising with UCC, LEADER, CAIS, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Enterprise Boards;
  • The remit of the project is that food should be local and regional.

Noted: Some of the members were concerned that TRADEIT might not be reaching the producers that most need their help and suggested that communicating at farmers markets could be a useful method of targeting these producers.

Noted: HMcM and CH were advised to rethink the language they use in presenting the project as currently it’s very technical jargon and it might alienate their target audience.

Noted: Members enquired if TRADEIT could look into sustainable packaging which artisans prefer to use and is general much more expensive than regular packaging.

Noted: There was a discussion about the need to encourage rural development and this could mean selling more food locally and exporting less. Change in society is also making people more aware of the impact that food and the food industry has in everyday lives.

Noted: Some of the obstacles and problems that small producers encounter were discussed and it was pointed out that some of the regulatory authorities are not aware of the difference an extra €50-€100 a week makes to a person selling home-made products. The members were very much in favour of small producers doing things properly but that sometimes there are just too many requirements.

Noted: SK recommended KEDRA to EM following discussions about problems and fears that some bee-keepers may have in trying to sell their products.

Action: EL will circulate the presentation to the members and will provide HMcM with the contact details of the Artisan Forum members.


Agreed: The minutes were agreed without amendment.


Poultry advisor

Noted: WA contacted the office of Prof. Gerry Boyle to arrange a meeting to discuss the need for a poultry advisor and is waiting a reply.

Schmallenberg virus

Action: SK is in working on this document and will email it when it is ready.

Raw milk

Action: EL to circulate link to guidance on developing industry guide.


Noted: WA is trying to contact LEADER. He contacted the Department of the Environment for information.

Bee health

Action: DA will inform the FSAI if the Artisans would like to have someone speak about bee health at a future meeting.

HAV in frozen imported berries

Noted: The boil notice for frozen imported berries is still in place.

Quail slaughtering and quail eggs

Noted: JM has been in contact with James Madden who has visited the quail farmer in question. This issue is progressing well and they are looking at various options.

Noted: At this juncture, Bernard Hegarty, Director of Service Contracts joined the meeting to speak about the recent FVO report on poultry plant in Ireland and to outline the main results, recommendations and their consequences. He gave examples of some of the issues which the FVO raised. This led to much discussion and debate.

Action: DA and BH will arrange to meet in the future to discuss some of the various issues raised at the FVO audit.

Action: DA questioned if there was a prototype or a template available for a small on-farm slaughtering unit (up to 10000 units). She mentioned some units she saw at Bluehill Farm in Stonebanks, USA which we could look into. TC and EL agreed to look further into this.


Noted: The draft agenda was agreed.


Noted: LO’C provided an update to the members on what is happening with regards to Campylobacter, most notably the work of the FIRM Campylobacter project and the FSAI’s Campylobacter Steering Group and work that is going on at European level. She explained that rapid surface chilling is of much interest as freezing kills Campylobacter.

Noted: KS asked if organic chicken had the same problems with Campylobacter. LOC said that studies tended to only include a few organic chicken samples so it was hard to say whether organic chicken was more or less contaminated than standard chicken. However it does carry Campylobacter and its extensive lifestyle would expose it to environmental sources of Campylobacter.

Noted: It was pointed out that the issue with Campylobacter is not about the cooking of chicken but about cross-contamination. Consumers are advised not to wash chicken this is only spreading the Campylobacter.

Noted: RH-J and DA raised the issue of traceability of chickens as this is the most frequent question that they are asked at farm markets. They were informed that this could change when the new Food Information for Consumers comes into force which will require that chickens will have to be labelled with their origin. It was explained that it’s not possible to DNA test the traceability of chickens like it is possible for pork.

Action: SK to send information to FSAI about Avoca’s methods of on-farm killing and hanging. He referred to recent research from Jeff Meade and referred to some new procedures and he was advised to send all this information to Teagasc for further research.


Action: PD provided this update. He will send EL a list of all the events and their dates so that they can be circulated to the members. He spoke briefly about cheese-making workshops, farm enterprise initiatives and an upcoming cheese symposium. He also informed the members that Teagasc provides technical support for many issues. He mentioned that Entrepreneurship in food works will be launched for its third programme at the end of September.


Noted: Members were informed that Ireland has a no vaccination policy for Salmonella but the UK does vaccinate. Ireland has a slaughter out policy for flocks showing clinical infection. On a positive note, the Salmonella figures in Ireland are fairly low and FSAI is relatively happy.


Noted: WA informed the group that this working group met three weeks ago and comments on the new draft 9 are due 1 October 2014. He provided a quick outline of what the guidance note is about. Members were of the view that serious progress has been made with this and that it is a step in the right direction.


Noted: This was addressed in detail at the last meeting. The members stressed that the cheese community sees this is a very serious issue and will/are lobbying in order to try to influence the final outcome at European level. LOC provided an update of a document that is under discussion at EU level which is looking for a harmonised approach and it is hoped it will be signed off at the end of the year.

Agreed: The members wished to have it noted that the cheese community feels very strongly about this issue and need the FSAI to be aware of it and for FSAI and trade groups and DAFM to liaise to come to a solution to the problem. The members of were also of the view that the legislation should allow for the culture of a country because routine use of PCR methods for VTEC in raw milk cheese will decimate the industry.

Action: When asked what the members could do about the issue, they were advised that CAIS should write to the Commission about it.


Noted: There was no correspondence.

Action: A representative from DAFM organic section will be invited to speak at the next meeting.

Consistency of audits

Noted: There was some discussion about the consistency of private standard audits being carried out around the country. The negative attitude of some large retailers to artisan producers was raised and discussed at length. Members expressed concern that the large retailers could influence national policy and they were assured that this could not and would not happen.

Action: FSAI is willing to provide the artisans with an opportunity to speak to the large retailers and the DA will inform the WA if they wish for this to happen.

Labelling enquiry – QUID

Noted: It was queried if it was a legal requirement to label the percentage of ingredients for jam on a label. It was confirmed that it was a legal requirement and an easy calculation method was explained by WA.


Noted: The next meeting will take place in April 2015. The exact date can be arranged by doodle poll.