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Artisan Forum - 23rd July 2019

Minutes of the Artisan Forum Meeting, 23rd July 2019.


  • John Matthews, FSAI (JMat), Chair
  • Darina Allen, Ballymaloe Cookery School (DA)
  • Sally Barnes, Woodcock Smokery (SB)
  • Kevin Brennan, Teagasc (KB)
  • Elisabeth Ryan, Independent Craft Brewers (ER)
  • Jane Murphy, Cais (JMur) 
  • Donal Lehane, Chair of Community Food Group (DL)
  • Simone Kelly, Rocket Foods, (SiK)


  • Hugh Maguire, ACBI (HM)
  • Eoin Bird, The Wooded Pig (EB)
  • Jeffa Gill, Durrus Cheese (JG)
  • Dearbhla Reynolds, Cultured Club (DR)
  • Mary Regan, Regan Organic Farms, (MR)
  • John Brennan, Leitrim Organic Farming Co-op (JB)
  • Declan Ryan, Arbutus Breads (DR)
  • Sean Kent, Poultry Hatchery (SK)
  • William Cleary, Beekeeper (WC) 
  • Pamela Byrne, FSAI (PaB)

In Attendance

  • Eileen Lippert, FSAI (EL)
  • Tim Camon, FSAI (TC)
  • Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)
  • Cormac McElhinney, FSAI (CMcE)
  • Mary Lenahan, FSAI (ML)*
  • Lisa O’Connor, FSAI (LOC)*
  • Brendan Murray, DAFM (BM) **

* present for presentation on FSAI Scientific Committee’s report on STEC
**present for presentation on pesticides/glyphosate


JMat welcomed everyone to the meeting.

Presentation about Glyphosate – Dr Brendan Murray, Pesticide Control Service (PCS), DAFM

Dr Murray was introduced to the members. He added that his role is to protect human health and that he was present to present facts and not to try to convince anyone one way or another. He gave a short summary of his professional background and gave a presentation of which the main points included:

  • A video outlining the role of the PCS
  • Explanation about what are pesticides
  • An overview of the regulatory process 
  • What happens when a company releases a new pesticide?
  • What safeguards are in place to ensure pesticides are safe?
  • Steps taken for pesticide approval process
  • The vigilance programmes in place
  • Explained what glyphosate is
  • Glyphosate in the media
  • Elaboration on the WHO IARC Monographs programme which has categorised glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic”, noting that hairdressers and barbers have the same categorisation
  • Explanation of the toxicological database for glyphosate
  • Conclusions of institutions that have assessed full study reports of industry studies and relevant publications on glyphosate
  • Discussion on the challenges and lessons learnt. 

There were lengthy discussions after the presentation about glyphosate in particular and what research is being carried out in Ireland and it is thought that there may be none. 

There was also discussion about the possible effects of environmental chemicals in general on bee health.

Action: It was agreed that FSAI will contact the EPA to invite them to send a speaker to the next meeting of the Artisan Forum. 

Action: DA will send data and research that is available to her to Dr Murray for his review. 

Presentation on FSAI Scientific Committee’s STEC report – Mary Lenahan, FSAI

Dr Lenahan was introduced to the members and gave a presentation, the main points which included:

  • STEC vs VTEC
  • What is STEC?
  • Reasons for the Scientific Committee report on STEC
  • What is in the report on STEC?
  • Risk management info graphic to accompany the report
  • Pathogenicity of STEC
  • Symptoms of infection
  • STEC in Ireland vs Europe
  • Age-specific incidence rates STEC notifications in Ireland, 2017
  • Serogroups causing infections in Ireland
  • Irish STEC-associated HUS notifications by serogroup 2004-2016
  • Shiga toxin genes in Irish STEC cases
  • Presence/absence of eae gene in Irish STEC cases
  • Answer to request for advice from the Scientific Committee
  • What are the food categories referred to
  • Number of STEC outbreaks in the EU with strong evidence by suspected vehicle 2013-2016
  • STEC outbreaks notified in Ireland with strong evidence implicating a particular Food Safety Authority of Ireland
  • STEC methods of analysis and results
  • Advice of whether foods should be categorised with regard to risk from VTEC/STEC and if yes, how.
  • Risk-based action on positive results

There were several questions during the course of the presentation and ML addressed these, along with LO’C. Much discussion took place on the practice of serving pink burgers and DA added that there is a need for guidance from the FSAI for businesses who serve pink burgers. 

It was noted that FSAI advice remains that serving undercooked burgers is a risky practice and that burgers (and comminuted meat in general) should be thoroughly cooked before consumption. It was also noted that good traceability and provenance has nothing to do with the safety of an undercooked burger. 

Members commented that the STEC report focussed on cheese and little mention of fruit and vegetables. JMur commented that the document had been circulated to colleagues in Europe and overall it was considered to be balanced and proportionate. 

Action: EL will circulate this presentation to the members and the report on burgers which was referred to during the discussions. 

Presentation on FACE – Jane Murphy

Due to time constraints, this was deferred to the next meeting. 

At this stage, JMur spoke about an opportunity which had arisen to host a Teacheesy, Erasmus training session in Ireland before the end of August and if FSAI could assist with enabling this. She apologised for the last minute nature of the request, but another MS suddenly was unable to carry out the training. 

Action: JMat to make DAFM colleagues aware of this opportunity.

Agree Minutes of Previous Meeting on 16 April 2019

Agreed: The minutes were approved subject to some amendments to the attendance.

Matters Arising

FACE Conference

Members were advised that due to budgetary constraints, the FSAI will most likely be unable to attend this conference. Members suggested it could be useful for someone from DAFM to attend this conference. However, it was confirmed that the FSAI will attend the Real Farming Conference in Oxford in January 2020.

EHO Training

JMat advised that he had been in contact with Fintan Moran in TUD. To start things off, TUD were proposing arranging for two or three members of the forum to give short presentations / demonstrations to interested TUD students and staff as this will provide a taster which will hopefully lead to further mutually beneficial initiatives. 

Contact was also made with SFPA who suggested that a national guidance on smoking, in conjunction with Sally Barnes, could be very useful. 

Action: JMat will contact Mr Moran with a view to arranging something for the 22nd October – the date of the next Forum meeting.

Action: JMat will also contact SFPA to invite a representative to attend the next forum meeting to elaborate on the proposal to develop national guidance on fish smoking. 

Agreed: Keep the issue of ‘train the trainer’ on the agenda as it is a very important topic.

Metabisulphates in Prawns

Action: The representative from SFPA attending the next meeting will address this issue. 

Cooking over Fire

Action: Additional information regarding the chemical safety of cooking materials may have to be addressed and this can be an agenda item at the next meeting.

Update on the Appointment of Someone to Advise of Food Fermentation

Cormac McElhinney, Senior Technical Executive was introduced to the members. He advised the members that he has already made a start on developing guidance on Good Manufacturing Practices for the Production of Ready-to-eat Raw Fermented Plant Products and will continue in consultation with the Artisan Forum and an EHO representative. He plans to have a draft version available for consultation in Q.1 2020.

Department Overreach – Inspections of Artisan Cheese makers

TC had emailed colleagues in DAFM regarding the issues which were also raised at the last liaison meeting. 

Action: Members were advised that DAFM would be happy to meet with Artisan Forum members at a mutually convenient time to discuss the issue further and members will contact DAFM directly. 

Update from Enforcement Consistency Working Group

Action: DGD will reply in writing to ER, regarding queries she had arising from the last meeting of the WG. DGD also distributed a factsheet about eggs, a copy of which will also be emailed to members and addressed some queries for the members. EL will also advise the date of the next meeting of the WG at which representatives of the Forum can attend.

At this point DA gave an update of a recent meeting of bakers which took place in Cork and at which the definition for sourdough was discussed.

Action: ER will prepare a draft definition based on these discussions and circulate to the members and this can be discussed in more detail at the next Artisan Forum meeting. 

Food Producers Survey

Members were asked what changes or amendments they would like to the hygiene package and members commented that the word respect was very important and this should be mutual. 

Action: To set the ball rolling, JMat will draft a question for the electronic sign-off of the members. 

Update from Teagasc

KB informed the members about a conference about renewable energy on the farm that will take place in Gurteen College. He will send the information to EL for circulation to the members. 

FSAI Update

There were no additional issues to report to the members that have not already been addressed at the meeting. 


There was no additional information available that is not already in the public domain. 

Any Other Business

Honey labelling query

Action: One of the members submitted a honey labelling query and FSAI will revert to that member directly for follow-up. 

Non-food grade colour used in dyeing food

Action: One of the members outlined some issues relating to non-food grade dye being used in food. The member will revert to the FSAI with full information so that FSAI can look into it further. 

Date of Next Meeting

Agreed: The next meeting will take place on 22nd October 2019 in the FSAI.