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Artisan Forum - 4th April 2018

Minutes of the Artisan Forum Meeting, 4th April 2018.


  • John Matthews, FSAI (JMat), Chair
  • Darina Allen, Ballymaloe Cookery School (DA)
  • Jane Murphy, Cais (JMur) 
  • Sally Barnes, Woodcock Smokery (SB)
  • Jeffa Gill, Durrus Cheese (JG)
  • Kevin Brennan, Teagasc (KB)
  • John Brennan, Leitrim Organic Farming Co-op (JB)
  • Elisabeth Ryan, Raw Milk Ireland (ER)
  • Hugh Maguire, ACBI, (HM)
  • Dearbhla Reynolds, Cultured Club (DR)
  • Mary Regan, Regan Organic Farms, (MR)


  • Donal Lehane, Food NPD Teo (DL)
  • Sean Kent, Poultry Hatchery (SK)
  • Declan Ryan, Arbutus Breads (DR)
  • Michael Gleeson, Irish Beekeeping (MG)
  • Eoin Bird, The Wooded Pig (EB)
  • Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)

In Attendance

  • Pamela Byrne (PB)
  • Eileen Lippert (EL)
  • Tim Camon, FSAI (TC)


Everyone was welcomed to the meeting and as there were new members present, the Chair invited everyone to briefly introduce themselves. The Chair, on behalf of the Forum and the FSAI expressed sympathy to JBrennan on the recent passing of his father. 


Agreed: The minutes were agreed subject to some minor amendments. 


Action: J Murphy will contact Simone Kelly to ask her to respond to EL about joining the Forum. EL will circulate an updated membership list to the members. Members were also reminded to contact the FSAI with topics for which they require guidance so that FSAI can factor them into their work plans.

Action: SB mentioned a training course in fermentation that may be of interest to the members and she will email the details of this course to EL who will circulate it to the members. 

Noted: Discussions took place about the presentation on the GN on fermented meat at the last meeting. Concerns were expressed about the dangers outlined in the presentation. It was recommended to the FSAI that a study visit to renowned salami makers in Italy should be considered to understand how traditional salami is produced. In relation to fermented meats the difference between the climates in Ireland and Italy was noted for Ireland to produce salami in the same method as in Italy, unless incurring a very high bill for air-drying. At this point members were also reminded that adaptations for traditional products are no longer available.

Noted: DA advised the members that raw milk is legally for sale in 42 states in the USA. 

Action: ER confirmed that she attended a meeting with DAFM about raw milk and she will send a copy of the minutes to the members along with a draft of the raw milk guidance document. 

Noted: There is no change in the situation re the honey issues discussed at the last meeting, however, PByrne addressed some of the issues from the EU perspective and there followed a discussion about misleading marketing/advertising of honey. She agreed to send the link to a document she referenced to EL for circulation.

Agreed: Members were advised that if they have any queries at all, the most efficient means of submission is by contacting the FSAI’s advice line. 

Noted: JMatthews gave a short presentation outlining the current situation relating to the mobile slaughterhouse issue. He made the members aware of the register of slaughterhouses which is available on FSAI’s website and how members can obtain information. The possibilities and costs of established LA slaughterhouses doing some third party work was discussed and some of the obstacles that might arise. 

Action: EL will circulate JM’s presentation. The Donegal County vet will be invited to attend the next meeting to discuss the situation in that county. 

Action/Agreed: FSAI agreed to assist the members in preparing a briefing note for DAFM to help them get other Government Departments on board. JMatthews will start the process and then send it to JBrennan and HMaguire for comment before sending it to DAFM.

Noted: DA and TC were in communication regarding pheasants. TC added that he is available to discuss further as necessary. 

Agreed: The members again expressed concern about third party accreditation costs, especially regarding Brexit and exports. . This was discussed further and TC made a suggestion to the members which they could look into further. FSAI confirmed that this issue is outside of FSAI’s remit, but agreed to provide technical expertise to assist the members with this issue. 


Agreed: The amended draft terms of reference were circulated to the members. Some additional amendments were made and these will be incorporated and then the new version will be circulated to the members for sign-off. 


Noted: ER addressed this issue following discussions at the last meeting about the possibility of adding an appendix of definitions (e.g. for black pudding, boxty, blaas) to the guidance document on food terms. As an example, she provided a draft summary of the key points for a possible definition for black pudding which was discussed by the members. 

Action: In order to ascertain the best way of getting agreement/approval for a definition of black pudding, ACBI will survey its black pudding producers. Additionally, as this essentially a commercial venture, FSAI will only comment on the legal aspects of this issue and it will discuss the matter in more detail in-house when the aforementioned survey results are received. 

Action: This discussion led to a discussion about veganism and some of the terms used – e.g. vegan cheese, etc. TC will check out cheese and dairy definitions and follow-up for the members. 


Noted: KBren advised the members that the Bia Innovation Campus in Athenry has gone to planning. The members queried if any of the equipment planned for the campus was focussing on artisan/traditional methods. KBren advised that members should recommend some equipment which they think should be purchased. KBren agreed to pass on the concerns expressed by the members. 


Noted: PByrne advised the members of the following:

  • Martin Higgins is the new Chair of the FSAI Board
  • The Food Safety Consultative Council is awaiting further nominations from the Minister
  • FSAI is formulating its new strategy. Stakeholders will be invited to take part in a consultation and members of the Forum will be invited to speak/respond on behalf of their sector. 

8. AOB

Guidance on plastic covering and packaging

Noted: DA explained this agenda item and how EHOs are asking FBOs to use plastic to cover food
instead of plates covering bowls, etc. The members were advised that the FSAI has started to look at the impact on food safety arising from the drive to reduce plastic packaging and that FSAI has been talking to the industry about potential solutions. This led to a discussion on food packaging vs food waste and members acknowledged that the issue is not as simple or straightforward as first thought. 

Washing of vegetables

Noted: The members would like to meet with the Enforcement Consistency Group (ECG) to discuss a number of issues, of which washing vegetables is one. 

Action: Members should email the FSAI with issues that they would like to raise with the ECG and FSAI can then identify the themes to bring to the ECG. FSAI will try to facilitate a rep of the Forum to meet the ECG. This issue will also be raised with FSAI’s training team who might be in a position to carry out training with agency staff. 

EHO training in traditional/artisan production methods

Noted: This issue was discussed in detail. This matter was raised some years ago, but nothing came of it. 

Action: FSAI will arrange for the relevant people from DIT to attend a future meeting. Additionally, this issue will also be raised with DGD in order for her to raise the matter at the next PEHO meeting. 


Noted: FSAI advised the members that the draft report on STEC is expected to be signed-off by the Working Group in April. Following that, the draft will be reviewed by the Biological Safety Sub-committee before being submitted to the Scientific Committee for adoption and finally to the Board for approval. 

National Organic Training Skillnet (NOTS)

Noted: The NOTs training programme for 2018 was circulated amongst the members and John Brennan provided additional clarifications. 


Agreed: The next meeting will take place in early July at a date to be agreed via doodle poll. One of the members would like the issue of food/health claims on labels to be an agenda item.