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Artisan Forum - 18th January 2018

Minutes of the Artisan Forum Meeting, 18th January 2018


  • John Matthews, FSAI (JMat)
  • Darina Allen, Ballymaloe Cookery School (DA)
  • Declan Ryan, Arbutus Breads (DR)
  • Jane Murphy, Cais (JMur) (For Jeffa Gill)
  • Donal Lehane, Food NPD Teo (DL)
  • Niall McKeon, DAFM (NMcK)
  • Michael Gleeson, Irish Beekeeping (MG)
  • Ita White, Teagasc, (IW)
  • Kevin Brennan, Teagasc (KB)
  • John Brennan, Leitrim Organic Farming Co-op (JB)
  • Eoin Bird, The Wooded Pig (EB)
  • Elisabeth Ryan, Raw Milk Ireland (ER)
  • Hugh Maguire, ACBI, (HM)


  • Raymond O’Rourke, Taste Council (RO’R)
  • Sally Barnes, Woodcock Smokery (SB)
  • Rupert Hugh-Jones (RHJ),
  • Jeffa Gill, Durrus Cheese (JG)
  • Sean Kent, Poultry Hatchery (SK) 

In Attendance

  • Eileen Lippert (EL)
  • Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)
  • Tim O’Donnell, FSAI (TO’D)
  • Karl McDonald, FSAI (KMD)
  • Tim Camon, FSAI (TC)
  • Cormac Healy, IBEC (CH)
  • Shaun Smith, FSAI (SS)


JMat welcomed the group and wished all a happy new year. He invited all to briefly introduce themselves as some new members were in attendance.


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

Noted: There were no outstanding actions from the previous meeting.

Noted: Discussions took place about mobile slaughterhouses for poultry and JMat circulated a map which showed where poultry slaughterhouses are currently located in Ireland. It was commented that if mobile slaughter houses for pigs should also be considered, though poultry is the key area that requires action. However it was acknowledged that the situation in Ireland is better than that in the UK.

Action: HMag will make some enquiries about the possibility of adapting existing slaughterhouses and the costs involved. JBren also agreed to talk to his County Vet about the issue. JMat will source a copy of LA slaughter plants in Ireland and circulate to members. A working group will be set up to address the issue of mobile slaughterhouses for poultry, comprising KBren, HMag, JBren and JMat. DA will be involved in publicising the mobile slaughterhouses to artisans when the situation is resolved.

Action: The matter of slaughtering deer and game was raised and some discussions took place, but DA will talk to TCam regarding pheasants.


Cormac Healy joined and was introduced to the Forum at this point. He proceeded to give a presentation on Brexit and the Irish agri-food sector. The main thrust of the presentation included:

  • An overview
  • Potential impacts of Brexit on Irish agri-food businesses
  • Key issues for the agri-food sector
  • Exchange rate impacts on demand for Irish food and drink exports
  • A snapshot of trade/tariff impacts
  • Impact on the EU meat sector
  • Impact on EU market
  • Customs and veterinary controls
  • Regulatory divergence
  • UK land-bridge
  • State of negotiations
  • Some possible solutions

Action: EL will email a copy of the presentation to the members.

Noted: There was discussion after the presentation and concerns were raised about the beef imports from the US. The possibility of a second referendum was also discussed. When questioned about the resilience of artisan
producers, it was pointed out that it depends on the reach of the producer. While excluding the UK market can be done, Irish producers still have to go via Britain for distribution purposes and route to market and groupage issues are a major concern for small businesses. Additionally, tariffs on meat and dairy products will be very high.


Agreed: Amendments will be made to the ToR to reflect the new frequency of meetings and the updated ToR will be circulated to the members for comments and sign-off. Additionally, draft minutes will be circulated to Artisan Forum members within two weeks of the meeting taking place. 


Agreed/Action: It was suggested that a representative from the fermentation sector should be represented on the forum and DA and JBren will find a suitable person. The FSAI will invite Simone Kelly from Cork to join as a representative of the RTE market. Mary Regan was proposed to represent the organic poultry producer and DA will provide contact details. Jane Murphy will also join the group representing CAIS. Representatives from other miscellaneous sectors will also be invited to join and DA will liaise with the FSAI regarding this. FSAI will also review the current membership and those that have not attended meetings will be removed from the distribution list.  


Action: EL will email a copy of the Guidance Note to the members for information and it was agreed this need not be an agenda item.


KBren and IW advised the members that:

  • Michael Duffy is a new Teagasc poultry advisor – based in the Teagasc office in Monaghan.
  • Eddie O’Neil is the food technologist based in Moorepark whom has worked with a lot of artisan cheese producers in the past. Eddie is on your contact listing already. 
  • Tara Heffernan is a new food technologist based in Ashtown. 
  • Carol Griffin deals with the food sensory area and is also based in Ashtown.
  • The Food Innovation Campus in Athenry got the go-ahead and building will commence in 2018.
  • A three-day cheese manufacturing workshop will take place in Moorepark in February.
  • A product development workshop will take place in Ashtown.
  • A new kitchen is under development in Moorepark
  • There is a sensory panel in Ashtown.
  • There is a new abattoir in ACBI in Ashtown.

Action: EL will email the contact details of the above Teagasc staff to the Artisan Forum members along with details of the workshops referred to above. 


Fermented Meats Guidance

Karl McDonald from the FSAI gave a short presentation on the topic of raw fermented meats. In the presentation he elaborated on:

  • Definitions for fermentation and raw fermented meat. 
  • Why meats are fermented.
  • Benefits of fermentation.
  • The origins of some fermented foods.
  • Fermented meats in Ireland.
  • Processing parameters and product characteristics.
  • Varieties of fermented meats.
  • FSAI new Guidance Note 32: Good Manufacturing Practices for the Production of Ready-to-Eat Raw Fermented Meat Products. 
  • The production steps.
  • Controls and hurdles.
  • Conclusions

Action: EL will email a copy of the presentation to the members. 

Noted: During discussions after the presentation, it was commented upon that all of the issues raised in the presentation can be applied to cheese. Members were also advised that a leaflet based on the GN will be produced later in the year. It was also suggested that Teagasc appoint an advisor on raw fermented meats and this led to a discussion about liaising with producers from Europe to enhance the knowledge of raw fermented meat producers.

Action: Members were invited to contact the FSAI if they have suggestions for the preparation of
guidance notes for other sectors but that the industry in question would need to assist in the preparation and compilation of any guidance note.

Foodborne Illnesses

Shaun Smith from the FSAI gave a presentation entitled ‘Foodborne illness in Ireland’. The main points of the presentation covered:

  • The main microorganisms that cause foodborne illnesses.
  • How statistics from HPSC only represent the tip of the iceberg and the reasons for this. 
  • The statistics for infectious intestinal diseases in Ireland for 2016 and 2017.
  • That with notification figures we know the numbers of cases of a particular disease reported, but not the cause.
  • The definition of an outbreak and that the source of an outbreak is not always known. 
  • Information about reported foodborne outbreaks in 2015.
  • Statistics relating to VTEC transmission 2006-2015.
  • Statistics relating to Cryptosporidium transmission 2006-2015.
  • Campylobacter transmission and how it peaks in summer. 
  • Campylobacter transmission in various age groups.
  • Challenges of identifying routes of transmission. 

Action: EL will email the presentation to the members. 

Noted: SS dealt with all queries and the issue of thinning was also discussed only briefly due to time constraints. Darina Allen was pleasurably surprised that the statistics were so low.

Raw Milk Sale

TCamon advised the members that the industry guide being developed by Raw Milk Ireland is being finalised. They will look at what UK raw milk producers are doing in the UK as this could be adapted for Ireland. There was discussion about labelling raw milk products with the phrase “FSAI advises…..” and members were advised that this is an industry guide and not law.

Action: It was also commented upon that an informal meeting between FSAI, DAFM and Raw Milk Ireland would be useful and ERyan will try to arrange this meeting.

FACE and Other Cheese Guidance

JMurphy informed the members that the European Guide for Good Hygiene Practices in the Production of Artisanal Cheese and Dairy Products has been translated into 24 languages and she circulated a link to the document. She also confirmed that FACE will drive the TEACHEESY initiative. She also updated members on a recent meeting in Brussels. TCamon also reminded members that the FSAI Workbook for Cheese-makers is also a useful resource.

Insecticides in Bees

Due to time constraints this topic was not discussed in detail. 

Action: EL will circulate information from EFSA about insecticides in bees and DRyan will also send an interesting article about the topic to EL for circulation to the members for information.


NMcK gave an update on resources available from DAFM for artisan producers. He advised that there is €15m available under the Rural Development Plan which must be distributed via LEADER and LEADER operating rules must be followed. He added that a call via LEADER will soon be launched. The innovation voucher scheme from Enterprise Ireland was addressed at this point also. NMcK dealt with all queries about how producers could use the funds. 

Action: NMcK will send a link to the Rural Development Plan to EL who will circulate it to the members for information. 

9. AOB

Black Pudding

Noted: There was a query if fresh black pudding should be made with fresh blood in order to be called artisan black pudding. JMat referred the members to the FAQ on harvesting blood.

Action: FSAI will consult with colleagues on this and revert. 

Action: The issue of a definition of for free-range pork also arose and it has to be determined who will follow-up on this. 

Agreed: During the discussions about black pudding it was agreed that a definition for traditional black pudding is required along with one for free-range pork. 


Noted: It was pointed out that food fraud was not just rife in the meat business, but also in the honey sector. The need for a new survey on honey to be carried out was raised and members were advised that this would not be in 2018, but that honey is sampled during routine sampling and country of origin is one of the tests carried out. 

Action: MG had sent in a query related to blended honey prior to the meeting, and due to time constraints, the response will be emailed to him. 

Misuse of Images

Noted: One of the members highlighted an issue of misleading use of images and queried if this is an area for the FSAI. FSAI will consult with colleagues and revert. 

Third Party Accreditation

Noted: A member commented that third party accreditation is an issue for cheese-makers. However, this is not a regulatory issue and members were advised that this is third party accreditation is a commercial standard. Members were advised to liaise and discuss this with other cheese-makers and perhaps seek advice from the NSAI. 


Agreed: The next meeting will take place in April or May and date will be agreed via doodle poll.