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Artisan Forum - 19th June 2017

Minutes of the Artisan Forum Meeting, 19th June 2017.


  • John Matthews, FSAI (JMat)
  • Darina Allen, Ballymaloe Cookery School (DA)
  • Declan Ryan, Arbutus Breads (DR)
  • Sean Kent, Poultry Hatchery (SK)
  • Jane Murphy, Cáis (JMur)
  • Donal Lehane, Food NPD Teo (DL)
  • Marian Byrne, DAFM (BM)
  • Thomas Quigley, Irish Beekeeping (TQ)
  • Kevin Brennan, Teagasc (KB)


  • Raymond O’Rourke, Taste Council (RO’R)
  • Kevin Sheridan, Sheridan’s Cheesemongers (KS)
  • Sally Barnes, Woodcock Smokery (SB)
  • John Brennan, Leitrim Organic Farming Co-op (JB)
  • Rupert Hugh-Jones (RHJ),
  • Jeffa Gill, Durrus Cheese (JG)
  • Eddie O’Neill, Teagasc (EO’N) 

In Attendance

  • Kathryn Sewell (KathS)
  • Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)
  • Ray Ellard, FSAI (RE)
  • Judith O’Connor, FSAI (JO’C) Tim Camon, FSAI (TC)


JMat welcomed the group and invited all to introduce themselves and identify the group or area they represented. 

Brexit: RE gave an update on Brexit. Until it is clear what deal on food rules is taking place, the effects on the food sector will be uncertain. The main issues affected will probably be imports and exports, GM foods and Novel Foods and labelling which may be different to the EU rules etc. UK may become a third country which will lead to challenging times. There is a group set up with key members from FSAI and DoH and they will be meeting this week.

RE advised the group that there were 55-85 new sets of regulations aimed at food & feed inspectors, which will need to be adopted by 2019. This will also affect laboratories and include issues such as food fraud and deception. 

Noted: The possibility of cross-border smuggling of low cost meat and dairy products from the UK could be an issue, and will need to be closely monitored.


The minutes were reviewed with the following issues: 

Protocol for organic and free-range artisan poultry production:

This is still an on-going issue. DA suggested that we find solutions to help this sector – producing food on a small scale - support should be available in each county. There was discussion on this. 

Noted: JM undertook to write an information note on the issue. 

Action: A working group may be set up on this to identify the goals and agree a timeline to find a solution. 

Action: FSAI marketing terms Guidance Note to be put back on the agenda for the next meeting.

Noted: A guidance note on the production of fermented meats is being developed by FSAI. 

Noted: JMat spoke about the disposal and use of ABPs and advised that DAFM had agreed that if there any queries they should be sent to Ms Mairead Broderick, at the DAFM offices in Portlaoise.

Action: amend minutes and recirculate to group. Note: MB to send in changes to item 4. 

Noted: There’s still concern with the possible effects of nicotinamide on honey bees.


JMur gave an update on the Cheese sector. Overall cheese makers are concerned about the regulation of their industry, and feel under pressure, especially in relation to use of PCR testing. 

There was much discussion on this. JMur referred to an assured COP scheme in France that protects the cheese makers and questioned whether this could be implemented here. They also need guidelines on the use of raw milk. 

In the UK there are classes set up for EHOs and cheese makers to attend to learn how cheese is made – could this be something to progress here for the dairy inspectorate? It was noted that, in ROI, cheese producing FBOs are supervised by Dairy Produce Inspectors, who are already trained & technically proficient in this work.

There was discussion on the risks in raw milk cheese and products.

Action: TC to share paper he produced on dairy related foodborne illness.


It was agreed to:

  • Attempt to arrange up to 4 meetings per year;
  • Write to all current members, to establish their interest in continuing attending Forum meetings;
  • Identify possible new members representing Artisan organisations and sectors;
  • Request Forum members to commit to attending meetings regularly - at least 50%. 

Suggestions for other members:

  • Mr Long – auditor on food systems
  • Simone Kelly – Rocket man, Cork (RTÉ foods)

Terms of Reference

It was agreed to change the ToR of the Artisan Forum to include SMEs and domestic production.


TC gave an update on this and informed the group that it won’t be known until the end of the year if EU is being given an extension. There was discussion on this. It is likely that the EU will be in favour of retention of the product. 

There was some discussion on the scientific research conducted by EFSA and by universities. 


JO’C attended the meeting to give a short presentation on ‘Selling Food Online’. A leaflet is being produced on this and will be published later on this month. 

E-Learning training courses: the group was informed of online training courses on topics such as food additives, microbiological criteria and prepacked food, etc. It is available for anyone to complete in the online training section

7. AOB

JMur gave an update on the EU guide to good hygiene practice for cheese production. It will be translated into Irish and completed by October. A follow-up “train the trainer” programme called ‘Teacheesy’ will be rolled out. So far there has been very positive feedback from the 42 artisan cheese makers in Ireland.

There was discussion on small, local producers wanting to sell their eggs in the local shops and that they are unable to as their eggs were not stamped.

Some inconsistencies with inspections of food from EHOs were discussed including:

(a) Using boxes of ice-cream for food storage
(b) Menus re-printed to show list of allergens
(c) Kitchen having to be the same size as the eating area
(d) Use of timber chopping boards
(e) Use of pre packed veg

These issues were discussed and clarified by DGD who also advised there was an FAQ guide on our website

Noted: The possibility of a log with issues resolved by the fora was discussed. 

DA asked for an update on the recent food incident of salmonella poisoning in Dublin but due to confidentiality & on-going legal proceedings the FSAI were unable to give further updates at this time. 

The group thanked WA for all his help over the years of chairing these meetings


The next meeting will be scheduled for September, using the doodle poll.