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Artisan Forum - 22 May 2014

Minutes of the Artisan Forum Meeting, 22 May 2014


Wayne Anderson, FSAI (WA) Chair
Darina Allen, Ballymaloe Cookery School (DA)
Sean Kent, Poultry breeder (SK)
Dave Lang, ACBI (DL)
Declan Ryan, Arbutus Breads (DR)
Michael Gleeson, Irish Beekeepers Association (MG)
Jeffa Gill, Durrus Cheese (JG)
Donal Lehane, Food NPD Teo (DL)
Michael Healy, Wild Irish Game (MH)
John Brennan, Leitrim Organic Farming Co-op (JB)
Eddie O’Neill, Teagasc (EO’N) replacement for Pat Daly, Teagasc


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)
John Matthews, FSAI (JM)
Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)
Pat Daly, Teagasc (PD)
Sally Barnes, Woodcock Smokery (SB)
Rupert Hugh Jones (RHJ)

In Attendance

Oonagh Eustace, FSAI (OE)
Tim Camon, FSAI (TC)
Lisa O’Connor, FSAI (LO’C)
Kieran Jordan, Teagasc (KJ)

1. Agree Minutes of Meeting of 5 November 2013

Agreed: The minutes were agreed subject to a few editorial amendments.

2. Matters Arising

Poultry advisor

Noted: WA wrote to Prof Gerry Boyle from Teagasc regarding the lack of a specialist poultry advisor.  Prof Boyle suggested a meeting to discuss the issue.  WA proposed to members that he and DA meet with Prof Boyle initially for a discussion. 

Agreed: WA and DA to attend meeting with Prof Gerry Boyle.

Action: WA to arrange a meeting with Prof Gerry Boyle, Teagasc and DA.


Noted: SK mentioned that one issue is to define local retail.  Draft guidance on this will be prepared with help from DAFM.  It will then need to be sent to DGAGRI for comment.

Duck eggs

Noted: The HPSC paper on the duck egg outbreak of Salmonella has not yet been published but will be circulated to the members when it is available.

Stunning of birds

Noted: SK reported that there has been a recent survey of slaughtering experience completed which has been sent to DGSANCO and DAFM.  It will also be sent to DG AGRI in the coming months.

PCR Method for detection of VTEC

Noted: CIAS wrote to Alan Reilly (AR) who has received the letter and has referred it to Ray Ellard to follow up in due course.

Small slaughter of poultry

Noted: The survey has not yet been finalised but will be circulated once ready.

Noted: Report on FVO Poultry mission has not yet been published but will be circulated once ready.

Schmallenberg virus

Noted: SK has not yet been in contact with Martin Blake, DAFM.  He noted that he has read some interesting publications regarding vaccines.

Action: SK to forward publications to WA on vaccines for circulation to members.

Raw Milk

Noted: As FSAI position on raw milk was reiterated, WA suggested to members the possibility of developing and industry guide under provisions of regulation 852/2006. 

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


Noted: WA mentioned to members that any queries related to food labelling should go through the FSAI Advice Line.

Pesticides in Tea

Noted: TC explained that DAFM do not have a method for testing for pesticides in tea.  It is currently being drafted.

3. Agree Draft Agenda

Noted: The draft agenda was agreed.

4. VTEC testing in raw milk cheese- Dr Kieran Jordan of Moorepark

Noted: KJ gave this presentation on PCR testing for VTEC in raw milk cheese and the main points of the presentation were:

  • What is a VTEC
  • What is a PCR
  • Methods of control of VTEC
  • Animal husbandry
  • Food production
    - Explanation of the method of PCR
    - PCR methodology for VTEC
    - What to do with a positive result
    - Guidance document from the EU for a harmonised interpretation of the results – Draft 1, 2 and 3 and possible future drafts
    - Whole genome sequencing

Noted: LOC updated members about the difficulties and challenges of discovering the cause of the 2011 VTEC outbreak in Germany.  A discussion ensued regarding the outbreak.  It was noted that some plants can internalise pathogens through water uptake from roots via openings in leaves. 

Noted: WA also explained that Regulation 178/2002 on the general food law requires that a precautionary approach should always be taken the risk is unknown pending further information gathering and risk assessment.

Noted: LOC described the work at European Commission level to develop guidance for Member States on risk management actions following identification of VTEC by PCR. This document is on its third draft and is due out in 2014. It will help to clarify control activities in this area.

5. Facilitating scale up of artisan meat product businesses – Darina Allen

Noted: DA sent an email to WA regarding the facilitating scale up of artisan meat products businesses which was circulated to members.  The email outlined the difficulties a pie making business had when scaling up their business.  WA made it clear that the Artisan Forum does not comment specifically on individual cases. Therefore, a general discussion ensued regarding food safety problems associated with scale up.  The higher volume of sales, the higher risk and also the more consumers that could be involved all contribute to the risks and therefore in the costs of expanding. 

Noted: The interpretation of what the legislation requires can also cause confusion for food business operators (FBO’s).  Artisan Forum members said that it would be helpfully if inspectors were in a position to give help and solutions to FBO on how to achieve such requirements.

Agreed: This issue could also be addressed at the meeting which will be arranged with Gerry Boyle and DA.

Noted: EO’N informed members of Enterprise Ireland and the help they can provide to companies.  JL also noted that LEADER can provide business with grants. 

Action: WA to contact LEADER and Enterprise Ireland regarding the grant scheme they have for businesses.

6. EFSA activity on bee health – Wayne Anderson

Noted: WA brought the bee health section of EFSA’s website to the member’s attention.  He explained that it showed all work that EFSA has done and all reports that have been completed on bee health.

Noted: A DAFM expert could attend if members raised questions relating to bee health.

Action: OE to circulate a link to bee health section and members to review before next meeting. DA to inform WA if a DAFM speaker would be needed for the next meeting.

7. Update on Guidance Note on Marketing Terms – Wayne Anderson

Noted: OE circulated to members the comments that were received after the public consultation on the Guidance Note on Marketing Terms.  WA explained that the working group will be working through the comments to try incorporating them in the report where appropriate. 

8. Update on Hepatitis in frozen berries – Lisa O’Connor

Noted: LOC updated members on Hepatitis in frozen berries, some of the main points were:

  • Information about the virus - common symptoms, the very long incubation period, a human illness
  • Timeline of the outbreak (including the outbreaks in the Nordic countries & the Italian outbreak)
  • Details of the Irish investigation – links to Italian cases
  • Difficulty involved in tracing the source
  • Evidence that frozen berries were the most likely source
  • Irish outbreak is over as of October 2013
  • EFSA report on traceability will be published in July.

Action: OE to circulate presentation to members.

9. Quail Slaughtering – John Brennan

Noted: JB updated members to an issue experienced by a local quail farmer; unfortunately there is no approved poultry slaughterhouse in the vicinity of this farmer that can handle quail.  JB discussed the possibility of an on-site slaughterhouse.

Action: WA to inform JM of this issue and ask him to discuss it with James Madden who is the Local Authority Vet in the area of the producer.

10. Teagasc Update

Noted: EO’N informed the members of the following events:

  • Food Innovations gateways - held 21 May - Meat@Gateways
  • Butcher skills courses
  • 3 day cheese manufacturing course (fully booked)
  • Food works – creating global food entrepreneurs with Bord Bia.
  • Product developments through food section innovation vouchers

11. New Zealand Enquiries into Cl. botulinum incident in whey powder

Noted: Alan Reilly prepared a briefing document on the New Zealand enquiries into Cl. botulinum incident in whey powder; which was circulated amongst the members for information.

12. Campylobacter report from FSAI

Noted: Agenda item 12 - Campylobacter report from FSAI will be postponed until the next meeting.

13. Salmonella report

Noted: Agenda item 13 – Salmonella report will be postponed until the next meeting.

14. Correspondence & AOB

Noted: WA wrote to Caroline Robinson to thank her for her contributions to the Forum.

Noted: Members were notified of an email recently received from Elizabeth Bradley, Carlow Cheese; stating her concerns regarding PCR methodology in testing cheese and the lack of a communication in agreeing a framework for work practices.

Noted: WA mentioned to members the Dublin City Christmas Market which will be held in Stephens Green this year and the fact they are looking for stall holders.

Agreed: The date of the next meeting will be determined by doodle poll.  DA suggested a meeting in August/September.