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Food Service Forum - 11th April 2013

DATE & TIME: 11th April 2013 at 11:00



  • Lisa O’Connor, FSAI, (Chair)
  • Martina Donoghue, Aramark (MD)
  • Pat O’Sullivan, Irish Prison Service (PO’S)
  • Helena O’Brien, Catering Management Assoc. (HO’B)
  • Nicola McDonnell, McDonalds, (NMcD)


  • Eileen Lippert, FSAI (EL)


  • Gail Carroll, FSAI, FSAI (GC)
  • Deirdre Kennedy, FSAI, (DK)


  • Nigel Staveley, Compass Group (NS)
  • Ruth Hegarty, Euro-toques, (RH)
  • Helena O’Brien, Catering Management Assoc. (HOB)
  • Louise Collins, Rocket Restaurants (LC)
  • Mark Anderson, Compass Group (MA)
  • Fiona O’Doherty, Insomnia (FO’D)
  • Harry O’Kelly, Insomnia (HO’K)
  • Pauline Cox, Compass Group (PC)

1. Welcome and Introduction

 Noted: As there were new people at the meeting, everyone present introduced themselves.

2. Minutes of Meeting on 29 November 2012

Agreed: The minutes of the last meeting were agreed subject to some minor amendments.

3. Matters Arising

Action: HO’B needs to consult with some people with regards to proposing someone from the procurement section of the HSE onto this Forum.

Noted: The revised guidance note on food stalls is expected to be published in quarter two.

Noted: The salt seminar will take place on 28th May and EL will circulate a flyer about this when it is available.

4. Update on Horsemeat

Noted: LO’C summarised results of industry tests carried out for horsemeat.  Results of tests by competent authorities are expected to be published by the Commission on Tuesday 16th April.

Noted: Members also discussed the recent discovery of low levels of ‘bute’ in a corned beef product and of a recent recall of beef in Holland.

Action: FSAI to find out what Irish plant was involved in the Dutch recall and revert to MD.

Noted: One of the members had a query about access to suppliers’ test results.  FSAI is of the view that a customer is entitled to see test results, and to consider doing their own spot checks.

Noted: There was much discussion about the horsemeat incident. It was queried if there would be tests carried out for horsemeat in chicken.  There was some positive news in that the cost of testing has halved since the horsemeat issue first arose.

Noted: Discussions took place about gas-flushed chicken and one member expressed concerns about the quality of product she is receiving. FSAI expressed concern given the work  that has been done to address this in the past.  FSAI advised the member to return the product to the supplier and demand better quality in future or change supplier. 

Noted: A discussion on country of origin of chicken also took place. DK explained that labelling of country of origin of chicken is being discussed in Brussels.

5. Calories on Menus

Noted: For the benefit of the new members, LOC outlined the background to the calories on menus initiative.  She informed the members that FSAI is currently working on software which will be made freely available to assist food businesses to calculate calories themselves.  Members were also notified that an assessment of who is doing what in terms of implementing the initiative has been carried out and when the report is finalised, members will be sent a copy.

Noted: The issue of labelling of energy was raised and discussed and FSAI confirmed that the new Food Information for Consumers legislation requires that both calories and kilojoules are labelled however FSAI does not intend to alter its guidance on the four prinicples for implementation of the calories on menus initiative, as it is thought that the inclusion of kilojoules would not benefit this public health initiative.

Action: At this point one of the members complimented FSAI’s on-line training material on food additives and flavourings. EL will circulate a link to the members.

6. Labelling of Allergens – Deirdre Kennedy, FSAI

Noted: DK explained to the members that non pre-packaged food must be labelled for allergens. She clarified that the list of allergens remains the same.  She asked the members to reply to the allergen consultation that FSAI is currently conducting (closing date 4th June).

Action: EL to remind members to reply to the consultation document which was circulated.

Noted: The members acknowledged the seriousness and complexity of allergen cross-contamination.   Aramark is in the process of developing e-learning on the subject and MD would be happy to share this with the members.   Members also commented that suppliers can play a big role here, especially in terms of reformulating allergens out of products.  Issues surrounding chef’s specials and non-standard dishes/food items were also discussed and this led to the importance of training staff to understand the significance of food allergens. FSAI has information on the 14 allergens in the Safe Catering pack.

Action: FSA UK has very useful information about allergens on its website and EL will circulate this to the members. She will also circulate the information from the Safefood website.

7. Infant Feeding Policy for Ireland

Noted: LO’C provided an overview to this and copies of the report were available and distributed to the members at the meeting.

8. Emerging Risks

Noted: It has been suggested that “Emerging Risks” should be a standing item on Industry Forum agendas. To set the scene, LO’C gave a presentation called ‘Horizon Scanning – Emerging Risks’, the main points of which included:

  • EU level – EFSA’s role;
  • Definition of emerging risks;
  • Early warning systems – INFOSAN and RASFF:
  • The range of threats;
  • EFSA EMRISK Unit – scientific pilot scheme 2010-2012;

Six drivers of emerging risks

I. Climate change;
II. Changing food consumption behaviour;
III. Globalisation of the food chain;
IV. Environmental contamination;
V. New technologies;
VI. Global populations and demographics

Five categories of emerging risks;

I. Chemical;
II. Biological;
III. Animal health;
IV. Plant health;
V. GMO issues

The impact of price on food safety

Action: EL will send a hard copy of the presentation to the members for information.  Members were requested to be on the lookout for possible issues and to inform FSAI of anything that they see that could be classified as an emerging risk.

9. Legislation Update

Noted: A legislation update document was circulated to the members and LO’C summarised the most salient points.

Action: This document will be emailed to the members.

10. AOB

New Board and Chairman

Noted: Members were notified that FSAI has a new board and a new chairman.  EL will send members the link to this information to the members.

FIRM Campylobacter project

Noted: LO’C gave a quick update on this research project.

Action: EL to email the project leaflet to members

Pest control

Noted: A member had a recent meeting with its pest controllers who commented that they have been inundated with callouts about ant infestations.   This led to much discussion about standards and licensing of pest control companies.

Action: EL will look into this issue and try to establish who licences this sector.

Testing for banned substances

Noted: One of the members was of the view that there should be more frequent testing for banned pesticides. 

Action: FSAI recommended that members raise this matter with their suppliers.

Noted: A member raised the issue of lead in rice.

11. Date of Next Meeting

Action: EL will circulate a doodle poll with dates in Oct/Nov in order to arrange the next meeting.