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Food Service Forum - 17th October 2013

DATE & TIME: 17 October 2013 at 14:00



  • Lisa O’Connor, FSAI, (Chair)
  • Pat O’Sullivan, Irish Prison Service (PO’S)
  • Helena O’Brien, Catering Management Assoc. (HO’B)
  • Nicola McDonnell, McDonalds, (NMcD)
  • Louise Collins, Rocket Restaurants (LC)
  • Charlene Thornton, Compass Group (CT)
  • Kim Leonard, Restaurant Association (KL)
  • Conor O’Kane, Maldron Hotel (CO’K)


  • Eileen Lippert, FSAI (EL)
  • Bernard Hegarty, FSAI (BH)
  • Peter Whelan, FSAI (PW)
  • Dorothy Guina Dornan FSAI, (DGD)
  • Celine Donoghue, FSAI (DC)
  • Pat O’Mahony, FSAI (PJO’M)


  • Nigel Staveley, Compass Group (NS)
  • Ruth Hegarty, Euro-toques, (RH)
  • Martina Donoghue, Aramark (MD)
  • Mark Anderson, Compass Group (MA)
  • Pauline Cox, Compass Group (PC)
  • Irene Gunning, Early Childhood Ireland (IG)
  • Gail Carroll, FSAI, (CG)

1. Agree Minutes of Meeting on 11 April 2013

Agreed: The minutes of the last meeting were agreed without amendment.

2. Matters Arising

Noted: HO’B has been unable to identify a suitable representative from HSE procurement section but will keep an eye on possibilities.  Members were also advised to let FSAI know if they knew of someone who would like to join this forum.

3. Revision of Official Control Regulation

Noted: BH presented on the “Revision of Official Controls Regulation (EC) No. 882/2004”.  The main points of the presentation:

  • Revision of 882/2004 is part of a package of legislation proposals from the EC dealing with animal health, plant health and plant reproductive material;
  • The general objectives of the 882/2004 revision:  
    1. Simplification/clarification
    2. Consolidation of an integrated approach across the agri-food chain
    3. Appropriate resources for control authorities through fees charged on operators;
  • “Risk basis” controls
  • Combat of fraud;
  • Better financing of official controls;
  • Possibility of mandatory fees for inspections & possible exemptions;
  • Next steps;
  • Link to further information.

Noted: A hard copy of the presentation was distributed to members at the meeting and discussions arose, especially regarding consistency of inspection.  At this juncture, DGD updated the members on the Enforcement Consistency group which the FSAI set up in 2004.  Members were encouraged to feed into it if they had issues on a national level.  Reference was also made to the review of the delivery of official controls in Ireland which is currently underway.  It was confirmed that some members of this Forum had volunteered to participate in that review. 

4. Food Fraud

Noted: PW from FSAI gave a presentation on this topic, the main points of which were:

  • Food fraud is not a new issue
  • Definition of food fraud
  • Membership of the Food Fraud Task Force
  • Food fraud is a global issue
  • An outline of the scope and objectives of Europol and Interpol’s operation OPSON
  • Results from operation OPSON from 2011 and 2012
  • Sometimes it’s easy to spot fake food products, sometimes it is not (examples were given)
  • Updated members on a number of food fraud investigations
  • Elaborated and highlighted the complexity of these investigations
  • Food control agencies have to protect both consumers’ health and interests
  • Industry has the primary responsibility to ensure the traceability and authenticity of ingredients and products
  • Cooperation between agencies and industry across different countries is needed in order to ensure a successful investigation
  • Laboratories need to develop more sophisticated techniques for testing/proving origin and composition.

Noted: Members were advised to be on the look-out for fake food products with the advice that - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

5. Labelling of Allergens

Noted: PJO’M advised the members about general changes to food labelling legislation and specifically on changes relating to labelling allergens in loose foods.  To assist industry, a free seminar on the topic will take place in Teagasc Food Research Centre in Ashtown, Dublin 15 on 20 November.

Noted: There was much discussion about the recent consultation on allergen labelling of foods sold loose.   The consultation closed in June.

6. Update on Calories on Menus

Noted: LO’C provided some statistics from a telephone survey which FSAI conducted between October 2012 and January 2013 on the uptake of calorie menu labelling.   Overall the main outcome of the evaluation is that the majority of SMEs are in favour of calorie menu labelling, however the main barrier for most of these businesses is the lack of skills and knowledge on how to do calorie calculations.  In order to assist the industry, FSAI is working on developing a calories calculator designed to provide food businesses with an online technical tool which will help them calculate the calorie values of portions of food.  The calculator will be available to all businesses free-of-charge and full online support and training materials will be provided alongside the calculator.

Noted: The FSAI aims to launch the calculator in February 2014.

7. Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Outbreak Update

Noted: LO’C presented to the members about this recent outbreak.  The most notable points were:

  • Information about the virus - the most common symptoms, incubation period, how it spreads
  • Timeline of the outbreak
  • Why the focus was on imported frozen berries
  • Difficulty involved in tracing the source of contamination
  • Outlined how food analysis was carried out
  • Spoke about the evidence for the frozen berry source
  • Shared some hypotheses of the outbreak control team
  • Some positives have resulted in the outbreak – e.g. the Irish NVRL can type HAV isolates and increased awareness and vigilance in the berry supply chain.

8. Legislation Update

Noted: A hard copy of the legislation update was distributed at the meeting and LOC directed members to the sections of the document of most relevance to them, especially in relation to health claims.  It was suggested that the RAI contact its members about this.

Noted: DGD spoke to the members about new traceability requirements for sprouts and seeds.

9. Potential Emerging Risks

Noted: Other than food fraud and viral contamination of berries, which were already discussed, nothing else was raised.

10. AOB

Action: NMcD had a query about developments in GMO policy and legislation.  FSAI will include this as an agenda item at the next meeting.

11. Date of Next Meeting

Action: EL will circulate a doodle poll with dates in spring 2014 in order to arrange the next meeting.