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Food Service Forum - 12th March 2014

DATE & TIME: 12 March 2014



  • Lisa O’Connor, FSAI, (LO’C; Chair)
  • Adrian Cummins, Restaurant Association (AC)
  • Helena O’Brien, Catering Management Assoc. (HO’B)
  • Louise Collins, Rocket Restaurants (LC)
  • Marion Brennan, Early Childhood Ireland (MB)
  • Martina Donoghue, Aramark (MD)
  • Niamh Devaney, Compass Group (ND)
  • Nicola McDonnell, McDonalds, (NMcD)
  • Pat O’Sullivan, Irish Prison Service (PO’S)


  • Eileen Lippert, FSAI (EL)
  • Anna Picazo, FSAI (AP)
  • Anne-Marie Boland, FSAI (AMB)
  • Dorothy Guina Dornan FSAI, (DGD)
  • Helen Crowley, FSAI (HC)
  • Mary Flynn, FSAI (MF)
  • Pat O’Mahony, FSAI (PO’M)

1. Agree Minutes of Meeting on 17 October 2013

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

2. Matters Arising

Calorie calculator software – Mary Flynn (MF)

Noted: MF provided an update on the progress of the calorie calculator software which FSAI will be providing free of charge to food establishments.  She outlined some issues experienced and commented that progress is being made on the ‘fat wizard’ aspect which will help businesses calculate fat content when fat is used in cooking.  The software will be available as an app but it is recommended to use it on a desk top until users become more familiar with it.   FSAI will provide advice on the system via email and e-training is being developed to accompany the tool.  It was confirmed that the calories on menus initiative will be voluntary.

Action:  It is due to be launched in April and members of the Forum will be invited to the launch when a date is confirmed.

Noted: Members had a number of comments and questions including:

  • Who will be regulating the accuracy of the information on display?
  • What tolerances/leeway will be in effect?
  • Indemnification of small restaurants
  • Will the software be available to consumers?
  • Members were of the view that nutritional content was more important than the calories
  • Some members have asked the RAI to speak against this initiative
  • It was noted that in the USA the initiative was for businesses with 15+ outlets and not for small independent businesses.

3. Update on the Revision of Official Control Regulation – Anna Picazo (AP)

Noted: AP gave an update on the revision of this legislation and confirmed that a consultation which was on the FSAI website ended on 27 September 2013.  Four responses and no objections to the new proposals were received. The FSAI prepared a note on the consultation which is available at:
The first finalisation of the new Regulation is due in April.  She noted that the main issue for most Member States is the proposal on fees.  The European Parliament has rejected the plant reproductive materials aspect of the proposal.

4. FSAI Advice-line – Helen Crowley (HC)

Noted: HC gave the members a quick overview of the role of the FSAI information centre and advice-line and added that the FSAI customer charter is to answer queries within five working days, where possible.  There is a low call number 1890 33 66 77, which is available Monday to Friday from 09:00-17:00.  She invited the members to contact the advice-line with any comments or suggestions they had on the FSAI website, especially if they think specific information should be included.   Members were also advised to ring the advice-line with their queries, rather than contacting individual members of staff in the FSAI.

5. Food Information Regulation (FIC) – Anne-Marie Boland (AMB)

Noted: AMB gave a presentation on the new Food Information for Consumers Regulation, which will replace the general labelling Regulation.  She covered:

  • The definition for food information;
  • Who is responsible for the information on a food label (article 8)?
  • What information should be on pre-packed foodstuffs delivered to a premises?
  • Allergens under FIC
  • Allergens in the future
  • Some changes to date of minimum durability
  • Distance selling
  • Origin/place of provenance
  • Key compliance dates
  • FSAI contact details for more information

Action: The presentation will be emailed to the members for information.

Noted: The  Department of Health (DoH) is drafting national rules on labelling of foods sold loose.  Members were advised to contact the Food Unit in the DoH if they had any queries. It was clarified that FSAI did not make any recommendations to the DoH on the issue of allergen labelling of loose foods, beyond supplying the outcome of the public consultation it held in 2013 on behalf of the DoH.  Members were advised that there will be an opportunity to comment on the proposed national rules when they are issued.  Meanwhile members were advised to work with their suppliers to identify the 14 allergens that they will need to provide information on, from December 2014. 
Members were also informed that there is likely be a consultation on the provenance/origin of food and members will be notified about this.

6. Legislation Update

Noted: There was nothing relevant to this group since the last meeting.

Action: The views of the members were sought regarding the streamlining of the legislation updates which are available on the FSAI website but is not forum specific.  Members were asked to send their suggestions to EL.

7. GMOs – Pat O’Mahony (PO’M)

Noted: This agenda item was at the request of one of the members.  PO’M reported that he was not aware of any major developments in the area of GMOs.  There is mention of cultivation issues and animal feed in the media but this area is not in the FSAI remit.   He clarified that a GM label is required if more than 0.9% of a food or ingredient is derived from a GM source.

8. Food Cloud

Noted: LO’C described the new social enterprise, Food Cloud, which facilitates food donation via a simple app.  She added that FSAI plans to prepare food safety guidance on food donation.   She highlighted that food service businesses that donated to charities should incorporate food donation into their food safety management systems and not forget their legal obligation to have traceability on food supplied to charities (i.e. one step forward or customer traceability).

Action: EL will send the contact details of Food Cloud to the members so that they can make their own enquiries.

9. HACCP-based Procedures

Noted: Members were informed about a pilot fact finding audit on HACCP-based procedures which the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) of the Commission carried out in Ireland in January.   The reason Ireland was chosen for the pilot was explained.  The audit is being carried out in eight other countries, with a project report expected in 2015.  LO’C went on to elaborate on some of the issues that were highlighted during the Irish audit and this led to some discussion, especially on chemical legislation and food contact materials (FCM). Members were advised that FSAI is preparing e-learning training material on FCM.

10. Forum Membership

Action: The membership of the Forum was raised and members were invited to let FSAI know if there were possible members that could be invited onto the Forum. 
To facilitate logistical arrangements members were urged to contact EL in advance of each Forum meeting to let her know if they could or could not attend.

11. Emerging Risks

Noted: One member had a query about the safety of e-cigarettes, but was advised that this is not within the remit of the FSAI.  Another member had a query about a staff member having TB/meningitis.  LO’C reference HPSC guidance:
• Preventing Foodborne Disease: A Focus on the Infected Food Handler (2004) available at:
• Guidelines on the Prevention and Control of Tuberculosis in Ireland, 2010 - Amended 2014 available at:,4349,en.pdf
• Guidance on bacterial and viral meningitis, available at:

12.  AOB


Noted: LO’C reported that the multi-state investigation coordinated by EFSA was ongoing and that FSAI’s precautionary boil notice for imported berries was still in place.

11. Date of Next Meeting

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