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Food Service Forum - 13th November 2014

Minutes of the Food Service Forum - 13th November 2014



  • Lisa O’Connor, FSAI, (LO’C; Chair)
  • Charlene Thornton – Compass Group, Ireland (CT)
  • Adrian Cummins, Restaurant Association (AC)
  • Conor O’Kane, Irish Hotels Federation (CO’K)


  • Eileen Lippert, FSAI (EL)
  • Sharon Williams, FSAI (SW)
  • Pippa Haughton, FSAI (PH)
  • Pat O’Mahony, FSAI (PO’M)
  • Anna Canizares FSAI (ACa)
  • Mary Flynn, FSAI (MF)
  • Frances Douglas, FSAI (FD)


  • Pat O’Sullivan, Irish Prison Service (PO’S)
  • Helena O’Brien, Catering Management Assoc. (HO’B)
  • Martina Donoghue, Aramark (MD)
  • Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)

1. Agree Minutes of Meeting on 12 March 2014

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

2. Matters Arising

Forum membership and attendance

Noted: It has been noted that attendance at the Food Service Forum meetings has been less than ideal and it was queried whether the Forum should continue. The members present were of the view that the Forum is very useful and should continue. However it was stated that if attendance continued to be poor, the future of the Forum would be reviewed.

Action: If members have any ideas for possible new members of the Forum, please contact Eileen Lippert.

3. Allergen Labelling – Pat O’Mahony, (PO’M) FSAI

Noted: Members were advised by PO’M that FSAI is in the process of updating its allergen leaflet which will be available online. A seminar on the subject will take place in Cork on 2 December and it is hoped to hold one in the West of Ireland in early 2015. FSAI is also looking into advertising but this would not happen until the New Year.

Noted: AC suggested that there should be more focus groups on the issue and that the Environmental Health Service (EHS) should write to all food business operators (FBOs) about the issue. He cautioned that it would not be sufficient to refer FBOs to a website for information as there are some rural areas that don’t have broadband. He sought clarification on some grey areas and stressed the need for more information events. He requested that the EHS show some leeway during inspections due to the short lead-in.

Noted: The issue of cross-contamination was discussed. FSAI is limited in what it can do about this as there are no scientific threshold levels. Members were reminded however, that FSAI does send alerts out when cross-contamination and/or labelling errors are detected in foods.

Action: LOC and PJOM will convey this discussion to colleagues in FSAI’s Service Contracts so that they can raise these issues with the EHS.
Action: PJOM declared his willingness to meet with various groups to further inform and educate on this new legal requirement. AC has agreed to arrange further meetings and invite PJOM.

4. Update on MenuCal – Mary Flynn

Noted: MenuCal was launched on 9 April 2014 and so far 1,260 have logged on to use it with 37% of these users being in Dublin. It was reiterated that MenuCal is a voluntary initiative and noted that the new allergen labelling requirement was clearly a priority for the sector. MF provided an update on pilot programmes with HSE hospitals that are underway and she outlined how FSAI is working to adapt MenuCal to act as a filing system for allergen information. The aim is to of launch this new application in the very near future. The main features/aims of the app were explained.

Noted: Concerns were expressed that many suppliers don’t have allergen information to provide to their customers and this was discussed.
Action: Additional statistics on the use of MenuCal were sought. EL will liaise with MF and revert with the answers.
Agreed/Action: MF agreed to write a procedure for setting up an allergen management system as soon as possible.
Action: Members requested that the FSAI arrange for the allergen leaflets to be distributed via representation groups – e.g. Irish Hotel Federation and Restaurants Association of Ireland.

5. Sous Vide and Food Safety – Pippa Haughton

Noted: PH gave a presentation on the new FSAI factsheet on Sous Vide and Food Safety in which she:

  • explained the process of sous vide;
  • outlined the equipment used/required for sous vide;
  • advised on recommendations for cooking;
  • listed equivalent temperature and time combinations
  • gave details on FSAI Guidance Note No. 20 on Industrial Processing of Heat-Chill Foods;
  • elaborated on cooling and referred the members to FSAI Guidance Note No. 15 on Cook-Chill systems in the Food Service Sector (Rev 1):
  • detailed the appropriate storing and reheating requirements

Action: EL will circulate the link to the members. It can be found online at:

Noted: Discussion took place on the increased use of sous vide and the fact that many TV cookery shows use the method. The point was made that many hotels use this process for room service.

Action: LOC will look into doing a print run of this leaflet for distribution to hotels. An article on sous vide will also be written for the FSAI newsletter. 

6. Quality and Qualification Ireland (QQI) Review of Standards – Sharon Williams (SW)

Noted: SW explained how FETAC and HETAC were merged to form QQI. Following a review by QQI of some awards it was identified that there was a need to rationalise the food safety awards. A working group was formed to do this and SW thanked CT of this Forum for volunteering to assist with this review. SW explained that QQI will conduct a public consultation on the revised awards before they are finalised.

Noted: SW took this opportunity to show the members the new training skills cards FSAI has produced. These cards can be used as training aids for food handlers. They can be used as the basis for a training programme, as a recap activity at the end of a training course or as a refresher training exercise at any time. The training cards are compatible with the FSAI training guides and are available to purchase from the FSAI website. Samples were given to the members who complimented FSAI on this initiative. More details are available at

7. Food Contact Materials (FCM) (Ana Canizares) (ACa)

Noted: ACa gave a summary of what FCMs are and some of their potential issues. There is widespread non-compliance and the FSAI is trying to create awareness of this issue. To this end a leaflet and a training video has been developed and an e-learning module is also available. She explained the background to why work is being carried out and acknowledged that the legislation is rather complex. The members appreciate that FSAI is trying to simplify the legislation for FBOs.

8. Legislation Update

Noted: Due to resource issues, FSAI will no longer be issuing the legislation update in the form it used to take. As the members would still like to receive this information, FSAI will review how to provide this service to the members. 

9. Emerging Risks

Noted: There were none. 

10. AOB


Noted: The members queried why the legislation regarding allergen labelling of loose foods was different in Northern Ireland. FSAI explained that some Member States decided to require written information while others didn’t. In Ireland the public consultation highlighted a strong consumer demand for written information.

Raw milk cheeses

Noted: LOC advised the members that premises serving raw milk cheeses must advise their customers that the cheese was made with raw milk so that consumers can make an informed choice.

11. Date of Next Meeting

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