Skip to main content

Minutes of the Food Service Forum - 15th October 2019

 Agreed Minutes of the Food Service Forum


  • Dorothy Guina-Dornan, FSAI (Chair)
  • Alison Connor, FSAI
  • Clodagh Crehan, FSAI
  • Mary Lenehan, FSAI
  • Shaun Smith, FSAI -
  • Carol Heavey, FSAI
  • Helen Statham, KFC
  • Amy Sweetman, RAI
  • Louise Collins, Rocket Restaurants
  • Lana McGinn, Gather & Gather
  • Martina Donoghue, Aramark
  • Conor O’Kane, IHF
  • Mary Flynn, Catering Management Association


  • Adrian Cummins, RAI
  • Louise Hickmott, McDonalds

The Chair welcomed the members to the meeting and all present introduced themselves.

1. Agree Minutes of 9th May 2019

The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed.

2. Matters Arising

There were no other matters arising that were not agenda items.

3. Report of the Scientific Committee of the FSAI: Advice on shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) detection in food 2019 – Dr Mary Lenehan

Dr Mary Lenahan gave a presentation on the recently published report from the Scientific Committee and in particular outlined the testing methods used, interpretation of results and the consequent risk management approach to the detection of STEC in foods. The presentation will be circulated following the meeting.

A query was raised regarding steak tartare. This is not widely consumed in Ireland. It was noted that consumers are aware that this is a risky product. It is critical that it is prepared carefully and close to the time of consumption. Consumers do not perceive a risk with a pink burger which is an entirely different product than steak tartare. FSAI strongly advise against the service of pink burgers. Food businesses who wish to serve rare burgers need to be able to demonstrate that the procedures they have in place are sufficient to ensure food safety. This is particularly difficult to achieve for this product.

Noted: There is a cooking burgers factsheet available which will be circulated following the meeting.

4. Labelling of raw milk/unpasteurised cheese

The risks associated with STEC and raw milk cheese were outlined to the Forum. It was noted that there is an increasing amount of raw milk cheese on sale. FSAI advised of the importance of ensuring that consumers are informed where raw milk cheese is served. Caterers have a responsibility to only serve food which is safe.

Noted: Hoteliers holding Christmas Fairs and selling or offering tasting of raw milk cheese are requested to please inform consumers that the cheese is made from raw milk and of the associated risks.

5. FSAI Guidance on the Safe Production of Sushi

FSAI has developed guidance on the safe production of sushi which is available on the website. The website will be updated further with images of suitable pH meter.

Noted: SS invited members to inform FSAI of any practical issues arise with following the guidance. FSAI advised that there are a number of methods for the production of sushi and sashimi which will ensure they are safe to eat. These are outlines in the guidance.

Noted: This has been raised at the Enforcement Consistency Working Group and EHOs are aware.


CH gave a presentation to the Group noting in particular imports, exports and regulatory requirements. FSAI reiterated that the EU Commission has indicated that in the event of a no deal BREXIT there will be no transition period and therefore no flexibility.

The FSAI asked Caterers to consider their menus if ingredients change due to suppliers changing which may give rise to issues such as country of origin or allergen labelling

7. Permanent baiting

FSAI tabled a document circulated by DAFM to food businesses. DGD outlined the current position regarding permanent baiting and the use of non-toxic bait in both the internal and external environment in accordance with the biocides legislation. FSAI wants to raise awareness with the Food Service Forum Members and asked the Group to talk to the pest control companies that they use to ensure the companies are operating to the new requirements.

DAFM Permanent Baiting Rules are available at:

8. Vegan/Vegetarian

A discussion took place on the use of the terms ‘vegan’ and ‘vegetarian’ in the food service sector. FSAI is raising the issue in the context of allergens and intolerances. Consumers who may be allergic or intolerant to milk may assume that vegan means the product will not contain food of animal origin i.e. milk and opt for a vegan product as a result. There is a duty of care to ensure the products do not contain milk or are not contaminated with milk.

9. Food Service Forum Survey

FSAI thanked the Members for completing the survey. FSAI asked the Group if they had suggestions as to how we might do things better and welcomed any comments.

10. Safe Catering Pack Update

The text has been agreed on the Safe Catering Pack and it will be available in 2020. The new sections on acrylamide and allergens will also be available on the FSAI website to facilitate those who have the current version.

Advice on sushi is now available in the form of an FAQ rather than as a section of the Pack. The updated pack will cost €80. The DVD is no longer available due to GDPR issues.

Safe Production of Sushi is available at

11. AOB

a. Plastics

A discussion took place on the reduction in the use of plastics particularly in the food service sector. The Group noted they are now using bamboo rather than plastic straws and asked if there were any update on the status of EU Directive?

The FSAI Consultative Council is holding it Open Meeting on 21st November. It will focus on the use of plastic packaging in the food sector. An invite will be sent to the Food Service Forum members.

12. Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting will take place in the early 2020.