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Food Service Forum - 18th April 2016

Minutes of the Food Service Forum - 18th April 2016



  • Lisa O’Connor, FSAI, (LO’C; Chair)
  • Adrian Cummins, Restaurant Association (KL)
  • Helena O’Brien, Catering Management Association (HOB)
  • Diane Geelan, Aramark, (DG)
  • Catherine Higgins, McDonalds (CH)
  • Martina Donoghue, Aramark (MD)
  • Conor O’Kane, Irish Hotel Federation, (CO’K)
  • Pat Crotty, Vintners Federation of Ireland (PC)


  • Pamela Byrne, FSAI (PaB)
  • Eileen Lippert, FSAI (EL) 
  • Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)
  • Gail Carroll, FSAI, (GC)
  • Frances Douglas , FSAI (FD) 


  • Anna Kozlowska, Insomnia (AK)
  • Charlene Thornton – Compass Group, Ireland (CT)
  • Mark Anderson – Gather and Gather (MA)
  • Caroline Byrne – Euro-toques (CB)
  • Louise Collins, Eddie Rockets (LC)
  • Kathy Hoctor, Irish Prison Service (KH)
  • Mary Flynn, FSAI (MF)

1. Agree Minutes of Meeting on 21 October 2015

Agreed: The minutes of the last meeting were agreed subject to one minor correction.

2. Matters Arising

Noted: There were no matters arising.

3. Welcome to New Members

Noted: There are two new members in the Forum – Pat Crotty and Kathy Hoctor and although only Mr Crotty was present, both were welcomed. Dr Byrne, CEO of the FSAI introduced herself to the members.

4. Update on Campylobacter

Noted: LOC provided an update on the work that has taken place since the last meeting. This included the information that some chicken processors are setting up incentive schemes to encourage farmers to reduce Campylobacter levels on their farms. She also mentioned proposed new EU legislation for the testing of chicken for Campylobacter after slaughter, which is expected to come into force later this year.

Agreed: LOC sought the opinions of the members on how best to remind the food service industry that they should not wash chicken before cooking it and it was suggested that it could be addressed in the Safe Catering Pack (in a similar way that pathogenic E. coli is addressed in the Northern Ireland version of the Pack).

Noted: It was noted that front of pack labelling with the instructions ‘DO NOT WASH’ does not currently happen on wholesale packaging, as it does on retail packs.

Action: When the Safe Catering Pack is next reviewed, the issue of not washing chicken before cooking will be addressed. In addition, FSAI will look at realigning with the revised N. Ireland version in relation to pathogenic E. coli. PaB also agreed to discuss the Campylobacter issue with our counterpart in N. Ireland during Memorandum of Understanding discussions.

5. FSAI Strategy 2016-2018

Noted: PB spoke about the process involved in developing FSAI’s new strategic plan and thanked the members for their input. She gave a presentation in which she elaborated on:

  • The FSAI vision
  • The FSAI mission
  • The values of the FSAI
  • The five strategic goals
  • The seven enablers
  • The five outcomes

Noted: PaB advised the members of FSAI’s plan to establish a group on emerging risks and the Food Service Forum’s views will be represented on this group.

Action: The strategic plan will be published in the next month and a short video outlining the main points will be made and this will be circulated to the members for information.

Noted: Much discussion took place on the FSAI resources available to industry, i.e. the Advice-line, e-learning modules, webinars, Breakfast Bites and Business Start-up events. The members were very surprised to learn of the small number of people manning the Advice-line and they were very complimentary about this service. The Authority is also using social media and is open to changing how things are done. Some of the FSAI’s publications were discussed, in particular the ‘Safe Food to Go’ leaflet which is available in a number of languages.

Action: EL will send links to some of the foreign language leaflets to the members.

Agreed: Members were encouraged to provide feedback on FSAI training in order for content to be updated appropriately. FSAI was advised that Failte Ireland might have data on the food service industry that could be useful to the FSAI.

Noted: AC raised two issues of concern to his members: (a) the perception that there is duplication of work between FSAI and Safefood (b) the regulatory burden on industry. PaB addressed these concerns. She stated that there is an intention to sign an MoU between FSAI and Safefood and this will address some of the perceptions, some of which arise due to overlaps in the organisations respective legislation. Regarding the burden of regulation, she clarified that it is not the intention to ramp up inspections, but to work wiser with available resources. This would entail targeting inspections premises that have most impact on food safety.

Agreed: PC is of the view that the carrot rather than the stick approach works better with regard to the economics of compliance. He asked what are the main issues that come up on the Advice-line that are pertinent to this Forum and perhaps this Forum could address some of these issues.

Action: Food service queries to the Advice-line will be an agenda item at the next meeting.

Noted: PaB noted that this Forum will be instrumental in a stakeholder engagement plan that the FSAI will be mapping out. The Forum will be able to advise FSAI on who it is communicating to, those it is not communicating with and those to whom FSAI is communicating too frequently.

6. MenuCal

Noted: MenuCal has been adapted to assist food businesses in Ireland comply with their legal requirements to display allergen information on foods. While the focus of the software is now to guide users through the process of allergen labelling, it also enables food businesses to calculate calories for their menus. There is a complete training module integrated into the software as well as a dedicated support email help line for users. FSAI is working to develop the interactive training model and it will be rolled out later in the year. It will be a ‘train the trainer’ type model aimed at increasing awareness and use of MenuCal.

Action: If anyone is interested in receiving notifications about upcoming MenuCal training sessions they should can express their interest by emailing

Action: AC requested data on MenuCal and EL will circulate this information to him after the meeting.

Noted: Members were advised that the Department of Health is working on the heads of the bill for the calories on menu legislation.

Action: Members would like to see the scientific evidence that led the FSAI to advise the DoH in favour of listing calories on menus. FSAI will present this evidence at the next meeting of this Forum.

Noted: The representative from the Irish Hotel Federation (IHF) advised the FSAI that the IHF members are in favour of voluntary labelling of calories on menus. The representative from the Restaurants Association of Ireland advised that the members are not in favour.

Noted: The Forum members voiced their concerns and dissatisfaction with the consultation that DoH carried out on calories on menus. Members made the point that if there was a commercial advantage to putting calories on menus, businesses would be doing it already. CO’K informed the meeting that IHF is planning on carrying out a survey on how the allergen legislation was dealt with amongst its members and added that if the calories on menus legislation is dealt with in a similar manner, that would give industry some time to deal with it.

Action: PaB will bring all these issues raised by the member to her next meeting with the Department of Health.

7. FSAI’s Enforcement Consistency Committee

Noted: DGD presented on this Committee which was established in 2004 to deal with enforcement practices where inconsistencies have been identified or where the potential for inconsistencies may arise and to ensure consistent enforcement nationally. The main points of her presentation dealt with:

  • The fact that not all businesses are the same and thus one size does not fit all;
  • Provided some insights into food safety enforcement in Ireland
  • Outlined various FSAI publications which were developed to assist business with their food safety obligations and to provide guidance to inspectors on consistent enforcement;
  • The flexibility and less prescriptive nature of the legislation and how industry has addressed this through agreed national standards (e.g. IS 340);
  • Explained how the Enforcement Consistency Committee works, the rules and the membership;
  • The issues that are discussed;
  • Examples of outputs of the Committee and where to find these on the FSAI website.

Action: EL will circulate the presentation to the members after the meeting.

Noted: AC provided some statistics from a recent survey carried out on RAI members regarding inspections by EHOs and these statistics were discussed for some time. He added that the RAI has concerns regarding the consistency and proportionality of inspections. The lack of consistency in the inspection reports issued was also discussed and some members were complimentary about the reports that the authorities in N. Ireland issue.

Action: FSAI will look into the issue of inconsistent reports.

Noted: DGD outlined the HSE appeals system in place and for more serious issues a business can appeal to the District Court. She also added that new business start-ups should always consult with their EHOs before setting up a food business.

Action: A meeting will be arranged between DGD, AC and GC to discuss the evidence that AC has gathered. Meanwhile, AC will send the detail of the RAI survey to EL who will pass it on to the relevant FSAI staff.

Noted: Members enquired if the lead retail EHO initiative will be rolled out to the food service sector and members were advised that the retail initiative is still in its infancy and needs to be assessed before extending it to other sectors

8. Fraud Complaints from Artisan Producers

Noted: LOC spoke about some complaints the FSAI has received regarding the false advertising of artisan foods on menus. Some businesses are misleading customers and charging premium prices for a cheaper version of the product they’re claiming to be providing.

Action: Members to highlight this complaint with their colleagues/members.

9. Information Sharing/Potential Emerging Risks

Noted: LOC explained to members that they should consult with their EHO when a boil water notice is issued to see if it is safe to continue to use their tea and coffee-making machines (which operate at lower temperatures than boiling temperature). She outlined some examples for the members where it was safe to do so).

10. AOB

Noted: There was no other business.

11. Date of Next Meeting

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