Skip to main content

Food Service Forum - 19th May 2015

Minutes of the Food Service Forum 19th May 2015 in FSAI Seminar Room


  • Lisa O’Connor, FSAI, (LO’C; Chair)
  • Charlene Thornton – Compass Group, Ireland (CT)
  • Kim Leonard, Restaurant Association (KL)
  • Helena O’Brien, Catering Management Association (HOB)
  • Niamh Devaney, Gather & Gather (ND)
  • Diane Geelan, Aramark, (DG)
  • Catherine Higgins, McDonalds (CH)
  • Louise Collins, Eddie Rockets (LC)
  • Caroline Byrne, Euro-toques (CB)


  • Eileen Lippert, FSAI (EL)
  • Pat O’Mahony, FSAI (PO’M)
  • Mary Flynn, FSAI (MF)
  • Gail Carroll, FSAI (GC)
  • Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)


  • Pat O’Sullivan, Irish Prison Service (PO’S)
  • Adrian Cummins, Restaurant Association of Ireland (AC)
  • Martina Donoghue, Aramark (MD)

1. Agree Minutes of Meeting on 13 November 2014

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

2. Matters Arising

Procedure for setting up an allergen management system

Noted: While MF agreed to write this procedure at the last meeting, this is no longer required as this has been addressed in the updated allergen’s leaflet.

Sous Vide

Agreed: Members were in agreement that there is no need to print the sous vide fact sheet. Having it available on the website is sufficient.

Action: LOC to ensure that an article on sous vide will be submitted to fsainews.

Food contact materials (FCM)

Action: The FCM e-learning module is due to be launched at the end of May and members will be notified.

3. Membership and Future of the Forum

Noted: LOC explained that due to low attendance in the past, FSAI decided to table this item to establish if the Forum was still needed. She acknowledged that attendance at today’s meeting is the best that there has been for some time. She asked the members to consider what they would like to achieve through the Forum and if they had suggestions on possible new members.

Agreed: Members agreed that it is a useful Forum and that it should continue, especially as issues such as MenuCal, country of origin labelling for meat sold loose will be of interest to the members in the near future.

Action: Members were invited to send their suggestions about possible new members to EL. EL will compile a list of the current membership by company and will circulate it to assist with their deliberations.

4. Food Allergens Update – Pat O’Mahony

Noted: PO’M joined the meeting to discuss any issues that members might have with the new allergens legislation. He commented that EHOs raised some issues via a recent webinar and he added that there will be a ‘Breakfast Bite’ in the FSAI in June to deal with any issues. Members commented that they were not having as many issues with the allergen labelling as first expected.

Action: Members with specific comments regarding the legislation were advised to contact Dave Maguire in the Department of Health (DoH).
Noted: There were several clarification requests, mainly dealing with cross-contamination and whether wheat or gluten is the allergen. PO’M explained that the legislation requires that it is name of the cereal that contains the gluten that must be labelled (e.g. wheat) and not the word gluten.

Action: EL will send members details about the Breakfast Bite on allergens. Members were also invited to contact EL if they have any additional queries about allergens.

5. MenuCal – Mary Flynn

Noted: MF gave the background to this. She explained that the amended MenuCal system will be available in September and gave a short rundown of how the system will work and added that there will be an e-learning module available on how to use the system.

Action: During discussions, the matter of gluten and gluten free came up and EL will circulate the FSAI guidance document on ‘gluten and gluten-free’ to members.

Noted: As the DOH is considering the mandatory implementation of calories on menus, all queries on the issue should be directed to the Department. FSAI is encouraging food businesses to voluntarily add calories on menus.

Noted: Members were informed that FSAI is liaising with FSA NI regarding the MenuCal system

6. FSAI Guidance Note 29 – Use of Food Marketing Terms

Noted: A copy of the recently published guidance note was made available to all the members and LOC gave the background to the document. She advised the members that FSAI is planning a seminar of large scale manufacturers to increase awareness of the guidance note.

Noted: There was a query as to whether this was a legally binding document, and it was confirmed that as it is guidance, is not legally binding, but manufacturers who are members of Food and Drink Ireland (FDII) have pledged to follow it.

7. Campylobacter

Noted: LOC gave an update on this issue. She explained that the skin of the chicken is the most contaminated part and reminded members that chicken, whether whole birds or portions with or without skin, should not be washed before cooking as washing only results in cross-contamination of kitchen surfaces. Members were also reminded that undercooked liver (pate) is also a high risk food for campylobacter.

Members were advised that research has recently shown that Irish farms with high biosecurity (good hygiene) have lower campylobacter than those with poor biosecurity. Guidelines for good biosecurity will be developed. Members were urged to ask their suppliers about the biosecurity measures on farm. She added that freezing kills campylobacter and after a few weeks of storage meat can be free of contamination.

8. Update on Revised QQI Food Safety Awards

Noted: LOC explained that QQI is retiring some of its smaller awards and updating others and gave some of the reasons for this. She alluded to a consultation document which was sent to members for their comments and encouraged members to comment.

9. Emerging Risks

Noted: Members were encouraged to contact the FSAI if in the course of their business they see any cause for concern regarding emerging risks. Food security was raised by a member as an area of concern and FSAI acknowledged this and stated that the Authority is carrying out more controls in this regards and the issue is very much on the FSAI radar.

10. AOB

Shelf-life determination documentation

Noted: One of the members queried if it is usual for an EHO to request shelf-life determination documentation. The member in question obtained these documents from their supplier. The member was advised to communicate with their EHO in order to fully understand why information is being requested.


Noted: There have been a number of issues regarding the microbiological safety of pesto and due to these concerns, the FSAI plans to develop guidance on the issue.

Noted: One of the members commented that some of pH meters are a very useful piece of equipment to have in a kitchen and this would help address some issues regarding shelf-life.

FSAI/HSE Enforcement Consistency Working Group

Noted: Members were reminded about this working group and invited to send any issues they might have to EL who will pass them on.

Norovirus in berries in Sweden

Noted: The consumption of imported frozen raspberries has caused three fatalities in a nursing home in Sweden. Members were reminded that FSAI is continuing, as a precautionary measure, to advise that imported frozen berries should be boiled for one minute before consumption.

Food Cloud - Surplus Food Working Group

Noted: This recently established working group had its first meeting during the week. CB represents this Forum on the WG. She gave a short synopsis of the meeting and members will be updated on the progress of the group.

11. Date of Next Meeting

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