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Food Service Forum - 21st October 2015

Minutes of the Food Service Forum - 21st October 2015

Location: Market 1, FSAI


  • Lisa O’Connor, FSAI, (LO’C; Chair)
  • Charlene Thornton – Compass Group, Ireland (CT)
  • Adrian Cummins, Restaurant Association (AC)
  • 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)
  • Martina Donoghue, Aramark (MD)
  • Tony Harris, Irish Prison Service (TH)
  • Paul Clifford, Clayton Hotels, (PC)


  • Eileen Lippert, FSAI (EL)
  • Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)


  • Anna Kozlowska, Insomnia (AK)

1. Agree Minutes of Meeting on 19 May 2015

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

2. Matters Arising

Sous vide

Noted: Article on FSAI’s sous vide factsheet was published in FSAI’s newsletter.


Action: EL to circulate the links to the new e-learning modules on food contact materials and on microbiological criteria legislation to the members.


Action: Members invited to submit the names of possible new members to the Forum to EL. To assist in this, EL will circulate the names of the current members.

3. Update on Campylobacter

Noted: LOC informed the members that the Minister for Agriculture met with stakeholders to ask them to develop a national plan to reduce Campylobacter in poultry meat. A Working Group was established which Prof. Patrick Wall is chairing. Two meetings have taken place to date. LOC advised members that a new European microbiological criterion for Campylobacter in chicken at the end of slaughter may come into force in 2016 and gave some information on this. She also discussed the ‘DO NOT WASH’ labelling on raw chicken and also urged members to ensure that offal is always thoroughly cooked.

Noted: The reuse of meat containers in food service premises was raised and members were strongly advised against this practice. Members confirmed that they do not reuse meat containers and that the packaging of raw meat and food is put into the general waste and not recycled.

4. Consultation on Proposed Mandatory Calorie Posting

Noted: The details of this consultation were circulated to the members and FSAI clarified that it was hosting the consultation on its website on behalf of the Department of Health. If members had any technical problems with the consultation, they should contact the FSAI, but any queries about the actual content of the consultation should be directed to the Department of Health.

Noted: There was some discussion about Healthy Ireland requesting that calories be posted on menus in hospital dining rooms yet no mention of allergen labelling which is an actual legal requirement.

Noted: Members commented that there were no open fields in the consultation where comments could be added.

5. MenuCal

Noted: MenuCal will be launched in Ireland on 9 November. N. Ireland has purchased the rights to use the software.

Noted: There were discussions about the possible repercussions if the food service industry did not accept the proposed mandatory calorie posting initiative. There was also a discussion about the size of business chains and it was added that in Ireland a group with five outlets will be considered a chain for the initiative. This is much lower than in the USA, UK and Australia. The matter of monitoring the initiative was also discussed.

Noted: Members were strongly encouraged to reply to the consultation and not just depend on trade associations to reply.

6. Lobbying Act

Noted: The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 was raised and members were advised that anyone involved in lobbying a Designated Public Official they must register. FSAI has not appointed Designated Public Officials under this Act. FSAI will update the members if this position changes.

Action: EL will circulate information relating to the Lobbying Act to the members.

7. Assistance Dogs and Companion Dogs in Food Premises

Action: LOC clarified this issue and EL will circulate the news item and ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ (FAQs) that FSAI issued on the subject.

Noted: AC fully supported the statement but added that it would have been useful if RAI had been contacted before action was taken. He added that when he contacted Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, they did not produce evidence of 50 complaints per day.

8. Prosecco on Tap

Noted: FSAI received a copy of a letter issued by the Department of Agriculture to the Irish Hotels Federation, the Licenced Vintners Association, Irish Pubs Global, the Restaurant Association of Ireland and the Irish Wine Association about the unlawful use in Ireland of the name ‘prosecco’, which is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), to describe semi-sparkling wine dispensed on tap.

Action: EL will circulate a copy of the letter to the members for information and clarify the difference between prosecco spumante and prosecco frizzante.

9. Emerging Risks

Noted: There were no emerging risks raised. Members were encouraged to let FSAI know if they become aware of any potential risks.

10. AOB

Guidance Note 29: The Use of Food Marketing Terms

Noted: This guidance note was published in May 2015 and LOC gave the background to the document. EL will circulate a copy of document report to the members for information. It was noted that FDII members have signed up to the guidance note and it was clarified that while this is not a legal document, the overarching law is that consumers must not be misled.

Noted: Much discussion took place on this issue and one of the members recounted an experience they’ve recently had related to this issue. It was also queried if any artisans have been prosecuted for having produce that is not artisanal?

Norovirus in berries

Noted: 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.

Safefood Research Tenders

Action: LOC gave an update on Safefood’s recent research tenders. EL will email a copy of the tenders to the members.


Noted: DGD updated the members on a new initiative underway for large retail multiples. One EHO will be the contact point for a retail chain. This initiative will not take away from local issues and retailers will still have inspections from local EHOs and it will not change how the FSAI interacts with businesses. The new initiative will deal with issues that affect the retail chain nationwide such as:

  • Issues regarding own brand labels;
  • Centrally produced HACCP-based procedures.

If the initiative successful, it might be expanded to include other retail chains, other business types.

Guidance Note 15: Cook/Chill Systems

Noted: The FSAI sought the members’ understanding of this process and it transpires that there is some confusion about it. The process was clarified for the members. However, it was suggested that the national hygiene guide for caterers (NSAI’s IS340) and microbiological guidelines should be referenced in the guidance note. The inclusion in the document of a recommendation for microbiological testing was also suggested. It was suggested that guidance is needed on blast-freezing and length of storage should also be addressed in the document.

QQI Process

Noted: LOC gave a short progress report on this. The project has been delayed due to staff changes in QQI.

FSAI Strategic Plan

Action: FSAI will be seeking volunteers to meet with consultants involved in preparing the new strategic plan and the new data strategy. EL will email members at a later date for volunteers.

Inspection Fees

Noted: AC enquired if there was any update on the charging of inspection fees. He was advised that the EU is looking to take a harmonised approach to charging inspection.

Inconsistency of Inspections with EHOs

Noted: AC raised this issue and suggested that there should be an independent arbitrator to deal with issues/complaints. The current mechanism in place was explained in detail and AC was encouraged to advise his members to contact the FSAI advice-line. Members were all in agreement that EHOs can differ and members shared their experiences and made some suggestions on how they thought inspections could be improved.

Action: EL will circulate information to the members on how to make a complaint to the FSAI. DGD will also bring all the concerns raised to the next meeting of the Enforcement Consistency Group.

Surplus Food Working Group

Noted: LOC elaborated on the work and progress of this working group which has had two meetings to date. Guidance is being prepared on donating and receiving food. In addition, HSE plans to produce a booklet on food donation, to encourage food businesses to consider doing this.

Allergen Labelling

Noted: Members commented on their experiences regarding the issue of cross-contamination of allergens. Many consumers are complaining about the ‘may contain’ notices that businesses are displaying. It was clarified that the allergen labelling pertains to deliberately-added ingredients, not accidental. Members shared advice on how their organisations deal with allergens and it was agreed that speaking to the allergy sufferers is always useful.

11. Date of Next Meeting

Action: EL will circulate a doodle poll with dates in order to arrange meetings for 2016.