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Retail Forum - 14th November 2013

Minutes of Meeting of the Retail Forum - 14th November 2013

Time: 11:00

Location: FSAI Board Room


Lisa O’Connor, FSAI (LO’C) [Chair]                                    
Allan Davies, Tesco (AD)
Peter Wight, Marks & Spencer (PW)
Elaine Clohosey, BWG Foods (EC)
Ray Bowe, Musgraves (RB)                                           
Aoife Harrison, Lidl (AH)
Sarah Wood, Aldi (SW)
Mary Daly, Dunne’s Stores (MD)
Stephen Lyster, IBEC (SL)
Roseanne Regan (RGDATA) (RR)
Peter Jackson, Barry’s Wholesalers (PJ)
Suzanne Cullen, Musgrave (SC)
Selena Burke, ADM Londis (SMcA)
Lynda Kenny, Musgrave (LK)
Julie Mannion, Lidl (JM)
Lucy Magner, Pallas Foods (LM)
Jonathan Halls, Boots (JH)


Gail Carroll, FSAI (GC)
Wayne Anderson, FSAI (WA)
Eileen Lippert, FSAI, (EL)
Aoibheann O’Brien, Foodcloud (AO’B)
John Coady, FSAI (JC)
Pat O’Mahony, FSAI (PO’M)
Clodagh Crehan, FSAI (CC)


Denise Lord, Gala (DL)
Stuart Challenor, Tesco (SC)
Trish Twohig, Iceland (TT)
Rob McEvoy, Topaz (RMcE)

Foodcloud – Aoibheann O’Brien

Noted: Aoibheann O’Brien from Foodcloud was introduced to the members and the main points of her presentation included:

  • The objective of the organisation
  • Statistics about global food waste
  • How the system works
  • Some of the charities that benefit from the initiative
  • Future plans
  • Contact details
  • Customer research
  • Year of food waste reduction is 2014

Noted: The members thought the idea was excellent.  The presentation was followed by a question and answer session. Some of the issues addressed were:

  • The need for donating businesses and receiving charities to sign contracts
  • Many of the charities are supervised by the Environmental Health Service of the HSE
  • It is the receiving charity that collects/picks up the food from the retailer
  • Transport containers to be used would be agreed between charities and donating business
  • As the donation is being  kept quite local (within a few kilometres radius) quick food collection should be possible
  • the best way of dealing with chilled foods near its use-by date.  Freezing of food  close to use-by-date was discussed
  • Much discussion about best before dates
  • The need for customer traceability was highlighted as something new for retailers and
  • Obligations regarding food recalls was also highlighted, as charities involved will have to be notified of product recalls
  • Foodcloud can issue reports and details on food and type of products which were donated – additional waste recording and reporting need not be a major additional task for retailers. Retailers acknowledged that their current traceability & recall systems may need to be tweaked.
  • Funding of Foodcloud is through grants at the moment.
  • Litigation and ‘compo culture’ was raised and discussed
  • FSAI will provide a Safe Catering pack to the charities involved & plans to produce guidance on food donation

Action: EL will circulate the presentation and contact details to the members and AD will revert to AO’B re scanning issues.

Action: LOC to clarify FSAI position on freezing of food close to use by date and donating of food after best before date

Agree Minutes of Meeting of 6 June 2013

Agreed:  The minutes were agreed subject to one amendment.

Matters arising

Noted: All actions from the previous minutes were carried out except the ones noted below.

Members contact details

Action: EL will circulate this information to all the members.

Campylobacter letter

Agreed: LO’C explained a letter to retailers about campylobacter will be issued when a report on the subject is complete.

Storage of eggs prior to retail sale

Noted:   LO’C provided a clarification she received from DAFM on this issue.  Members highlighted the difficulties in storing and transporting eggs at a constant temperature when refrigeration is not used. LO’C also updated members on progress on the revision of FSAI guidance on storage of eggs at retail level.

Action: EL will circulate the email of clarification to the members. 

Butters and Spreads – Pat O’Mahony

Noted: PO’M spoke about the upcoming allergen conference and as it was oversubscribed, another one would take place in 2014.

Noted: PO’M outlined some issues encountered with the labelling of spreads/butter under Reg. 1234/2007.  The major problems occur with imported spreads and own brands and the matter has been raised with IBEC. The FSAI plans to prepare a guidance note on the issue and asked for a volunteer from this forum to assist.

Action: Willing volunteers should email EL within two weeks.  They were also encouraged to email comments and suggestions.

Food Fraud – John Coady

Noted: JC from FSAI gave a presentation on this topic, the main points of which were:

  • Food fraud is not a new issue & is a global problem
  • Definition of food fraud
  • Membership of the Food Fraud Task Force
  • An outline of the scope and objectives of Europol and Interpol’s operation OPSON
  • Results from operation OPSON from 2011 and 2012
  • Sometime it’s easy to spot fake produce, sometimes it is not (examples were given)
  • Updated members on various food fraud investigations and highlighted the complexity of these investigations
  • Food control agencies have to protect both consumers’ health and interests
  • Industry has the primary responsibility to ensure the traceability and authenticity of ingredients and products
  • Cooperation between agencies and industry across different countries is needed in order to ensure success
  • Laboratories need to develop more sophisticated techniques for testing/proving origin and composition.

Noted: Due to the confidentiality issues EL cannot circulate the presentation. Members were advised to be on the look-out for fake food items with the advice that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

Update on Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Outbreak

Noted: LO’C updated the members about this recent outbreak.  The most notable points discussed were:

  • Information about the virus - the most common symptoms, the very long incubation period, a human illness (with no animal host)
  • Timeline of the outbreak (including the outbreaks in the Nordic countries & the Italian outbreak)
  • Details of the Irish investigation
  • Difficulty involved in tracing the source
  • Lack of facilities for detection of HAV in soft fruit in Ireland
  • Evidence that frozen berries were the most likely source
  • Some positives have resulted in the outbreak – e.g. the Irish National Virus Reference Laboratory can now type isolates from clinical cases.  As a result, we are more likely to link apparently sporadic cases and identify outbreaks.
  • Increased awareness of the risk of human viruses (HAV and norovirus) contamination in the berry supply chain
  • The Irish outbreak is over but the precautionary boil notice is still in place due to ongoing outbreaks of the same strain of the virus  in other EU countries
  • The EU Commission has requested EFSA to work with the affected countries to review the evidence gathered, in order to help identify the origin of the contamination.  As part of this process additional traceability information may need to be gathered.

Information Sharing/Potential Emerging Risks

Noted:   Members were reminded to let the FSAI know of any potential emerging risks they come across or hear about. 

Legislation Update

Regulation 882/2004 on official controls

Noted: GC gave the members a progress report on the discussions at EU level on redrafting of this Regulation

Action: A copy of the legislation update was distributed to the members and the most relevant item was highlighted. An electronic version will be circulated.


Code of practice on marketing terms

Noted: WA reminded members that a draft of this code of practice was circulated to them for comment and that 30 November 2013 was the deadline for submitting comments.

Activities in UK re: exemption of minced meat

Noted: One of the members raised this issue from FIC (last paragraph) which comes into effect in January 2014.

Action: LO’C will consult with her colleagues in the FSAI and revert to the members.

Dates for Meetings in 2014

Action: EL will circulate a doodle poll with potential dates for the next meeting.