Skip to main content

Minutes of the Retail Forum - 16th February 2010

Minutes of the Retail Forum - 16th February 2010

DATE: 16 February 2010
TIME: 11.00 am


  • Lisa O’Connor, FSAI (LOC) [Chair]
  • Lynda Kenny, Musgrave (LK)
  • Allan Davies, Tesco (AD)
  • Suzanne Cullen, Superquinn (SC)
  • Kevin Curran, Lidl Ire GmbH ( KC)
  • Peter Wight, Marks & Spencer (PW)
  • Elaine Clohesy, BWG Foods (EC)
  • Elizabeth McGrath. ADM Londis (EMcG)
  • Denise Lord, Gala Retail Services (DL)
  • Stuart Challinor, Tesco (SC)


  • Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)
  • Wayne Anderson, FSAI (WA)


  • Ray Bowe, Musgraves (RB)
  • Aleksandra Rzeczkowska, IBEC (AR)


  • Eileen Lippert (EL)

1. Introduction

Lisa O’Connor welcomed all the members and gave a quick explanation of the recent FSAI staff changes. She informed members that she is taking over as chair of this forum and asked everyone to introduce themselves.

2. Minutes

The minutes were agreed subject to some amendments.

3. Matters Arising


The concerns of EHOs on giving advance notice of national surveys to retailers were discussed. Retailers explained that they would like some general notice of the nature and the timing of a survey to enable them to deal effectively with queries. They were of the view that a shop will not change its practices just because a survey is taking place.
Action: FSAI to relate these views to EHOs.

Mincemeat temperatures

WA confirmed that the issue had been addressed.

Land-spreading report

Action: Members should review and where necessary revise polices in line with the FSAI recommendations in the Land-spreading report and revert back such amendments to FSAI before the next meeting.

Labelling policies

Action: Members were reminded to review their food labelling policies and ensure that the labels on packaged foods were written in English.

Nylon Utensils

Action: EL to circulate a letter from Bernard Hegarty of the FSAI on nylon utensils to all the members.

4. Infant Formulae

A number of issues have arisen over the last while, especially in the area of marketing of infant formulae and price cuts. Due to the complexity of infant formulae legislation, FSAI is hoping to run an information day in the coming months, to which all the members would receive an invitation. DGD confirmed to the members that they may not advertise price reductions or promotions on infant formulae. Only the actual price of the product may be displayed on shelves. Members were advised to inform buyers of this information. DGD also spoke about health claims in relation to infant formulae and clarified several issues for the members. The issue of the correct placement for goats’ milk was also dealt with – best practice is not to store goats’ milk in the baby foods section.
Action: Invite all members to infant formula information day.
Action: Members to advice their buyers as stated above.

5. Gas Flushed Chicken

Wayne ran through the presentation he gave at the recent seminar on gas flushed poultry. He concluded with the following FSAI recommendations that retailers:

  • Demand and follow storage instructions from supplier
  • Adhere to best practice guidelines in the interim
  • Closely monitor the sensory characteristics of the fillets being sold
  • Return poor quality bulk fillet Map packs to your supplier

A copy of the FSAI fact sheet “retail display of poultry from opened gas flushed packs was also distributed to the members. Much discussion took place on the topic and several issues were clarified for the members.
Action: EL to send the presentation to the members.
Action: Members to follow the FSAI recommendations

6. Campylobacter on Chicken Packaging

LOC highlighted a recent European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinion that estimated that handling, preparation and consumption of broiler meat may account for 20% to 30% of human cases of campylobacteriosis in European Member States. She also noted that a EU baseline study on campylobacter contamination of carcasses is expected to be published by EFSA shortly.
LOC went on to describe the background to the national survey of campylobacter on chicken packaging and retail display cabinets and FSAI’s concerns regarding the preliminary results. She stated that it is hoped to publish the survey report in March. She also reminded members that she had written to them on the subject and acknowledged she had received replies from two members to date. AD and SC informed the group of the new packaging they are working on.
FSAI noted that its Scientific Committee has been asked to look at practical measures to form the basis for a campylobacter control programme in the Irish broiler food chain. Much debate and discussion about campylobacter took place and all agreed a campylobacter control programme was needed. Doubts were raised as to the effectiveness of safe handling and cooking instruction on labels in changing consumers’ practices and members thought this needed to be supported by consumer ad campaigns.

Action: Members who have not yet done so to respond to LOC’s letter.
Action: EL to circulate the EFSA opinion and the baseline study (when it is published) and also source the WHO/FAO study on chlorine to circulate to members.
It was also noted that members would like to receive a copy of the press release under embargo when the chicken packaging study is published. FSAI could not promise to do so, but would look into the matter. The need to liaise with Safefood about the consumer aspect was also raised.

7. Guidance Note 10 – Recall and Traceability

DGD described the focus of the revision of this guidance note - mainly a reassessment of the legal interpretation of food businesses’ obligations in the event of a recall and withdrawal. The comments received from members were acknowledged and it was noted that the revised guidelines could result in more communications with the consumer and that this could impact on the members. PW shared his experience of this practice in the UK and cautioned that it desensitises consumers to food alerts. The definition for ‘unfit food’ was also flagged as an issue and members were concerned about this.
Action: FSAI will follow-up on members concerns regarding the definition of unfit food.

8. Allergens

The members were notified about the new allergens section on and the allergen survey FSAI is running. A link to the FSA (UK) advice on allergens was also circulated. PW spoke about a UK document on common labelling definitions for allergens.
Action: PW to email the aforementioned document to EL for circulation to members.
The definition for gluten-free will come into effect in 2012 and the FSAI is putting the finishing touches on a guidance document on this issue.
Action: Information about gluten-free on the FSAI website will be circulated to the members.

9. Legislation Update

An up-to-date summary of new legislation to date was circulated to the members. EL will send an electronic copy of this update to the members.

10. AOB

FSAI informed the members that it is planning to establish a saturated fat reduction programme. More information should hopefully be available at the next meeting.

SC noted the DG SANCO document 1490 on traceability of animal origin which seems to be requiring real time traceability.

11. Date of Next Meeting

 The next meeting will take place in June. EL will contact members to organise a mutually convenient date.