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Retail Forum - 19th February 2014

Minutes of Meeting of the Retail Forum - 19th February 2014

TIME: 11:00


Lisa O’Connor, FSAI (LO’C) [Chair]
Allan Davies, Tesco (AD)
Tracy McDermott, Tesco (TMcD)
Peter Wight, Marks & Spencer (PW)
Elaine Clohosey, BWG Foods (EC)
Ray Bowe, Musgraves (RB)
Aoife Harrison, Lidl (AH)
Mary Daly, Dunne’s Stores (MD)
Shane 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)
Lucy Magner, Pallas Foods (LM)
Trish Twohig, Iceland (TT)
Vicki Robinson, Aldi (VR)
Julie Kirton, Aldi (JK)
Rob McEvoy, Topaz (RMcE)


Anne Marie Boland, FSAI (AMB)
Eileen Lippert, FSAI, (EL)
Anna Picazo, FSAI (AP)
Dorothy Guina Dornan


Denise Lord, Gala (DL)
Stuart Challenor, Tesco (SC)
Jonathan Halls, Boots (JH)

Welcome to New Members

LO’C welcomed attendees and as there were new faces at the meeting, she invited everyone to briefly introduce themselves.

Agree Minutes of Meeting of 14 November 2013

Agreed: The minutes were agreed subject to one amendment.

Matters arising

Members contact details

Action: EL will circulate this information to members and will include contact details of the new members.

Storage of eggs prior to retail sale

Noted: An update on this subject will be provided at the next meeting of this Forum.

Activities in UK re: exemption of minced meat

Noted: AMB provided some clarification on this matter and added that additional information might be available following a meeting on Friday 21 February. While there are national rules on minced meat in the UK, there is no plan for national rules in Ireland.

Action: When additional information is available, it will be circulated to the members.

Collagen in medium-low quality meat

Noted: A member requested clarification on collagen in medium-low quality meat. AMB confirmed that Ireland does not have a definition for “extra lean” meat, but she agreed to study the legislation in more detail and revert to forum.

Labelling and FIC and how it applies to loose products sold in stores/fish labelling – Anne Marie Boland, FSAI

Noted: AMB informed the members that the Department of Health is working on two Statutory Instruments (SI): one on the Food information for Consumers (FIC); and second specifically on allergens information for loose foods. If there are changes to the current requirements with regard to labelling obligations on loose foods (other than allergen information), FSAI will carry out a consultation. It is hoped the FSAI will have sight of the allergen labelling SI in April and both new SIs will be in operation by 13 December 2014.

Noted: MD had a query regarding the provision of allergen information at serve-over counters. AMB confirmed that at the moment under current rules there is no obligation to provide this allergen information in writing.

Noted: Frustration and concern was expressed by members at the problems that changing labelling legislation is causing. For instance, a supplier might change packaging and run a large print, but then discover that new rules have come into effect or interpretation of rules have changed and it causes a lot of waste and the end result is a higher price to the consumer. Members acknowledged that the management of this new legislation etc., is outside the remit of the FSAI, but members would appreciate if FSAI could flag this kind of issue to the “powers that be”. AMB stated that the FIC Regulation had tried to take account of this issue by including a requirement that any implementing rules introduced under FIC would apply from 1 April in any calendar year. However, she acknowledged that this obligation only applied to rules introduced under FIC but that trade bodies had raised this issue with the EU Commission.

Action: Members stated that it would be useful to receive updates on additional legislation changes and FSAI agreed to provide these updates by email. Members were also advised to subscribe to the legislation section of where they would also receive information on legislation updates. EL will send the appropriate link for this service. EL will also email any updates on FIC.

Noted: Members enquired about how EHOs receive information about legislation updates and DGD gave a short explanation of the Authority’s Legislation Committee. Members were also advised that FSAI has been developing e-learning on the subject of labelling and EL will notify members when this is available.

Front of Pack (FOP) Traffic Lights

Noted: FSAI advised that Ireland currently has no position on voluntary/additional labelling such as the traffic light system. This would a policy decision which would made by The Department of Health in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and when/if this occurs, FSAI will keep the members informed.  

Noted: It was queried if the FSAI would write to the Minister on behalf of the members on this issue. It was clarified that FSAI is unable to act on behalf of the members, but it would be in a position to act as a conduit.

Action: FSAI will consult with colleagues to find out what the current position is with the Special Action Group on Obesity (SAGO) on FOP labelling and enquire if stakeholders can join.

Update on FoodCloud

Noted: There were several questions and much discussion about this initiative so EL will circulate the presentation and the contact details of the FoodCloud representatives to those that missed the last meeting. Members were advised to contact FoodCloud directly for any further information.

Following on from the last meeting, FSAI advised the members that it intends to prepare guidance on the donating of food. In reply to the question about the freezing of donated food, FSAI stated it would be acceptable for charities to freeze food on the day of its use-by date. LM queried this and spoke about the freezing procedure that her organisation uses and this led to some discussion. FSAI will examine this further when developing its guidance.

AD spoke about the system that his organisation has put in place for donating food to charites and he elaborated that a training video has been prepared for staff and he will bring a copy of this along to the next meeting of the Retail Forum. He clarified that his organisation does not donate food that has reached its “use-by date”. Most of the food donated is fruit & vegetables and cakes & pastries.

Some discussion took place about the sale of products after their “best-before date” and members were advised that FBOs are permitted to do this subject to the product being safe and of a good quality.

EHO Student Training

Noted: AD informed the members that Tesco is supporting the practical placement of a student EHO in Dublin. It’s an unpaid training exercise and is expected to be of mutual benefit to the student and the participating organisation. AD recommended that if any of the other members were interested in a similar initiative, they could contact him or Barbara Delaney in DIT. FSAI expressed its support for this initiative.


Noted: LO’C informed the members that the FVO carried out a pilot mission on enforcement of HACCP based procedures in Ireland in January. Other countries will be audited in 2014 and countries, not audited will be asked to complete the pre-audit a questionnaire The aim of this audit is to improve consistency of FVOs audits across the various sectors (animal, non-animal and feed) and to examine implementation of flexibility. FSAI intends to update its Guidance Note 11 based on feedback from this audit.

Update on HAV

Noted: LO’C gave an update on the HAV outbreak and the multi-State traceback investigation being led by EFSA. She mentioned that she recently attended a stakeholder workshop in London on the subject. LO’C thanked member of the group for their co-operation during this investigation. She confirmed that no Irish cases had been reported since the Irish outbreak had been declared over in October 2013 but that precautionary boil notice was still in place due to the ongoing outbreak in Europe.

Revision of the Official Controls Regulations – Anna Picazo, FSAI

Noted: AP gave a summary of this issue and confirmed that a consultation which was on the FSAI website on the subject ended on 27 September with four responses and no objections to the new proposals. The FSAI will prepare a note on the consultation and place it on the FSAI website. [Update posted in March at:]

To date, there have been eight meetings in Brussels to discuss the revision of this legislation. AP noted that one of the main issues for Member States is the proposed text on fees and stated that the plant reproductive materials aspect has been rejected by the European Parliament.

Information Sharing and Emerging Risks

Noted: RB asked if FSAI was aware of issues coming down the track on GM. FSAI will consult with its Biotechnology colleagues.

Action: Members were requested to consult with colleagues about any emerging risks that they might be aware of and let the FSAI know. PW made a reference to Chris Elliott of Queens University Belfast and offered to provide information when it is available. 

Legislation Update

Noted: The legislation update was not available for this meeting but will be emailed to members in the next two weeks. FSAI apologised for this delay.


Guidance on the term ‘ingredients

Noted: JK queried guidance on the FSAI website which stated that ingredients be in bold. This issue was clarified, but DGD will double check and revert

Date of Next Meeting

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