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Retail Forum - 26th November 2014

Minutes of Meeting of the Retail Forum - 26th November 2014

TIME: 11:00



Lisa O’Connor, FSAI (LO’C) [Chair]
Tracy McDermott, Tesco (TMcD)
Elaine Clohosey, BWG Foods (EC)
Aoife Harrison, Lidl (AH)
Mary Daly, Dunne’s Stores (MD)
Shane Lyster, IBEC (SL)
Peter Jackson, Barry’s Wholesalers (PJ)
Selena Burke, ADM Londis (SB)
Lynda Kenny, Musgrave (LK)
Jonathan Halls, Boots (JH)
Sarah Wood, Aldi (SW)
Ray Bowe, Musgraves (RB)
Suzanne Cullen, Musgrave (SC)
Lucy Magner, Pallas Foods (LM)
Rob McEvoy, Topaz (RMcE)
Pauline Ryall, Tesco (PR)


Eileen Lippert, FSAI (EL)
Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)
Gail Carroll, FSAI (GC)
Sharon Williams, FSAI (SW)
Pat O’Mahony, FSAI (PO’M)
Anne Marie Boland, FSAI (AMB)


Stuart Challenor, Tesco (SC)
Peter Wight, Marks & Spencer, (PW)

Agree Minutes of Meeting of 5 June 2014

Agreed: The minutes were agreed without amendments.

Matters Arising

SAGO and front of pack labelling

Noted: Front of pack labelling, e.g. traffic light system, is not a legal requirement in Ireland. The Department of Health’s Special Action Group on Obesity (SAGO) has looked at it but has made no public announcement.

Noted: There were no other matters arising that were not agenda items.

Update on Allergen Labelling – Pat O’Mahony, FSAI

Noted: PO’M informed the group that FSAI’s allergen leaflet has been updated and is currently at the printers and will be shortly uploaded onto; a seminar on the new allergens law will take place in Cork on 2 December and that an FAQ on the subject is on the FSAI website. He also encouraged members to contact the FSAI advice-line if they had any additional enquiries.

Noted: Members queried what the situation would be with EHOs and it was confirmed that they are also receiving training and information on the subject. He also clarified some other issues for the members as they arose.

Noted: When the allergen issue has bedded in, POM will revert with the project he is undertaking on butter.

Revision of Regulation 882/2004 – Gail Carroll, FSAI

Noted: GC explained to the members that they are on revision 6 of the legislation and there is still no agreement at EU meetings about inspection fees, though retailers are no longer exempt as was the case in an earlier draft. FSAI will continue to keep the members updated.

Food Information for Consumers (FIC) – Anne Marie Boland, FSAI

Noted: AMB reported on the following:

FIC Regulation

The Department of Health is finalising the SI giving effect to Reg. 1169/2011 and it will be published by 13 December. 

Guidelines on allergen indication

The current EU guidelines on allergen indication are being updated to reflect the requirements of FIC. The EU has opened a public consultation on the new draft which is titled ‘Guidelines relating to the provision of information on substances or products causing allergies or intolerances as listed in Annex II of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers’. Comments and/or contributions on the content of the guidelines and/or on any other interpretation questions that could be added to the guidelines are invited from the public and from stakeholders. Responses must be sent by the 4th January 2015 to Sanco.
Full details of the consultation are available here.

Quid Guidelines

The EU is updating the existing guidelines on these indications. There may be an EU public consultation on these guidelines and we will circulate the details if and when we receive them.

Country of origin/Place of provenance

This will be mandatory for meat of beef, swine, sheep, goat and poultry from 1st April 2015 (Reg. 1337/2013). This Regulation applies to anatomical cuts and not to meat when used as an ingredient. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has started work on drafting the rules.


Under FIC, the Commission must submit reports to the European Parliament and the Council by 13 December 2014 regarding the mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for the following foods:

  • Types of meat other than beef, swine, sheep, goat and poultry; 
  • Milk and milk used as an ingredient in dairy products; 
  • Unprocessed foods; 
  • Single ingredient products; 
  • Ingredients that constitute over 50% of a food. 

These reports will most likely follow the findings of the EU report on the origin labelling of meat as an ingredient which was published in December 2013 i.e. findings based on consumers’ willingness to pay, burden on industry and impact on trade.

Trans Fatty Acids

The EU and the Joint Research Centre have been working on a trans fatty acids in foods report which is due to be published in December. The report will examine the presence of trans fats in foods and in the overall diet of the EU population. It will assess the impact of appropriate means that could enable consumers to make healthier food and overall dietary choices or that could promote the provision of healthier food options to consumers, including, among others, the provision of information on trans fats to consumers or restrictions on their use. Initial indications are that the report is likely to suggest voluntary agreements rather than opting for the legislative route.

Fish Labelling

DG Mara is in the process of producing a pocket guide to the EU’s new fish aquaculture consumer labels and this should be available in early December. Also available is the EU Frequently Asked Questions website CMO Regulation (1379/2013), Information to Consumers.

An updated version of the document will be available on the DG Mara website from the end of November and this will be updated regularly.

Noted: A member had a query about the labelling of gluten. It was clarified that:

  • the requirement is to label ‘cereals containing gluten’ and not gluten 
  • this must be done even on products that meet the legal definition of ‘gluten free’. 

Noted: In response to another query, it was explained that there is no mandatory obligation to include nutritional information on eggs.

Update on Campylobacter

Noted: LOC provided a summary of the recent joint FSAI/Safefood/Teagasc workshop on campylobacter. The conclusion was that less talk and more action is needed. A link to coverage of the workshop on an RTE radio show was circulated to the members for information. She quoted some recent statistics to reinforce the need for swift action and asked the retailers how they are working with their suppliers in dealing with the issue. She commented on the recently announcement five point action plan by Marks and Spencer which notably includes the removal of the practice of thinning, introduction of a farmer bonus scheme and rapid surface chilling.

Action: EL will circulate the M&S press release to the members. Members to talk to their suppliers and review Campylobacter controls in light of recent developments.

Egg Guidance

Noted: A draft egg storage guidance document was circulated to the members in advance of the meeting for comments. An updated draft was tabled.

Action: Members agreed that fact sheet style would be the best format. The members provided some additional comments which will be incorporated into the final document which will be circulated to the members who can tailor the document for use in their own businesses.

Action: Members enquired if there was any update on duck eggs. LOC will revert if there is anything new.

Legislation Update

Agreed: This will no longer be a standing item on the agenda. Members were encouraged to sign-up to the legislation section of the website to keep up-to-date with changes. Major issues will be emailed and/or discussed at these meetings.

Noted: Landmark European Court ruling on food safety liability of supermarkets was raised and discussed. Retailers were advised to be aware of the minimum criteria for salmonella in fresh poultry.

Noted: DGD explained Ireland’s approach to the Regulation on microbiological criteria.

Food Donation Guidance

Noted: Members were informed that guidance on food safety in food donation is being produced. The draft will be presented to the members for comment. It was noted that the main additional requirement for retailers would be on customer traceability and on allergen labelling of non-packaged.

Noted: There was a query if samples which are supplied to a test kitchen and unused leftovers are donated to charity need to follow the same food safety requirements. It was confirmed that they were.

Quality and Qualification Ireland (QQI) – Sharon Williams

Noted: SW provided the background to this issue and thanked the volunteer from this forum for their contribution. She explained that QQI received two proposals for development of standards in the area of HACCP and realised that a review of existing standards was needed.

Action: FSA will circulate the proposal to the members when it reaches the public consultation phase.

Noted: FSAI’s new training cards on food hygiene were demonstrated to the members. The object of the training cards is to make training easier and to facilitate changes in behaviour. There is no plan as yet to translate the cards into other languages though members commented that the need for translating into other languages is not as high a priority as in the past.

Information Sharing

Action: Members queried if there was any update on a recent OPSON meeting. LOC will enquire and revert with an update.

Action: EL will send the link to the EU RASFF portal to the members for information.


Avian flu

Noted: It was queried if there was any information regarding avian flu that would be pertinent to this group, but it was confirmed that there are none. There was some discussion regarding the labelling of chickens that are normally free range, but due to avian flu prevention measures, have to be housed indoors. It is seen to be a once-off issue and that the producer is taking positive steps. 


Noted: This is not a major food safety risk in Europe and it’s considered the risk is very low on illegally imported bush meat.

Action: EL will circulate the EFSA Opinion on bush meat.


Noted: The new CEO of FSAI is expected to be announced shortly. Meanwhile Alan Reilly has been asked to remain on until February 2015.

HAV in berries

Noted: The recommendation to boil frozen imported berries remained in place.


Noted: It was queried what the view of the Environmental Health Service (EHS) is towards the FIC and how it will impact during inspections during the earlier stages. Members were advised that the EHS will take the same approach to this new legislation as it does to all new legislation – there will be a common sense approach once it’s clear that an FBO is making the effort to comply. With regards to existing stocks, DGD clarified that ‘running out stock’ differs to new stock. Old packaging cannot be used from 13 December and that if a product is placed on the market before 13 December it should be fine as long as it complies with the old legislation until it has exhausted its date of minimum durability.

Date of Next Meeting

Action: EL will circulate a doodle poll with potential dates for the next meeting, most likely to be in February 2015.