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Retail Forum Meeting - 20th June 2012

Minutes of the Retail Forum Meeting - 20th June 2012

TIME: 11.00 am


Lisa O’Connor, FSAI (LOC) [Chair]
Lynda Kenny, Musgrave (LK)
Elaine Clohosey, BWG Foods (EC)
Denise Lord, Gala Retail Services (DL)
Ray Bowe, Musgraves (RB)
Suzanne Cullen, Superquinn (SC)
Allan Davies, Tesco (AD)
Rob McEvoy, Topaz (RMcE)
Mary Daly, Dunne’s Stores (MD)
Sonya Boyce, IBEC (SB)


Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)
John Matthews, FSAI, (JM)


Peter Wight, Marks & Spencer (PW)
Stuart Challenor, Tesco (SC)
Sandra Murphy, Lidl (SM)
Selena McAndrew-Burke, ADM Londis (SMcA)
Paula McGrath, Aldi (PMcG)


Eileen Lippert (EL)

New Members

Noted: Two new members, Sonya Boyce and Paula McGrath were welcomed to the Forum.

Agree Minutes of Meeting of 15 February 2012

Agreed: The minutes were agreed subject to the amendment of errors on the apologies list.

Matters arising

Guidance on labelling

Agreed: FSAI plans on publishing information and guidance on this new legislation over the next two years. An overview of some of the changes will be published on in the next week or so.

Ice-cream labelling

Noted: This legislation will be amended in 2014 so FSAI will not be doing anything else in the meantime.

Calories on menus

Agreed: The report on the consultation about calories on menus will be launched on the fourth of July and members of this Forum will be invited to attend.

Amended legislation on sprouted seeds

Noted: The new/amended legislation will most likely take effect from January 2013.

Query on nanotechnology

Action: PW had a query about this, which he sent to EL and PJOM from FSAI dealt with this directly.

Campylobacter Steering Group

Action: EL to circulate the agreed minutes of the Campylobacter Steering Group to the members of this Forum.

Packaging of loose chicken

Noted: LOC followed up on this as agreed. She queried if retailers are doing this, what additional safety measures were used. Members confirmed that loose chicken is wrapped in cling film.

Follow-up on MAP

Action: Any member who has not provided the information requested after the last meeting was requested to do so as soon as possible.

Neck flaps

Noted: This matter was raised at the Campylobacter Steering Group meeting and LOC reported to the members that the removal of additional neck flap was not an option. At this point LOC gave the members an update of discussions at the last meeting of the Campylobacter Steering Group.

FSAI All Ireland Traceability Audit

Marita Porter from the Audit and Compliance section of the FSAI gave a presentation outlining a recent all Ireland traceability audit. The main points of her presentation included:

  • The scope of the audit;
  • The two composite products containing food of animal origin and ingredients sourced in one jurisdiction but produced or manufactured in the other;
  • Products audited were:
    • Ham and cheese ciabatta purchased in retail outlet in Rep. of Ireland
    • Roast beef dinner purchased in retail outlet in N. Ireland
  • A flow chart outlining the source of each ingredient from each product
  • Fourteen food business operators audited in total – eight in Rep. of Ireland and six in N. Ireland.
  • The total food miles for the ham and cheese ciabatta was 1695 miles.
  • The findings and recommendations arising from the audit.

A copy of the presentation was distributed to the members at the meeting and following the talk, there was an opportunity for questions. Some of the queries posed included;
I. Have there been any improvements in traceability since the dioxin crisis? In response members were informed that there have been no changes in legislation.
II. Retailers outlined obstacles/issues they encountered during the crisis. These included:
a. where a composite product item might only constitute a small part of the food item being recalled.
b. Differences between the attitudes between the various food authorities – e.g. FSAI vs. FSA NI.
c. An outbreak simulation exercise will take place later this year and this will assist both FSAI and FSA NI to focus and fine tune protocols.
d. Some members commented on what they considered looser controls in N. Ireland than in Rep. of Ireland and gave a recent Listeria outbreak in a N. Irish hospital as an example. This led to some discussion.
e. Feed legislation has changed and there is more traceability. Reference was made to a Danish traceability model and EL will get more details on this from RB.
f. Lack of appropriate guidance was cited as an area of concern for retailers and IBEC/Retail Ireland was praised for keeping its members updated during the dioxin crisis.

Action: A definition of what should be recalled if an affected product is a compound product is required.

Action: LOC will raise the issue of perceived ‘looser controls’ at an upcoming meeting with FSA NI.

Action: When details of the Danish traceability model are received, LOC will look further into the matter.

Action: For future crises, FSAI should liaise more closely with Retail Ireland/IBEC in order to ensure that the same message is going to all retailers.

Food Allergen Update

PJOM joined the meeting to give members a quick update on this issue. Before updating the members on food allergens, he gave the background on a recent ruling in EU on GM pollen.

He then proceeded to highlight the main findings of the recent audit of food manufacturers which were:
A. Two of out three businesses were found to apply allergen labelling inconsistently across product ranges;
B. Ten of the 12 establishments were applying voluntary precautionary labelling, however five of these establishments were using them inappropriately;
C. Some precautionary labels were being applied to food simply because a retail customer required it.

Members had some queries and PJOM responded to these. He commented that EFSA is carrying out substantial work on this topic and it is hoped its opinion will be available in 2014. FSAI will consider developing guidance on this issue when further information is available.

Protecting Consumers from Campylobacter

Raymond Ellard was introduced to the members and he went on to ask for retailers help and support in reducing the incidence of campylobacter. He outlined that there have been 70 cases of campylobacter to date this week and many of these are in children under the age of four. The main cause is probably cross-contamination from poultry skin to packaging, counters and human skin. It was stressed that there has been an increase in the incidence of campylobacter in recent years and some theories for this were expressed. One of these was the increase in the amount of chicken being purchased and consumers not being familiar with correct hygienic handling.

LOC and RE thanked the retailers for their support and co-operation to date and they acknowledged that consumers have a role to play in preventing campylobacter. They agreed to speak to Safefood with a view to carrying out a campaign on the subject.

RE urged the members to look at the recommendations of the recently published campylobacter report and to brain storm with their suppliers on how best to put some of the more practical recommendations into effect.

The difficulties that poultry suppliers are experiencing in sourcing a lab to test for campylobacter was raised and it was commented upon that if more suppliers started looking for the tests, labs would provide them.

As the discussion on the issue of campylobacter was lengthy, some of the other issues raised included:
a. Incorporating the recommendations into Bord Bia’s protocols;
b. Imported chicken which is supplied to the catering trade tends to be safer than Irish chicken;
c. Irish school curriculum needs to include kitchen hygiene;
d. New methods in New Zealand which has seen a reduction in incidence
e. Need for Ireland to carry out more monitoring and feedback

Action: Members were of the view that it would be very useful if the FSAI re-issued its leak-proof packaging fact sheet along with issuing advice about cooking poultry in store to the members. Also, RE should issue a letter to all the members stressing and outlining the most salient points of this discussion, so that the letter can be circulated onwards and upwards for action and could also be forwarded to suppliers.

Agreed: It was also recommended that Safefood should be represented on the Campylobacter Steering Group. Also, campylobacter will become a standing agenda item for this Forum.

Action: Members were asked to provide FSAI with information relating to sales trends with regard to fresh whole birds and fresh poultry pieces over the past three to four years. FSAI assured members that the data will be dealt with confidentially.

Packaging of Poultry Meat

This matter was addressed in matters arising. However the issue of cross-contamination of re-usable bags was raised and it was questioned if this could be having an impact on the increased incidence of food poisoning.

Action: LOC will consult with Safefood to enquire if any additional information or research on this matter is available.

Legislation Update

A copy of the legislation update was circulated to the members and LOC highlighted the main points.

Action: EL to email the update to the members.


Revised FSAI Strategy

There was a copy of the FSAI strategy for the next few years available to all the members. RE summarised the main points.

Healthy eating guidelines

A hard copy of one of the two reports recently launched by the Minister for Health was made available to the members.
Action: EL to email the link to both the reports to the members.

Possible agenda items

Action: Members were invited to inform FSAI of issues they would like to be on the agenda, and FSAI will try to invite relevant experts to speak to the members, should they be relevant to the FSAI remit.

Upcoming conferences

Members were advised about an upcoming conference in October which will celebrate the tenth anniversary of EFSA. Members will be invited to attend this conference.

Also referenced was the IFSTI conference which would also take place in October and to which members would also be invited.

Query regarding labelling from MD

This issue was addressed earlier in the legislation update and in the matters arising.

Query regarding fees from EHOs

RE clarified this issue and gave the background to it. He explained that there will be no fee/charge for a first inspection but that follow-up inspections might be subject to a fee in the future. However, this is not yet and issue with the HSE.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting will take place in September subject to the result of a doodle poll by E Lippert.