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Minutes of the Retail Forum - 3rd September 2010

Minutes of the Retail Forum - 3rd September 2010

DATE: 3 September 2010
TIME: 11.00 am


Lisa O’Connor, FSAI (LOC) [Chair]
Lynda Kenny, Musgrave (LK)
Stuart Challenor, Tesco (SC)
Theola McHugh, Superquinn (TMcH)
Peter Wight, Marks & Spencer (PW)
Elaine Clohesy, BWG Foods (EC)
Selena McAndrew, ADM Londis (EMcG)
Denise Lord, Gala Retail Services (DL)
Stuart Challinor, Tesco (SC)
Mary Daly, Dunnes Stores (MD)
Rob McEvoy, Topaz (RMcE)
Rosaleen Fagan, BWG (RF)


Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)
Wayne Anderson, FSAI (WA)
Maeve Murray, FSAI (MM)
John Matthews, FSAI (JM)


Ray Bowe, Musgraves (RB)
Aleksandra Rzeczkowska, IBEC (AR)
Kevin Curran, Lidl Ire GmbH ( KC)
Torlach Denihan, IBEC (TD)


Eileen Lippert (EL)

1. Introduction

Lisa O’Connor welcomed RMcE for whom this was his first meeting and invited all the members to introduce themselves.

2. Minutes

 The minutes were agreed without amendment.

3. Matters Arising


Noted: FSAI related the views of the retailers to EHOs regarding why they requested advance notice of national surveys to EHOs and reported that EHOs are amenable to this suggestion.

Labelling policies

Noted: Members confirmed that their action to review their food labelling policy has been carried out.

Nylon Utensils

Noted: EL circulated the letter from Bernard Hegarty of the FSAI on nylon utensils to all the members.

Infant Formulae Information Day

Action: When the date for this information day is set, FSAI will invite the members of this forum.

Gas Flushed Chicken

Noted: The presentation about gas flushed chicken was circulated to the members.

Campylobacter on Chicken Packaging

Action: FSAI still awaiting replies from some members on this topic. LO’C will contact the relevant members about this to remind them to reply to the letter send in December 2009.

Revised Guidance Note 10

Action: EL to circulate this revised Guidance Note to the members.

Gluten-free Guidance

Action: One of the members had a query regarding the notification issue for gluten-free foods and requested clarification. LO’C will consult with FSAI colleagues and revert.

4. Update from Members on Leak-proof Packaging for Poultry

Members were reminded that anyone who has not already replied to the letter from LO’C of Dec 09, that they should do so as soon as possible. Members were invited to give information about any progress they were making with leak-proof packaging and Tesco stated that they are working on it, but getting leak-proof packaging for whole chickens is proving to be challenging. They did confirm that they are making more progress in Ireland than in the UK. LO’C gave an update on her recent meeting with a packaging company and members had some queries for her afterwards.

Noted: FSAI is delighted to hear that many retailers are moving towards leak-proof packaging but in the meantime, ongoing supervision of staff is vital to ensure that procedures are implemented to minimise the risk in store. It was acknowledged that no packaging is 100% leak-proof but some packaging is considerably better at preventing leakage.

5. Poultry Farming/Processing Controls – Presentation from John Matthews, FSAI

John Matthews was introduced to the members. The main points of his presentation included:

  • Risk factors analysis of the EFSA baseline survey on the prevalence of Campylobacter and Salmonella on broiler carcases in the EU in 2008
  • Campylobacter species prevalence in Irish carcasses and packaging
  • The severity of illness caused by campylobacter infection when compared with other common foodborne pathogens
  • Informed members that FSAI Campylobacter report update is being finalised.
  • He elaborated on Commission priorities.and spoke about zoonoses regulations.
  • He gave details about industry practices and in particular discussed the issue of on-farm biosecurity.
  • He outlined some of the most important steps contributing to the spread of Campylobacter during processing.
  • Elaborated on 2 recent UK studies which demonstrated an inverse relationship between the willingness of farmers to adopt a biosecurity measure and its estimated cost.

Action: EL to circulate the presentation to all the members.
Following the presentation there was a question and answer session. During this JM commented that having biosecurity at the front of the house is worthless if the same sort of steps are not followed at the back door during the thinning process. Some discussion took place on the topic.

The use of decontaminants such as lactic acid was discussed. It was noted that currently the majority of Member States do not appear to be in favour of permitting the use of decontaminants on poultry meat.
It was pointed out that a national campylobacter control scheme will not control contamination levels in the large amount of chicken that is imported into Ireland.

Action: It was suggested it would be extremely useful if retailers, scientists, regulators and processors could sit down together and discuss the relevant issues. In the UK tripartite meetings are held between the poultry processors, the British Retail Council and the FSA. LO’C informed the group that FSAI was due to meet FSA the following week to discuss their respective approaches to controlling campylobacter. FSAI will circulate the finalised Campylobacter report to the members when it is available.

Action: FSAI to facilitate a meeting between poultry processors and retailers.

Action: The issue of consumer awareness and their input was raised and FSAI will bring the points raised at this meeting to the attention of FSPB.

Action: There was an enquiry about a best practice fact sheet to minimise the risk of leakage during storage and LO’C agreed to prepare this.

6. Mislabelling of Fish as Cod

LO’C gave the background to this topic and informed the members that a survey involving retailers and caterers will be carried out later this year. The CEO of the FSAI will also be writing to the members about the matter.

7. Salt Reduction Programme

Members were informed that updated salt reduction targets and achievements will be posted onto the FSAI website in mid-September. Surveys are being conducted in the various food groups to check salt levels. Karl McDonald, who leads this programme, asked for the retailers to consider reductions in own brand processed meat products. Members were invited to send any questions to EL and they will be passed to KMcD.

8. Saturated Fat Reduction Programme

This initiative is still at an early stage, however it was commented upon that industry was slow to express an interest in this voluntary reduction campaign. It was noted that the campaign will include trans fats to ensure that processors don’t replace saturated fats with trans fats. According to a recent study Irish consumers are currently exposed to relatively low amounts of trans fats.. This campaign is scheduled to start by the end of this year.

9. Accuracy of Nutritional Labelling

LO’C gave a quick summary of the findings of this survey and informed members that work will start soon on national guidance on tolerances for nutritional labelling.
Action: EL to circulate the survey report to the members.

Action: LO’C to consult with the FSAI Executive about the possibility of giving the members of the Retail Forum advance copies under embargo of reports relevant to Forum Members.

10. FVO Mission

A Food and Veterinary Office mission looking at traceability of beef will take place in Ireland in September. .

11. Update on Salmonella and Duck Eggs

This outbreak is ongoing and there was another case in August, bringing the total to 20 cases. The UK is also experiencing cases linked to duck eggs FSAI is liaising with its British colleagues to control the outbreak. A voluntary code of practice is in place by the Irish duck egg industry and discussions are under way at Bord Bia regarding a quality assurance scheme.

12. Legislation Update

The legislation update was distributed at the meeting, but EL will also send the document electronically to all the members. LO’C gave a quick rundown on the most relevant items to the members. There was a question about whether partially cooked chicken (e.g. chicken kiev) needed to be labelled as previously frozen, if the meat had been originally frozen. It was noted that it is a grey area which is being discussed at EU level. Should members have any further queries, please let EL know and she will pass the query to Anne Marie Boland.

Action: LO’C to raise labelling query with AMB.
LOC highlighted that retailers engaged in web sales/distance selling will need to be aware that the proposed food information for consumer’s legislation is likely to require that packaging labels are visible online, so that consumers can make informed purchasing decisions.

13. AOB

FSAI position on cloning

Tesco enquired about Ireland’s position on animal cloning in light of the recent incident in the UK. It was noted that the Irish position is somewhat different to that of the UK and one or two other Member States, in that it is just the cloned animal that is considered a novel food and not the progeny.
Action: LO’C to confirm this position with FSAI’s Biotechnology specialist.

EHOs requesting full safety management systems

There was a question about why EHOs are requesting the full food safety management systems (FSMS) at some establishments. It was explained that obtaining a copy of the FSMS is sometimes necessary to enable EHOs to effectively audit the system, especially in the case of multiples and large establishments. It was clarified that it is a copy that is required and not the original. It was noted that it is a recommendation of the recent Pennington report into the VTEC outbreak in Wales in 2005, that EHOs obtain a copy of a business’ HACCP plan at each inspection.


LO’C gave a brief update on the FSAI/HSE HACCP Strategy and the future of the HACCP Steering Committee. She reported that as a result of the recession EHOs are finding businesses struggling with basic pre-requisite requirements and this is impacting on FSMSs.
There will be a HACCP seminar in November.
Action: Members will be contacted to gain some ideas for this event.


RMcE had some queries for which he required clarification. As this group cannot comment on individual cases, it was agreed that RMcE liaise directly with DGD.
RMcE also had a query about the new waste regulations. However, this is not an FSAI issue, but he was advised to write to the competent Authority and to contact DAFF. DGD will check this further if necessary.

Additives Seminar

The FSAI will host an additives seminar on 22 September. The seminar will launch the revised guidance on additives legislation.
Action: EL will circulate the document once it is finalised.

Revision of Guidance Note 3 on microbiological criteria for ready-to-eat foods at point of sale

LO’C explained that this guidance note is undergoing a revision and any members who encountered issues applying microbiological criteria were asked to contact EL. FSAI was advised to be careful with the language used in the revision and to ensure the implications of results are understood and to ensure consistency in language. FSAI is also preparing guidance on the microbiological criteria legislation - Regulation 2073/2005.

Listeria monocytogenes shelf life studies

FSAI is working with Food and Drinks Industry Ireland (FSII) in looking at how historical data from industry own checks may be used to determine shelf-life in relation to Listeria monocytogenes.

14. Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting will take place in November at a date to be confirmed. EL will contact members to organise a mutually convenient date.