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Retail Forum - 1st February 2018

Minutes of the Retail Forum 1st February 2018


  • Dorothy Guina-Dornan (Chair) FSAI
  • Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive FSAI (part of the meeting)
  • Alison Connor FSAI
  • Anne Maire Boland FSAI
  • Lisa O’Connor FSAI
  • Gail Carroll FSAI
  • Pat O’Mahony FSAI
  • Caroline Donovan FSAI
  • Hazel Sheridan DAFM (part of the meeting)
  • James Beckett Aldi
  • Paula Brock Aldi
  • Lucy O’Connor for Ray Bowe Musgrave/Supervalu/Centra
  • Caroline O’Connor Gala
  • Ben McGinn Gala
  • Ciara Kane for Aoife Harrison Lidl
  • Elizabeth Bowen Retail Ireland
  • Peter Wight M&S
  • Selena Burke Avoca Retail
  • Garreth Coburn Pallas Foods
  • Aisling McGough Tesco
  • Tracey McDermott Tesco
  • Lynda Kenny Musgrave
  • Tara Buckley RGDATA


  • Ray Bowe Musgraves
  • Trish Twohig Iceland
  • Jonathon Halls Boots
  • Orla Jordan BWG

DGD welcomed everyone and those present introduced themselves. 

1. Antimicrobial Resistance – Hazel Sheridan, Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFM)

DGD welcomed Hazel to the meeting. Hazel presented a draft information note (tabled at the meeting) covering the Irish National Action Plan on AMR (iNAP), the legislation controls in the animal sector and surveillance data. She emphasised that the iNAP aims to ensure the responsible use of antibiotics and does not support ‘antibiotic free’ marketing of (or labels on) food products. DAFM is developing a code of practice to raise awareness and improve the responsible use of antibiotics. It was noted that Retailers may come under pressure from Consumers for so-called ‘antibiotic free’ food and Hazel asked that the Retail Forum consider development of a policy on responsible use of antibiotics.

Noted: PB suggested the Retail Forum agree a ‘statement of intent’ or a ‘combined policy’ on the responsible use of antibiotics.
FSAI asked members of the Forum to forward any policies they have on the responsible use of antimicrobials. FSAI could then use these to form the basis of a draft statement for consideration at the next meeting.

Noted: M&S has a policy and will send to DAFM for review/comment.
Noted: Tesco are also happy to share their policy.
Action: FSAI will draft a statement based on the information received for agreement at the next meeting.
Action: FSAI to circulate Hazel’s email address to Forum members.

2. Minutes of the meeting 22nd June 2017

The Minutes were agreed with some minor amendments. The minutes from 8th November 2016 were signed at this meeting.

3. Matters Arising

There were no matters arising.

4. Membership

It was noted that Ciara Kane is a temporary representative for Aoife Harrison, Lidl. Selena Burke is the representative for Aramark / Avoca Retail. Membership was discussed and the meeting agreed that up to two representatives should be allowed attend the meetings. The meeting agreed that current membership is sufficiently representative of the grocery sector in Ireland.
Action: FSAI to update the membership on the website.

5. Spirit Drinks Legislation

GC provided an update with an agreement to have a more detailed discussion at a later meeting. 

6. New FSAI Strategy – Dr. Pamela Byrne CEO FSAI

FSAI will be developing its 2019-2023 Strategy over the new few months. There will be internal and external stakeholder engagement. It will be supported by external international experts. The external stakeholder engagement will take place in May. 

FSAI is requesting stakeholder input which is key to the process. FSAI will hold a public consultation which will be hosted on our website. Some retailers may also be contacted by telephone.
Action: CEO’s office will contact the Retail Forum between now and the next meeting.
Noted: CEO anticipates providing a draft document for consideration at the next meeting of the Retail Forum.

7. Campylobacter

LOC reported that she didn’t receive any comments from the Group on the discussion on ‘neck flaps’. Regulation EC NO 2073/2005 has been amended to include new process hygiene criteria for Campylobacter, following the same testing approach to that currently in place for Salmonella in poultry carcases from the 1st January 2018. DAFM has assigned responsibility for implementation to Joe Flaherty.
Action: FSAI to circulate a link to the legislation.

8. Allergen Information on non-prepacked food 

a) ‘MenuCal 2018 - Raising Compliance with Mandatory Allergen Information’

Caroline Donovan reported that training of EHOs on allergen labelling requirements took place in 2017. Almost 400 EHOs have been trained to date with training for Principal EHOs taking place in April. MenuCal will be updated to include ethnic foods over the coming months.

b) Issues identified by Environmental Health Officers

GN24 has been updated. Only two phrases are allowed ‘gluten free’ or ‘very low gluten’. 

c) Updating FSAI Guidance Note No. 28 – Food allergen Information for Non-Prepacked Foods in Ireland

FSAI will also update GN28. The EU is examining the possibility limiting of precautionary allergen labels such as ‘may contain….’ and permitting them only where a risk assessment has been carried out.

Retailers noted there is sometimes a challenge with cross contamination when there are other allergens in regular use. Retailers asked if there was any feedback from the general public. 

Action: FSAI to ask Safefood if it would be worthwhile conducting a survey of the public and their understanding of allergen labelling.
Noted: FSAI may be running the allergen labelling awareness campaign again in 2018.

9. Public Health (Alcohol) Bill

This item was discussed under agenda item 5.

Two members had requested that the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill be placed on the agenda. DGD provided a briefing from the Department of Health on the labelling of alcohol products section of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. The Bill will be introduced into the Dáil next week. The retailers said that while they support the initiative in principle, there are practical difficulties with the current proposal. They asked FSAI to facilitate a meeting with the relevant people in the Department of Health as they have concerns about some of the provisions proposed in the Bill which they would like to discuss. FSAI advised that the proposal is currently outside of FSAI’s remit. Some retailers argue that some of the aspects of the legislation is covered by food law insofar as it relates to information to consumers. 

Action: FSAI undertook to advise the DoH of the concerns raised and the retailers request for a meeting.

10. FSAI Updates

a) Acrylamide

FSAI is updating its 2009 Factsheet to reflect Regulation 2017/2158. The European Commission is drafting guidance on the implementation of the Regulations for different sectors. Rather than setting a regulatory level the legislation requires food businesses to incorporate mitigation measures to reduce the production of acrylamide into their food safety management systems. 

b) Draft Legislation on Country of Origin

A draft Implementing Regulation to lay down rules for the application of Article 26(3) of Regulation EU No 1169/2011 regarding the indication of country of origin or places of provenance of the primary ingredient of a food is due to be voted on shortly. The country of origin or the place of provenance of the primary ingredient must be given where it is different from that of the food. It sets out the format in which this information must be presented. Today is the last day for the submission of comments to the Commission.

c) Food Waste

DGD circulated an article on cutting down on food waste and recycling that might be of interest to members.

11. BREXIT – Dr. Pamela Byrne

While the official controls in Ireland are effective and robust BREXIT will have an impact. FSAI is working internally on BREXIT. FSAI would like to be informed of any issues from stakeholders which may impact on food safety. It was noted that there will inevitably be practical issues e.g. retailers exporting to the UK in future may require veterinary certification.

Noted: An information gathering exercise will take place at the June meeting and the FSAI will share any information we have.

Action: FSAI to send an email to the members in advance of the next meeting seeking issues that might arise from BREXIT.

12. AOB

a) Single Use Plastics

The Group asked if FSAI had a position on single use plastics for food safety/health reasons. It was noted that this is part of a wider recycling/waste management debate and a movement towards less plastics. Retailers are seeking guidance on consumers using self-service machines.

Action: FSAI to consider single use plastics and re-useable containers.

b) Country of Origin Claims

There was some discussion on country of origin labelling and associated claims. It was noted that there is different legal requirements for different products e.g. milk from Northern Ireland can be labelled as Irish, however beef from Northern Ireland must be labelled as from the UK. 

Noted: AMB is the FSAI representative at EU Commission meetings. Any queries can be sent to the FSAI Advice line.

c) Enforcement Consistency

One retailer enquired if there has been a change in how the HSE determine inspection outcomes. DGD raised the specific issue with HSE management. There has been no change to FSAI GN 1 in respect of determining inspection outcome. 

d) Boil Water Notice

There was a query on boil water notices and the use of tea/coffee machines in filling stations. Some machines remain in use while boil water notices are in place even though they are not reaching the required temperature. 

Action: FSAI to consider.

13. Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting will take place on the 7th June 2018 at 10.30am.