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Retail Forum - 15th October 2015

Minutes of the Retail Forum 15th October 2015

TIME: 10:30


Lisa O’Connor, FSAI (LO’C) [Chair]
Elaine Clohosey, BWG Foods (EC)
Selena Burke, BWG Foods (SB)
Sarah Wood, Aldi (SW)
Peter Wight, Marks & Spencer, (PW)
Aoife Harrison, Lidl (LH)
Mary Daly, Dunnes Stores (MD)
Lucy Magner, Pallas Foods (LM)
Denise Lord, Gala, (DL)
Rosaleen Fagan, Musgraves (RF)
Pauline Ryall, Tesco (PR)


Eileen Lippert, FSAI (EL)
Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)
Anne Marie Boland, FSAI (AMB)
Tara Woods, HSE (TW)


Peter Jackson, Barry Group (PJ)
Suzanne Cullen, Musgrave (SC)
Jonathan Halls, Boots (JH)
Shane Lyster, IBEC (SL)
Lynda Kenny, Musgrave (LK)
Ray Bowe, Musgrave (RB)

Welcome and Introductions

Noted: The members and speakers were welcomed to the meeting and everyone was invited to introduce themselves.

HSE Lead for Retail Multiples

Noted: DGD introduced TW and gave the background to this agenda item. She explained that it was suggested at the FSAI-HSE Enforcement Consistency Group. TW followed this with an explanation of how the Environmental Health Service works in Ireland and an outline of the new initiative which is somewhat similar to the lead Authority system in place in the UK. One EHO will be the contact point for a retail chain. Tara Woods and Jackie Kelly will be the overall leads and if a retailer has any issues with their appointed EHO, they should contact Tara or Jackie.

This initiative will not take away from local issues and retailers will still have inspections from local EHOs. The new initiative will deal with issues that affect the retail chain nationwide such as:

  • Issues regarding own brand labels;
  • Centrally developed HACCP-based systems.

If successful, the initiative might be expanded to include other retail chains and possibly the food service sector.

Noted: There were several clarifications requested and TW provided all of these. The EHOs nationwide are aware of the new system and new protocols are in place.

Noted: DGD clarified that it will not change the interaction between Retail multiples and FSAI’s Rapid Alert team.

Agreed: Members were in agreement that the initiative is a very positive step.

Action: Some members related some consistency-related issues they have had with EHOs and these issues can be discussed with DGD directly.

Action: EL will circulate the names of the HSE leads to the members.

Agree Minutes of 30 June 2015

Agreed: The minutes were agreed without amendment.

Matters Arising


Action: EL will find out if the OPSON IV report is ready and if it is, circulate it to the members.

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

Lobbying Act

Noted: A summary of the main provisions of the Lobbying Act was circulated to the members and the implications of this Act were discussed. FSAI has not appointed ‘Designated Public Officials' under this Act. If this position changes FSAI will revert to the members. Meanwhile if members have engaged in lobbying other organisations, from 1 September to 31 December 2015, they must have registered by 21 January 2016.

Action: EL will circulate additional information on the Lobbying Act to the members.

Guidance Note 29 – Marketing of Food

Noted: LOC made the members aware of this recent publication and if a member would like a hard copy of the GN, they should contact EL.

Action: EL will circulate a soft copy of the GN to the members.

Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) – Anne Marie Boland (AMB), FSAI

Noted: AMB gave a short presentation which outlined the main requirements pertaining to COOL for pre-packed cuts of raw meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry which came into force on 1 April 2015 (Reg. 1337/2013). She also provided information on the labelling derogation for when the meat is from an animal born, raised and slaughtered in one single Member State or third country. She elaborated on the definition of poultry. She also explained that these rules do not apply to meat products or meat preparations but that if the information is provided on a voluntary basis that it must follow the rules of the Regulation.

Noted: There were several questions requests for clarification after the presentation which included:

  • Sliced, cooked chicken is not subject to mandatory COOL as set out in the poultry marketing standards.
  • For sliced, cooked chicken you can declare it as an Irish product under the customs rules, even if the chicken isn’t Irish, but if it was substantially transformed in Ireland.
  • Pork which was born and reared in Ireland but slaughtered in N. Ireland cannot be declared as Irish. In this instance, under Reg 1337/2013, you can indicate it was reared in Ireland, slaughtered in the United Kingdom (N. Ireland). The United Kingdom must be mentioned as it is the Member State of which N. Ireland is a part.
  • A chicken Kiev made in Ireland using French chicken can currently be labelled as an Irish product, but not as Irish chicken.
  • A cut of raw meat covered by Reg. 1337/2013 can only be labelled as 100% Irish if the animal, from which the meat was produced, was born, reared and slaughtered in Rep. of Ireland. 

Noted: Lively discussions followed the presentation and members commented that this legislation is very confusing for consumers.

Action: There was a query regarding chicken liver and AMB will revert to the members after the meeting. She also agreed to prepare a note on the Island of Ireland for the members.

Action: EL will circulate the presentation to the members.

Consultation on Mandatory Calorie Posting on Menus

Noted: Details of the DoH consultation which FSAI is hosting on its website were emailed to the members earlier in the month and members were reminded that the deadline to submit comments was the end of the month.

Action: LOC referred to a draft European Commission Q&A document on Food Information for Consumers which is expected to be published shortly. Trans fats in foods were also raised and the Commission is due to publish a report on this topic. When available, both documents will be circulated to the members.

Action: Information from the EU regarding food waste and date marking will be circulated to the members after the meeting.


Noted: Members of the Forum who attended the Campylobacter Stakeholder meetings in July and September were invited to give feedback to the group. RF gave an update on SV’s roll out of the agreed Retailer Strategy directed at consumers and staff. EC commented that there is a need for labs testing for Campylobacter to be accredited and to pass proficiency tests to ensure the validity of results. DAFM is liaising with public and private labs on this matter.

Noted: LOC referred to the recent Safefood Knowledge Networks workshop on Campylobacter where the work of the DAFM FIRM funded research on controlling Campylobacter on Irish broiler farms was presented. This work proved that:

  • At first thin, farms operating good biosecurity (i.e. good farm hygiene) produce fewer positive flocks than farms operating poor biosecurity. 
  • When flocks from farms operating good biosecurity are positive at first thin, the level of contamination of the birds is lower than in first thin flocks from farms operating poor biosecurity 
  • Thinning is a breach of biosecurity. At final thin virtually all flocks are positive, whether they are from farms operating good or bad biosecurity. 

Noted: PW updated the members on the M & S initiative regarding campylobacter.

Agreed: Members were in agreement that the words ‘DO NOT WASH’ should appear prominently on the packaging of whole chickens and chicken portions. The preference is for this wording to be on the front of the pack. Where this is not the case, text conveying an equivalent message should be on the front of the pack.
Such labelling was not needed in the case of ‘cook-in-the-bag’ products. The ‘DO NOT WASH’ labelling should also apply to chicken supplied to the catering sector. The new labels will apply to new labelling stocks.

Noted; Some members were of the view that this labelling initiative is a reinforcement of a broader marketing campaign and it was clarified that Safefood frequently advertises about the dangers of washing raw chicken.

Action: There was a discussion about the reusing and recycling of contaminated meat packaging in various premises and concern was expressed about this practice. The FSAI will raise this issue at the next meeting of its Food Service Forum.

Guide, Assistance and Companion Dogs in Food Premises

Noted: LOC advised the members on the recent press release which was issued about this issue. She clarified that all guide, assistance and companion dogs are permitted into shops.

Action: EL will circulate the recent press release and FAQ on the subject.

Information Sharing/Potential emergency and fraud risks

Noted: One of the members queried if any of the other members were experiencing problems obtaining Product of Designated Origin (PDO) certs from Members States. It was explained that some agents are struggling to get these certs from the national competent authority, even though audits have been completed. This led to discussion about a presentation from a recent meeting of the European Trade Association which took place in Brussels and some issues regarding PDO.

Action: FSAI will inform the Audit and Compliance division in the FSAI about this issue. PW will circulate the presentation he referred to above to EL for dissemination to the members.


Food Contact Material e-learning

Noted: An e-learning module that covers the basic information that you need to know about food contact materials is now on the FSAI website.

Microbiological Criteria e-learning

Noted: An e-learning module to help businesses to identify microbiological criteria set out in Regulation 2073/2005 is now online.

FSAI Corporate Strategy

Noted: Members will be invited to provide input into FSAI’s new five-year strategy in the next few weeks.

FSAI Data Strategy

Noted: Similar to the FSAI Corporate Strategy, it is expected that members will contacted for input.


Noted: Members were informed that an update to MenuCal will be launched on 9 November which will include an allergen tool component. It has been developed by FSAI to assist food service businesses identify and manage allergens in the food they serve. Members who have used MenuCal provided some suggestions for improvement which included: 

  • Folders in which to save information would be useful.
  • Some found the system rather cumbersome.
  • Some members experienced printing problems – e.g. a lot of unneeded/unwanted material prints out. 

Action: EL will relay this information to the Public Health Nutrition team.

Date of Next Meeting

Action: EL will circulate a doodle polls with dates for meetings in April, June and October 2016.