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Retail Forum - 17th September 2019

Minutes of the Retail Forum 17th September 2019


  • Dorothy Guina-Dornan (Chair) FSAI
  • Alison Connor FSAI
  • Lisa O’Connor FSAI
  • Clare O’Donovan FSAI (agenda item 5)
  • Carol Heavey FSAI (agenda item 10)
  • Gail Carroll FSAI (agenda item 3)
  • Maria Meghan FSAI (agenda item 3)
  • Gareth Coburn Pallas Foods
  • Ben McGinn Gala
  • Stacy Forsyth Circle K
  • Katie Creamer Aldi
  • Aoife Harrison Lidl
  • Aisling McGough Tesco
  • Tracey McDermott Tesco
  • Lynda Kenny Musgraves Wholesale/Daybreak
  • Lucy O’Connor Musgraves SuperValu/Centra
  • Sharon Murphy Barrys
  • Tara Buckley RGDATA
  • Caroline O’Connor Gala
  • Elaine Clohosey BWG
  • Paul McNeela Iceland
  • Peter Wight M&S (dialled in for agenda items 3&4)


  • Jonathon Halls Boots
  • Stephen Browne Retail Ireland
  • Mary Daly Dunnes

1. Agree Minutes of the meeting 5th June 2019

The minutes were agreed with a minor change and will be uploaded onto the FSAI website.

2. Matters Arising

There were no matters arising that were not included in the agenda.


Maria Meghan and Gail Carroll gave a presentation outlining how the food regulators are preparing for BREXIT such as the recruitment of extra staff, 24/7 working arrangements for imports, designation of Rosslare Port and industry engagement and communication. FSAI reiterated that the EU Commission has not indicated that in the event of a no deal BREXIT there will be a transition period or flexibility in regulatory compliance.

Retailers were asked to review their entire supply chain for BREXIT exposure including logistics companies and agents and including companies that supply them where the retailers do not import themselves directly.
There was a query on whether the UK will treat Ireland has a 3rd country when exporting to the UK therefore requiring full document checks. FSAI noted that as a third country it will be up to the UK to determine requirements for foods they import and that companies should reference the published information from the UK and contact UK authorities on this.
Noted: UK retailer will raise this issue with the UK Home Office to seek more clarity.
There was a discussion on the import of eggs/free range poultry meat from the UK to RoI.
Action: FSAI to follow up with DAFM and report back to the Group.
The FSAI was contacted by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment to advise that there are BREXIT implications for Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) and Fluorinated Gas (F Gas) contractors who may be providing services for refrigeration used in retail food businesses.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, ODS and F-Gas certificates and training attestations awarded by a certification body in the UK will no longer be recognised within the remaining EU member states. The default date for the UK’s exit from the EU is now 31 October 2019.

One member raised a query on heat treatment of pallets and the FSAI reported this is a matter for DAFM
Action: FSAI to provide contact details for DAFM.
Update: FSAI circulated the following contact details to the Group. ISPM 15 DAFM webpage:  and email:

4. Country of origin labelling – Regulation (EU) No 2018/775

FSAI has met with IBEC and Dairy Industry Ireland to discuss this Regulation. It was noted that the legislation does not provide for the combination of a region and a country / Member State.

A request has been sent to the Dept of Health for clarification.
Noted: FSAI will share the response with the Forum when it becomes available.
Noted: Retailers hope FSAI will take a pragmatic approach to this legislation.

5. Report of the Scientific Committee of the FSAI: Advice on shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) detection in food 2019 – Dr Mary Lenahan and Dr Lisa O’Connor

Dr Mary Lenahan gave a presentation on the recently published report from the Scientific Committee and in particular outlined the testing methods used, interpretation of results and the consequent risk management approach to the detection of STEC in foods. The presentation will be circulated following the meeting.
Update: The presentation and infographic information were circulated.

6. Labelling of Raw Milk Cheese

The risks associated with STEC and raw milk cheese were outlined to the Forum. It was noted that there is an increasing amount of raw milk cheese on sale. Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 requires that

1. In addition to the requirements of Directive 2000/13/EC, except in the cases envisaged in Article 13(4) and (5) of that Directive, labelling must clearly show:
(a) in the case of raw milk intended for direct human consumption, the words ‘raw milk’;
(b) in the case of products made with raw milk, the manufacturing process for which does not include any heat treatment or any physical or chemical treatment, the words ‘made with raw milk’;
(c) in case of colostrum, the word ‘colostrum’;
(d) in case of products made with colostrum, the words ‘made with colostrum’.
2. The requirements of paragraph 1 apply to products destined for retail trade. The term ‘labelling’ includes any packaging, document, notice, label, ring or collar accompanying or referring to such products.

While it is a legal requirement for processors to label cheese for the retail trade there is no legal requirement for retailers to label cheese as made from raw milk. FSAI enquired as to whether retailers were advising consumers of the potential risk associated with the consumption of raw milk cheese. FSAI recommends that raw milk cheese sold at retail level should be labelled as such so the consumer can make an informed choice.
Noted: FSAI asked retailers if they would consider raising awareness to customers in stores.

7. Campylobacter

There was no update from the Campylobacter Stakeholder Group. The EU Commission is carrying out an audit of Ireland in October 2019 to see how we’re implementing our action plan on antimicrobial resistance. FSAI reiterated that hygiene on farm and along the food chain helps to tackle both Campylobacter and antimicrobial resistance.

8. Non-toxic internal bait points

DGD outlined the current position regarding permanent baiting and the use of no-toxic bait in both the internal and external environment in accordance with the biocides legislation. There was some discussion on the ‘Permanent Baiting’ rules recently circulated to retailers by DAFM. Retailers queried whether pest control companies are aware of the new rules. There were some concerns about the amount of call outs and extra costs from pest control companies. Retailers should review their pest control management contracts.
Noted: It was noted that EHOs need to consider how to verify compliance regarding pest control management in light of this and to ensure consistency. DGD agreed to raise this issue at the next Enforcement Consistency Meeting.
Action: FSAI to raise ‘permanent baiting’ at the next Enforcement Consistency Meeting.
Action: FSAI to send a link to the ‘permanent baiting’ document from DAFM. DAFM Permanent Baiting Rules are available at: 
Action: FSAI to add the DAFM Biocides email address to the minutes.
Telephone: 01 6157552

9. Reformulation of infant formula

Clare Donovan joined the meeting and reported that the new infant formula legislation will apply on the 22nd February 2020. The composition of infant formula will change and DHA will become a mandatory addition. Vitamins and minerals minimum and maximum values are also being changed along with labelling for consumers. In addition, there may be a slight difference to the taste and parents may complain. There will be a transitional period so retailers may want to make their customers aware as they may be seeing two different products.

FSAI is preparing a statement for our website and will inform our Advice Line. If there are any complaints consumers should be revert to the manufacturer.

10. FSAI Updates

a. Update to Safe Catering Pack

The text has been agreed on the Safe Catering Pack and it will be available next month. The new sections on acrylamide and allergens will also be available on the FSAI website to facilitate those who have the current version. A new section on sushi is being drafted and will be available on the FSAI website. The updated pack will cost €80. FSAI may consider putting the pack online in the future however caterers requested a paper version for now
Update: The sushi guidance is now available in the form of an FAQ rather than as a section of the Safe Catering Pack. Safe Production of Sushi is available at

b. ‘Vegan’ and ‘Vegetarian’

A discussion took place on the use of the terms ‘vegan’ and ‘vegetarian’ in the retail sector specifically with respect to non-prepackaged food produced on site. FSAI is raising the issue in the context of allergens and intolerances. Consumers assume that vegan means the product will not contain food of animal origin i.e. milk and opt for a vegan product as a result. There is a duty of care to ensure the products do not contain milk or are not contaminated with milk. It is also important that a vegetarian product is not described as vegan unless it is. FSAI welcomes are comments retailers may have.
Noted: It would be useful to have a ‘vegan’ definition.

c. Food recall information for consumers at store level

FSAI asked retailers to ensure that point of sale notices displayed in store carry the same information as the recall notices to avoid confusion by the consumer in particular where there are a large number of batches or products involved.
Noted: Retailers asked FSAI if there were specific instances where this was a problem to please let them know.

d. Update to Regulation (EU) 2017/625 on official controls

FSAI advised that this Regulation applies form 14th December and that while it is largely focussed on regulators there are obligations for food business operators in Article 15 and some of the official controls and other control activities have changed from Regulation (EC) No 882/2004.

11. AOB

There was no other business.

12. Date for next meeting

FSAI will schedule a meeting for end of January 2020, however the Group agreed to meet in late 2019 if necessary.