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Retail Forum - 22nd March 2016

Minutes of the Retail Forum 22nd March 2016


Lisa O’Connor, FSAI (LO’C) [Chair]
Selena Burke, BWG Foods (SB)
Sarah Wood, Aldi (SW)
Aoife Harrison, Lidl (LH)
Pauline Ryall, Tesco (PR)
Peter Jackson, Barry Group (PJ)
Suzanne Cullen, Musgrave (SC)
Lynda Kenny, Musgrave (LK)
Trish Twohig, Iceland (TT)


Eileen Lippert, FSAI (EL)
Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)
Anne Marie Boland, FSAI (AMB)
Pamela Byrne, FSAI (PB)
John Matthews, FSAI (JM)
Mary Flynn, FSAI (MF)


Peter Wight, Marks and Spencer, (PW)
Jonathan Halls, Boots (JH)
Shane Lyster, IBEC (SL)
Ray Bowe, Musgrave (RB)
Mary Daly, Dunnes Stores (MD)
Lucy Magner, Pallas Foods (LM)
Denise Lord, Gala, (DL)

Agree Minutes of Retail Forum Meeting on 15 October 2015

Noted: The minutes were adopted subject to three amendments.

Matters Arising

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

Agreed: There were some clarifications regarding the FSAI/HSE Enforcement Consistency Working Group and DGD confirmed that she is the contact point for any member that wishes to raise a consistency issues.

FSAI Strategic Plan 2016-2018

Noted: PB spoke about the process involved in developing the new strategic plan and thanked the members for their input. She gave a presentation in which she elaborated on:

  • The FSAI vision
  • The FSAI mission
  • The values of the FSAI
  • The five strategic goals
  • The seven enablers
  • The five outcomes

Noted: PB advised the members of FSAI’s plan to establish a group on emerging risks and the Retail Forum’s views will be represented on this group. 

Action: The strategic plan will be published in the next month and a short video outlining the main points will be made and this will be circulated to the members for information. 

Clothing in High Care Areas and Hot Air Dryers – John Matthews

Noted: JM explained that while carrying out audits in some ready-to-eat (RTE) food businesses they came across some FBOs where staff did not cover their trousers in high care areas. The reason given for this change in procedure was that during supplier audits premises were being marked down for how trousers were being changed. The members confirmed that they did require trousers to be covered in high care areas.

Action: The members will bring this issue to the attention of their audit teams. 

Noted: The issue of some FBOs installing hot air dryers and dispensing with paper towels was also raised with suppliers’ sustainability agenda being the reason given for this change. Members confirmed that in their opinion the use of paper towels for hand-drying was more effective than hot air drying. All agreed that hygiene should not be compromised by sustainability. 

Action: Members will also bring this issue to the attention of their auditing teams.

Update on MenuCal

Noted: MF joined the meeting and told the members that MenuCal has been updated to assist FBOs in managing allergens as well as calories on menus. She reminded members that the MenuCal package is free of charge and can be found on the FSAI website, or at A MenuCal app is also available. FSAI will also be providing training workshops on the system later in the year. 

Action: If members would like to avail of training, please contact who will pass the details to the Public Health and Nutrition section. Additionally, if members would like to provide feedback on MenuCal, please contact EL.

Update on Campylobacter

Noted: TMcD informed the members that the recent stakeholder meeting focussed on standardisation of testing, the finalisation of a report, identifying some outstanding actions, and the need for one voice on the issue, a role the Chair agreed to take on. She added that retailers have agreed on the best way to give food safety messages to consumers and staff regarding Campylobacter control in poultry and that there has been some movement regarding incentives to encourage improved hygiene (biosecurity) on farms.

Information Sharing/Potential emergency and fraud risks

Noted: A members asked if other members had experienced issues with mains water in Cork. After a discussion on possible impact of storage tanks and the internal distribution system on the microbiological quality of water and the need to flame or sanitise taps before sampling, the member was advised to contact the local EHO. 

Noted: The amount of work which traceability entails for food safety professionals was also discussed. Members were reminded that while traceability in terms of one step back to suppliers and one step forward to customers (except the final consumer) is a legal requirement, internal traceability (e.g. traceability regarding contents of a deli counter within a store) is recommended by FSAI as industry best practices but is not a legal requirement.


Cook/Chill for the Food Service Sector

Noted: LOC explained that FSAI Guidance Note No 15 on Cook Chill Systems in the Food Service Sector is in the process of being revised. DGD outlined some of the queries that FSAI receives from EHOs on the subject. 

Action: A draft of the updated guidance note will be circulated to the members for their comments.

Query on defrosted fish

Noted: AMB joined the meeting to address a query received by the FSAI on the use of the word ‘defrosted’ on previously frozen fish which is sold defrosted. She gave a short presentation which addressed all of the issues raised and confirmed that consumers must be made aware if fish (at a fish counter or packaged and without sauces, etc.) were previously frozen. She outlined the four exceptions to this rule in Article 35(1) of the CMO regulation.

Action: EL will circulate the presentation to the members for information.

Sugar Tax in the UK

Noted: The recent budget announcement in the UK that a sugar tax will be applied to soft drinks was discussed briefly. 

Boil Water Notices and Tea and Coffee Machines

Noted: One of the members enquired if other members were told not to use their tea and coffee machines when a boil water notice was in operation. In one instance a member was told that the boil water notice was because of bacteria in the water and that as long as the tea and coffee machines can heat the water to over 75oC there shouldn’t be a problem with using the machines. However, members were cautioned that local advice should be considered on a case-by-case basis as it’s not always bacterial issues that invoke a boil water notice.

Date of Next Meeting

Action: EL will circulate a doodle poll with dates for a meeting in June 2016.