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Retail Forum - 7th June 2018

Minutes of the Retail Forum 7th June 2018


  • Dorothy Guina-Dornan (Chair) FSAI
  • Alison Connor FSAI
  • Lisa O’Connor FSAI
  • Gail Carroll FSAI (part of the meeting)
  • Karl McDonald FSAI (part of the meeting)
  • Éibhlín O’Leary FSAI (part of the meeting)
  • Ross MacMahúna Accenture (agenda item 4) 
  • Seán Doherty Accenture (agenda item 4)
  • Caroline Garvan DAFM (agenda item 1)
  • Rob Doyle DAFM (agenda item 1)
  • Katie Creamer Aldi
  • Paula Brock Aldi
  • Ciara Kane Lidl
  • Peter Wight M&S
  • Selena Burke Avoca Retail
  • Garreth Coburn Pallas Foods
  • Aisling McGough Tesco
  • Lynda Kenny Musgrave
  • Trish Twohig Iceland
  • Elizabeth Bowen Retail Ireland
  • Sharon Murphy Barrys


  • Pamela Byrne FSAI
  • Ray Bowe Musgraves
  • Jonathon Halls Boots
  • Orla Jordan BWG
  • Tracey McDermott Tesco
  • Tara Buckley RGDATA
  • Caroline O’Connor Gala
  • Ben McGinn Gala

DGD welcomed Katie Creamer to the meeting and all those present introduced themselves.

1. Antimicrobial Resistance – Caroline Garvan, Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFM)

DGD welcomed Caroline and Rob to the meeting. Caroline tabled an updated draft information note covering the Irish National Action Plan on AMR (iNAP), the legislative controls in the animal sector and surveillance data. There is surveillance on the use of AMR focusing on pigs and poultry at the moment. The EU Commission is looking to increase surveillance. DAFM is developing a database on antibiotic usage. 

‘The overall goal of the plan is to protect public health by ensuring antimicrobials are only being used in accordance with international best practice. That said the plan recognises that the use of antimicrobials in the veterinary sector is lower than in many other European countries. It also recognises the use of antibiotics to treat outbreaks of bacterial diseases in animals is essential if animal welfare is to be protected and the spread of zoonotic diseases from animals to humans is to be controlled. For this reason, the plan does not support any move towards antibiotic free marketing campaigns, rather it seeks to ensure responsible use of antibiotics.’ At retail level DAFM / FSAI proposed that retailers might consider signing up to a statement of intent reflecting their commitment to this objective i.e. to support producers who adhere to the principles of responsible antibiotic use. This statement could be published on the FSAI website. The Group will consider whether individual retailers should be named. Some members provided updates on their company policy on AMR in the retail context.

Action: DAFM to suggest text which FSAI will circulate to the Forum for comments.

Action: Retail Forum Members to circulate the document internally in their respective companies for comment.

Agreed: There will be a timeline for responses with comments.

Update: Updated DAFM policy document and draft statement of intent were circulated by FSAI with a response requested by 20th July. This deadline was subsequently extended to 14th September to take account of holidays and to allow for internal consultation with relevant personnel.

2. Minutes of the meeting 1st February 2018

The Minutes were agreed.

3. Matters Arising

Single Use Plastics

FSAI supports reducing single use plastic. If FBOs decide to move away from single use plastic they need to demonstrate that the alternative will not compromise food safety. Suitable reusable options can be considered. It was noted that consumers are interested in reducing waste and that Croke Park has signed up to an initiative to reduce single use plastics.


Regulation (EU) 2017/2158 establishing mitigation measures and benchmark levels for the reduction of the presence of acrylamide in food applies from April 2018. The European Commission has been working on a guidance document to help with its implementation. The draft guidance has been out for consultation. The European Commission has also drafted a Recommendation on the monitoring of acrylamide in certain foodstuffs.

The FSAI is developing a guidance document to compliment the legislation. The guidance document is at an advance stage. The Forum suggested the use of pictures where possible rather than text in the guidance.

Boil Water Notice

There was a discussion on the safety of tea/coffee making machines in particular the self-service types in use in garage forecourts where boil water notices have been issued as most of these would not operate at boil point. FSAI noted that water of 75°C should be safe however FBOs need to check the temperature of the water actually reached in their machines. It was suggested that FBOs discuss the operating temperature of the reservoir with the manufacturers.

Country of Origin

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/775 sets out the rules for the application of Article 26(3) of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 in respect of the indication of the country of origin or place of provenance of the primary ingredient of a food. It will apply from 1st April 2020. The rules only apply where voluntary information is provided regarding country of origin or place of provenance indication of the product presented to the consumer and the principal ingredient(s) is from a different country of origin or place of provenance. The provision of origin information can be through the use of text, pictorial presentation, symbols etc.

FSAI has requested that the EU Commission develops guidance on this legislation. FSAI will develop national guidance if the EU Commission does not.

4. Blockchain – Ross MacMahúna and Seán Doherty, Accenture

DGD welcomed Ross MacMahúna, Accenture Dublin and Seán Doherty, Accenture UK (by teleconference) to the meeting. Karl McDonald, FSAI joined the meeting and introduced the concept and the speakers. RMcM and SD gave a presentation on Blockchain and the secure sharing of data in the context of the retail sector. RMcM reported that some of the major retailers such as Nestle and Walmart in the US have started using Blockchain. RMcM and SD welcomed questions and provided their contact details.

Action: FSAI to circulate a pdf of the presentation. DGD thanked Accenture for their presentation. FSAI will continue to look at emerging technologies.

5. FSAI Strategy 2019-2023

FSAI has invited international experts to input into the strategy. FSAI held a consultation with external stakeholders. The closing date was 30th April 2018. FSAI would like to thank any member who responded. All responses will be taken into account. If a member wishes to contribute and missed the deadline they can still do so preferably by the end of this week. Internal discussion on the new strategy is ongoing and FSAI is hopeful to have a draft in the coming weeks.


FSAI is discussing BREXIT internally and the CEO is discussing it with various Government departments.
FSAI hopes to undertake a survey of members of this forum in the coming weeks to gather insight regarding your concerns and challenges and to facilitate FSAI in putting in place the requisite support.

We would like information on your concerns with regard to BREXIT from the perspective of food safety, regulatory and other issues; your expectations of FSAI from a regulatory perspective and whether there are specific challenges that you have identified in your business / sector.

The possibility of a ‘run on food’ was discussed and it was suggested FSAI could host a special session with retailers when we have more information on BREXIT.

7. FSAI Updates

Official Control Regulations

Gail Carroll, FSAI Enforcement Policy Manager provided an update on Regulation (EU) 2017/625 on official controls. While this Regulation impacts primarily on regulators, there are specific responsibilities set out for food business operators. In addition the new regulations will result in some changes to official controls carried out e.g FSAI Guidance Note No 1 for the health Service Executive on the Inspection of Food Businesses will be subject to revision. While this Regulation sets out the overarching framework for official controls across the food and feed chain, animal health and welfare and plant health much of the detail has yet to be determined through a suite of implementing and delegating acts which have to be introduced. Currently the focus is on import controls.

FSAI is carrying out a training programme with official agencies. One of the key changes is the increased focus on food fraud. EU has set up a reference centre for fraud to help Member States. 

Action: Members are asked to consider what might be the most effective way to communicate the changes to retailers.

8. AOB

Éibhlín O’Leary, FSAI Training and Compliance Manager joined the meeting. FSAI will be carrying out a survey of our stakeholders at the end of the year. The survey will gather information on training/staff needs and how FSAI will meet those needs.

9. Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting will take place on the 13th November 2018.