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Retail Forum Meeting - 29th June 2011

Minutes of the Retail Forum Meeting - 29th June 2011

TIME: 11.00 am



Lisa O’Connor, FSAI (LOC) [Chair]
Lynda Kenny, Musgrave (LK)
Elaine Clohosey, BWG Foods (EC)
Denise Lord, Gala Retail Services (DL)
Rosaleen Fagan, Musgraves (RF))
Suzanne Cullen, Superquinn (SC)
Allan Davies, Tesco (AD)
Declan Ferguson, Tesco (DF)
Selena McAndrew, ADM Londis (SMcA)
Rob McEvoy, Topaz (RMcE)
Peter Wight, Marks & Spencer (PW)
Mary Daly, Dunnes Stores (MD)


Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)
Mary Friel, FSAI, (MF)
David McCleery, Safefood, (DMcC)


Ray Bowe, Musgraves RB)
Aleksandra Rzeczkowska, IBEC (AR)


Eileen Lippert (EL)

Food Safety – how Safefood obtains and uses Science – Dr David McCleery

Dr McCleery from Safefood was introduced to the group and the main points of his presentation were:

  • The functions of Safefood;
  • Its vision and mission;
  • Current activities;
  • Its knowledge networks and how they operate (
  • Currently there are seven knowledge networks: VTEC; Campylobacter; Listeria; Biotoxins; Cyrptosporidium; Salmonella; Chemical Residues
  • How it promotes food safety and the challenges it faces;
  • Examples of evidence based studies used to inform media campaigns and other actions;
  • Explained some of the creative concepts considered and described the ‘Don’t Take Risks’ campaign;
  • Advised on events it organised;
  • Advised about some of its publications;
  • Described some recent campaigns aimed at third level students;

Following the presentation there were some queries and members were interested in hearing more about the knowledge networks, how they work and how one joins. DMcC explained that Safefood would like to increase the number of food industry members in the networks. Also of interest to Forum members was Safefood’s upcoming VTEC event which will take place on 20th October. The members offered some suggestions regarding their target audiences and how new media and technology means that advertising has to be adapted accordingly. Discussions also took place about the food hygiene of various celebrity chefs and some issues some members have in convincing senior management about the need to instil very high standards for safe food and food handling.

Action: EL to circulate the presentation to the members.

Commission Regulation (EC) No. 2073/2005 on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs – Mary Friel, FSAI

After being introduced to the members, the main points of this presentation were:

  • An introduction to the legislation;
  • The two types of microbiological criteria - food safety and process hygiene criteria;
  • Examples of various food categories for which criteria exist;
  • The three categories of ready-to-eat (RTE) food for which there are L. monocytogenes food safety criteria
  • An outline of the obligations on food business operators (FBO)
  • A summary of testing against the criteria
  • Validation vs verification;
  • Frequency of testing;
  • Testing minced meat and meat preparations for Salmonella spp.
  • Exemptions to the legal sampling frequencies;
  • What to be considered when testing of foodstuffs is undertaken;
  • Numbers of samples;
  • Laboratory methods;
  • FSAI’s new guidance on choosing a lab and the methods to be used
  • List of proprietary methods meeting the requirements of Commission regulation (EC) No. 2073/2005;
  • Analyses of trends;
  • Action to be taken in the case of unsatisfactory results;
  • How much product should be withdrawn or recalled?
  • FSAI Guidance Note No. 10 on Recall and Traceability
  • Other issues relevant to FBOs - a) Environmental monitoring; b) Labelling; c) Shelf-life studies and gave a brief summary of what these entail;

Action: EL to circulate the presentation to members.

Following the presentation there were several questions which were all dealt with at the meeting. Some of the members had queries regarding issues encountered with suppliers from N. Ireland and FSAI confirmed it liaises with colleagues in the FSA, NI when issues arise with FBOs based in N. Ireland. The new guidance note on Regulation 2073/2005 was referred to. A draft has been circulated to inspectors and FBOs and an FSAI seminar is planned for November 2011.

The issue of rogue traders/cowboys was also raised, and members were asked to notify the FSAI if members encounter one. The FSAI also requested the suggestions of the members for ideas on how to educate small suppliers or new food business set-ups.

Action: When the date for the seminar planned in November is agreed, inform the members of the Retail Forum.

A discussion took place on the issue of recall vs withdrawal and DGD handled this query and confirmed that Ireland interprets Regulation 178/2002 slightly differently to the UK.

Action: El to circulate the guidance on exemptions on sampling frequencies for low throughput plants and butcher shops.

The members were thanked for their feedback on the draft guidance note on Regulation 2073/2005.

Minutes and Matters Arising

The minutes were agreed without amendment.

Monthly Salt update

Agreed: EL will continue to send this to the members.

GDA Labelling

Action: DGD will consult with colleagues in the FSAI to get the most up-to-date information about this and will revert to the Retail Forum. Additional information may be available after 6th July.


Agreed: Members suggested it could be useful to get someone from IMB to give a presentation about biocides at a future meeting.

Salt Reduction in Bread

This item was removed from the agenda due to a delay with receipt of data. KMcD will contact retailers about this issue when he has received and analysed the data.

Campylobacter Control in Poultry

LOC explained that the report was due to be published and confirmed that there had been no changes to the report since the draft was presented at the Relay seminar in April. FSAI plans to ask stakeholders (farmers, processors, retailers and regulators) to meet in September to agree a national action plan.

Legislation Update

The legislation updates were circulated at the meeting and EL will email the electronic version to members.

Action: If any member has any queries relating to any of the legislation, please contact LOC.

Any Other Business

E.coli in sprouted seeds

Members were updated on the situation regarding the outbreak of E.coli O104:H4 in sprouted seeds in France and several documents were distributed to the members at the meeting for information.
Action: Reference was made to FSAI’s COP no. 4 which has a chapter devoted to the microbiological safety of sprouted seeds. EL will send the link to the members.

There was much discussion about this and the recent German outbreak and implications for other RTE foods.
Action: AD had some thoughts on this and he said would email LOC directly. Also, FSAI to send a list of the most usual/common sprouted seeds to the members.

The FSAI was thanked and complimented for its updates during the outbreak. FSAI was advised it would be useful to contact health shops also, as they would also stock various types of sprouted seeds.

The retailers also requested that it would be useful for them to see press releases from the FSAI prior to them being issued, so that their respective organisations could react properly. LOC agreed to look into this matter.

Food Allergen Labels

A copy of the press release about food allergen labels, issued the previous day, was tabled for discussion. Some members believe FSAI is sending out the incorrect signals and that risk assessments need to be carried out. However, members said that they would revert to the FSAI with their views and comments on the issue. Gluten-free labelling was also discussed.
Action: DF offered to send FSAI its codes of practice on this issue.

Amended Terms of Reference (ToR)

 LOC advised the members of a change to the ToR. Some discussion took place but members had no objection to the change.

Date of Next Meeting

It was agreed to change the scheduled date of the next, as it clashed with a Safefood seminar. It will be agreed with members by email, and likely to be in October.