Minutes of the FSAI Artisan Forum Meeting - 11th November 2011


Wayne Anderson, FSAI (WA), Chair
Darina Allen, Ballymaloe Cookery School, (DA)
Raymond O’Rourke, Taste Council, (RO’R)
Dave Lang, ACBI (DL)
Michael Gleeson, Irish Beekeepers Association (MG)
Caroline Robinson, Farmers’ Market Stallholder (CR)
John Brennan, Leitrim Organic Centre (JB)
Declan Ryan, Arbutus Breads, (DR)
Sean Kent, Poultry breeder, (SK)
Donal Lehane, (DL)


Myrtle Allen, Ballymaloe House, (MA)
Anthony Cresswell, Ummera Smokery (AC)
Frank Hederman, Belvelly Smoking (FH)
Michael Woulfe, Beekeeper ([MW]
Esther Barron, Barron’s Bakery (EB)
Jeffa Gill, Durrus Cheese (JG)
Mary Burns, Ardrahan Cheese (and CAIS), (MB)
Kevin Sheridan, Sheridan Cheesemongers (KS)
Sally Barnes, (SB), Woodcock Smokery

In Attendance

Eileen Lippert, FSAI (EL)
John Matthews, FSAI (JM)
Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)
Donal O’Mahony, FSAI (DO’M)
Tim Camon, FSAI (TC)
Anne Marie Boland, FSAI (AMB)
Pat Daly, Teagasc (PD)

1. Agree Minutes of Meeting of 12th May 2011

 Agreed: The minutes were agreed subject to one typo.

2. Welcome to New Members

Noted: WA welcomed Sean Kent, who recently joined the Artisan Forum. Sean keeps poultry and will be a valuable addition to the Forum. WA also apologised for having to change the date of the meeting.

Action: EL to send ToR to Sean Kent.

3. Matters Arising

Salmonella in ducks/duck eggs

Noted: It appears that the salmonella seems to be in small flocks and all small holdings with poultry/ducks, etc need to be registered with DAFM.

Relationship between inspectors and FBOs

Noted: This issue will be raised when the next meeting of the HSE/FSAI Consistency Group meets.

Action: Representatives from the Forum are invited to attend the next EHS Consistency WG to air their views. EL to liaise with DGD and the Forum with dates, etc.

Noted: There was discussion about the difficulty small pubs offering sandwiches are having with compliance with food hygiene regulations. WA said that the Vintners were part of the food service forum but had dropped out. The Food service forum is the place for such discussions as publicans are not artisans in the context of the artisan forum.

Noted: Guidance Note 16 on Food Stalls is being reviewed/updated and members suggested that this should be widened to include event catering such as festivals.

Agreed &
Action: DGD will liaise with CR on GN16.

4. Agree Draft Agenda

Noted: The agenda was agreed subject to some issues being added to AOB.

5. Raw Liquid Milk Ban

Noted: The Artisan Forum members reiterated their strong concerns about an outright ban on the sale of raw milk for direct human consumption. The members stated that they do not condone people drinking raw milk from just any farm, but only farms that are properly regulated. The members supported a call from Eurotoque that a Working Group, to include DAFM, DoH, the HSE, the FSAI and other interested parties to be set up. The members were strongly in favour of a system that would be self-financing and proper labelling was also exhorted. The m embers confirmed that they have expressed these views as all meetings with ministers and the Oireachtas. The members agreed that the cost of allowing raw milk to be sold in Ireland should be cost neutral to the Government. The benefits of drinking raw milk were raised again as was the issue of freedom of choice. The fact that banning raw milk in Ireland would put a very bad message out across the world about Ireland was also raised.

Noted: WA clarified that the decision is with the Government. DAFM and DoH are in discussions. WA stated that if the government opt for regulation then a working group will have to be set up by FSAI to work out the details.

Noted: The issue of robotic milking took place and it was queried how diseases can be spotted in these type of milking premises. Members agreed that there is no replacement for an experienced stock person. Discussions then moved to practices in New Zealand. Also raised was a survey of urea in own brand milks.

6. Mobile Abattoirs

Noted: While little progress has been made with this issue due in part to the lack of a concrete proposal, JM gave a quick update of what has gone on to date. Members agreed that it needs to be a commercially viable venture and funding needs to be sought to get it off the ground. The waste issue in relation to this issue is not still fully addressed or resolved. It was agreed that unless an entrepreneur were to drive such a venture then it was unlikely to go ahead.

Agreed: DA agreed to bring this issue back to the artisans to fire up enthusiasm for the project. Also, members were advised to seek funding from some local Enterprise Boards.

Action: JB to send blueprints for a possible mobile abattoir, to JM.

Noted: Members were reminded about legislation which permits the slaughtering of poultry on-farm up to certain limit. The premises however, needs to be registered

7. Hanging Times for Turkeys

Noted: The issue was introduced by DA. She has heard of a company in the UK that hang their bronze turkeys for five weeks and wanted to find out how they do this and if it is legally permitted. She could not find anything in legislation that says it cannot be done. Members were reminded that according to the legislation the maximum hanging time is 15 days at 4oC. There was a debate about the stability of organic poultry vs. mass produced poultry and DA is of the view that organic poultry is much more stable.

Action: Details of a legal opinion which DA received will be forwarded to the FSAI for information and checking. Also she will visit the premises in question in the UK and has invited DO’M from FSAI to also attend. DA and DO’M will liaise on this.

8. New Labelling Legislation

Noted: Anne Marie Boland from FSAI gave a presentation on this and the main points included:

  • The timelines involved in the legislation;
  • The key elements;
  • Some of these included:
    • Minimum font sizes
    • Allergen labelling;
    • Distance selling;
    • Country of origin labelling;
    • Minimum durability;
    • Product names;
    • Other sundry labelling indications;
    • Nutrition declarations;
    • Links to websites for additional information.

Noted: AMB dealt with the several queries that the presentation raised. WA also informed the members of the Shelf-life seminar that FSAI is hosting with Teagasc at Ashtown Food Research Centre on 17 November.

Action: EL to email the presentation to the members.

9. Artisan Ireland Labelling ID

Noted: It was queried if there was any further progress on this – i.e. definitions of an artisan, local, regional, traditional, etc. The Consumers Association of Ireland is conducting a survey on what people understand by farmhouse, traditional etc. Much discussion took place about the inappropriate use of the term artisan for mass produced food items.

Action: WA will contact the CAI to request that they include the term artisan in the survey.

10. Teagasc Update

Noted: Pat Daly from Teagasc gave an update on some of the activities they run which are relevant to the Artisans. They included:

  • Meat butchery courses;
  • Farmhouse cheese courses;
  • Advisory farm education which advises on alternative farm enterprises;
  • Workshop for ideas in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland which are run on a regional basis.
  • Eddie O’Neill is a full-time dairy adviser;
  • Carol Griffin, Ciara McDonagh and Emer Gallagher deal with several issues such as meat and bakery.

Noted: The ideas workshop was praised by JB who attended one in his region but unfortunately it was badly attended.

Action: The members agreed to EL sending their email details to PD so that he can directly contact them about relevant initiatives. DA also agreed that she could highlight some of these in her national newspaper column.

Noted: DL informed the group that ACBI has moved to AFRC. There was a query as to if there was a definition of an artisan butcher and there is not. Also DA suggested that apprenticeships for butchers should include training in curing skills and sausage making.

Action: Members were invited to visit Ashtown and ACBI to view the facilities. EL will look into arranging a visit for the members next year.

11. Guide to Food Law for Artisans

Noted: CR spoke about this and she referred to LEADER document that is very useful and it was suggested it be linked to the FSAI website. Reference was also made to an EHOA document and DL will send the link to the report to EL.

Action: WA to discuss the document referred to by CR with LEADER and DL to forward EHOA document to EL.

12. Correspondence

Noted: The Forum was advised of Isobel Fletcher’s letter of resignation. They were also advised that FSAI had written to Paul Fletcher and he is no longer a member of the Forum.

Agreed: If/when food funding returns to LEADER, FSAI will invite someone from LEADER to join the Forum.

Action: Mick Healy from Wicklow game was proposed to join the Forum. DA will send his contact details to EL.

13. AOB

Fat Tax

Noted: Some concerns were expressed about recent media reports about cheese being taxed. Cheese is considered a nutritional food. They are of the view that foods containing transfats and hydrogenated fats are the worst sort and it would be more beneficial to tax these products. WA gave some brief information about an obesity WG in the DoH and stated that FSAI has not been asked about a fat tax or a sugar tax. He confirmed that FSAI has been asked to liaise with industry about introducing calories on menus.

Salt in Bread

Noted: A member mentioned that France prohibits bread that has salt levels above 1.8%. FSAI said there is no legal prohibition in Ireland but bread is well below that level at around 1%

Teagasc & Bord Bia Regional Food Shows

Noted: PD gave some information about upcoming regional food shows that are being planned by Teagasc and Bord Bia. Members were advised to contact Declan Coppinger of Bord Bia or check the Bord Bia website for more information.

Survey of Small/Medium Food Businesses
Noted: WA gave a quick update on this survey which was recently conducted on behalf of the FSAI.

Action: WA will give a presentation on the results of the survey at the next Artisan Forum meeting.

14. Date of Next Meeting

Noted: EL will circulate a doodle poll to arrange a date for the meetings in 2011.


Last reviewed: 23/4/2012

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