Minutes of the FSAI Artisan Forum - 14 May 2013

FSAI Board Room at 11:00


Wayne Anderson, FSAI (WA) Chair
Darina Allen, Ballymaloe Cookery School (DA)
John Brennan, Leitrim Organic Centre (JB)
Sean Kent, Poultry breeder (SK)
Dave Lang, ACBI (DL)
Declan Ryan, Arbutus Breads (DR)
Michael Gleeson, Irish Beekeepers Association (MG)
Jeffa Gill, Durrus Cheese (JG)
Sally Barnes, Woodcock Smokery (SB)


Myrtle Allen, Ballymaloe House (MA)
Frank Hederman, Belvelly Smoking (FH)
Mary Burns, Ardrahan Cheese (and CAIS) (MB)
Caroline Robinson, Farmers’ Market Stallholder (CR)
Michael Healy, Wild Irish Game (MH)
Raymond O’Rourke, Taste Council of Ireland (RO’R)
Donal Lehane (DL)

In Attendance:

Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)
Eileen Lippert, FSAI (EL)
Tim Camon, FSAI (TC)
Carmel Farrell, Teagasc (CF)
Bernard Hegarty, FSAI (BH)
Lisa O’Connor, FSAI, (LO’C)


1. Agree Minutes of Meeting of 20 November 2012

Agreed: The minutes were agreed subject to a few editorial amendments.

2. Agree Draft Agenda

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

3. Matters Arising

Mobile abattoirs

Noted: DL gave an update of a meeting which had taken place the previous night and at which mobile abattoirs were discussed.  Many issues were resolved and there are still a few outstanding problems such as the cost of disposing of animal by-products.  However, some of these issues will be discussed at an upcoming meeting in DAFM.  Discussions took place about the lack of competition in the animal by-product disposal business and this matter has been raised by ACBI with the competition authority.

Noted: The importance of localising food infrastructure and the usefulness of the mobile abattoir was highlighted by projects that are ongoing in Inisboffin and Inisturk.

Action: JB gave information about an English company called Whitehead that may be able to provide a solution.  JB and JM of FSAI will liaise on this.


Action: WA had not been able to contact LEADER before the meeting

Poultry Advisor

Noted: CF provided some information about possible staff in Teagasc that may be of assistance with advice with poultry. 

Action:  CF will provide EL with pertinent contact details for circulation to the members.

Food Tourism

Noted: A representative from the Vintners Association has been invited onto the FSAI’s Food Service Forum and FSAI is awaiting a response.

Restaurants preparing and serving game

Noted: DGD and WA clarified this issue for the members.  The small quantities rules under DAFM are not applicable in this case – the general hygiene rules apply in this case.  The reason for restrictions on restaurants preparing and serving game relate to concerns regarding cross-contamination from game guts and entrails contaminating a kitchen.

Action: DA and DGD will liaise further on this and SK will raise the issue at a meeting he will attend later in the year.

Shelf-life testing

Noted: WA clarified several issues relating to this after the last Artisan Forum meeting. The ACBI had been advised that shelf life tests could be done by groups of manufacturers provided the conditions being tested were applicable to each of their foods.



Noted: Unfortunately, DA has been unable to progress this.  Members were advised that Marketing of Eggs legislation applies and EL will send this Regulation to SK.   The issue of under-the-counter sales of unmarked local eggs was raised as local eggs are very popular. Current rules were leading to this undesirable situation.

Action: WA will alert DAFM to this concern.

Action: The HPSC paper on the duck egg outbreak of Salmonella will be issued soon and EL will circulate it to the members when it is available.

4. Marketing terms used on food

Noted: WA updated the members on the work of this group.  Members were informed that taste council/artisan producers are represented by Raymond O’Rourke and Giana Ferguson respectively.  The group is now on draft 3 of the report and comments are in the process of being incorporated into draft 4.  It is planned to have a consultation on the document in the future.  There was much general discussion about the subject.

Action: Draft 4 will be circulated to the members for comments.

Noted: On behalf of the Forum, DA thanked WA for carrying out this work and noted that Ireland is the first country to do so.  Artisans are very appreciative of what is being done.

5. Update on Horse Meat

Noted: WA presented on this and a hard copy of the presentation was distributed to the members. 

The main points include:

  • The relentless non-stop activity since the scandal was uncovered;
  • Instruments used in horse meat identification;
  • Products surveyed;
  • Levels of horse meat discovered;
  • Not a food safety issue;
  • Global media coverage;
  • Comments and quotes from ‘experts’;
  • On purpose; not accidental;
  • Labelled as Polish meat trim;
  • EU official control results and analysis thereof;
  • PR  and crisis management from supermarkets involved;
  • The importance of consumer trust;
  • The need for fair European trade;
  • Outcome of the FSAI survey – new systems in place.

Noted: Members commented that the horse meat scandal makes a mockery of traceability and they were most irked that no-one has yet been brought to justice.  They feel that this inaction could have a huge impact on Ireland and could undo all the good work done to date.  WA told the members that the Garda investigation had not yet concluded.

6. Overview of Revision Regulation 882/2004

Noted: BH of the FSAI gave a presentation entitled ‘Revision of Official Controls Regulation (EC) No. 882/2004, the main points of which included:

  • It’s part of a package of legislation proposals from the EC;
  • The general objectives of the new proposed rules;
  • “Risk basis” controls, combat of fraud;
  • Better financing of official controls;
  • Main items of interest;
  • Possibility of mandatory fees for inspections;
  • Exemptions;
  • Next steps;
  • Link to further information.

Noted: A hard copy of the presentation was distributed to members at the meeting and discussions arose, especially regarding the mandatory fees where concerns were expressed.

7. Microcriteria for sprouted seeds

Noted: A copy of Commission Regulation (EU) No. 209/2013 amending Regulation (EC) No. 2073/2005 as regards microbiological criteria for sprouted seeds was distributed to the members for information.  LO’C presented on the main points of the new legislation.  It was highlighted that the legislation is very onerous on small sprouted seed producers, but there are no exemptions.  Explanations for the non-negotiable, onerous legislation were provided and were a result of the German VTEC outbreak that killed over 50 people.   At this point concerns were also expressed about the effect that the appalling weather will have on wheat and pesticide residues etc.

Action: Members were asked to disseminate this information their colleagues and friends.

8. Food Information Regulation

Noted: WA gave a presentation on the “Food Information Regulation: What it means for food businesses”.  The following were the main points:

  • Definition of ‘food information’;
  • Details of a document giving an overview of changes to food labelling introduced under the new Food Information Regulation;
  • To whom the rules apply;
  • The rules are not complete;
  • The Commission is  developing other reports, impact assessments and implementing rules;
  • Outlined the mandatory information;
  • Summarised the key changes;
  • Detailed requirements re name of the food;
  • Detailed requirements of the list of ingredients;
  • Detailed requirements regarding allergens;
  • Nutrition declaration application;
  • Mandatory nutrition declaration;
  • Format of full declaration;
  • Country of origin labelling;
  • Key compliance dates;
  • Advocated that members start making changes now.

Noted: It was stressed to the members that these rules apply to artisan producers and there was a mixed reaction to them.  Some of the changes found favour with the Forum, some did not.  Much debate followed about nutritional testing and labelling. There were several queries which WA addressed.

Action: If members have any additional queries, they were invited to contact the FSAI.  Members were advised to inform their colleagues about this legislation so that they can start making preparations.  FSAI also offered to attend a major seminar for artisans if one was being held where the subject could be discussed further 

Action: There is guidance available on the legislation and EL will send the link to the members.

9. Teagasc Update

Noted: CF informed the members of the following:

  • Butchery and small production course on 22 and 23 May in Teagasc, Ashtown;
  • Cheesemakers course in Spring and another in Autumn in Teagasc, Moorepark
  • Alternative farm enterprises – CF to send details to EL for circulation;
  • Foodworks initiative – CF to send details of this to EL for circulation.

Action: Members were very positive about the training courses and due to their popularity, queried if it would be possible to arrange more of them.   Meanwhile CF will email EL with the details of the courses as outlined above.

10. Correspondence

Noted: There was no correspondence.

11. AOB

Sampling of dairy products

Noted: JB provided the details of the matter and FSAI sought some additional information and clarifications.  FSAI stressed that it was not responsible for audits and testing that were required by retail customers

Action: TC agreed to go back to the FBO to seek clarification and send WA an update.

Survey of raw mince and raw beef burgers

Noted: LO’C gave a very quick presentation outlining the details of this survey and the reasoning behind it.  It was stressed that FBOs have a legal requirement to sell safe food and thus burgers must be properly cooked.

Action: EL will circulate the following to the members:
        a) Copy of the presentation;
        b) Link to HSE press release on the matter;
        c) FSAI leaflet on VTEC and safety of farm families.

Stunning and slaughter

Noted: SK raised the matter of birds weighing over 5kg needing to be stunned before slaughter.  There will be additional information on this matter provided at an upcoming meeting in London which SK will attend.


12. Date of Next Meeting

Agreed: The next meeting of the Artisan Forum will take place in the FSAI board room at 11:00 on 5th November 2013.

Last reviewed: 18/11/2013

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