Minutes of the Scientific Committee 6th December 2019

Minutes of the Meeting of the Scientific Committee of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland on Friday 6 December 2019 at 10.30am in FSAI – The Market 1

PRESENT:

  • Prof. Albert Flynn (Chair) [AF]
  • Prof. Brian McKenna [BMcK]
  • Ms Ita Saul [IS]
  • Dr Geraldine Duffy [GD]
  • Dr Michael O’Keeffe [MOK]
  • Dr Donal Sammin [DS]
  • Dr Mark Fenelon [MF]
  • Mr Ray Parle [RP]
  • Mr John Keegan [JK]
  • Dr Margaret O’Sullivan [MOS]
  • Dr Eleanor McNamara [EMcN]
  • Prof. Kevin Cashman [KC]
 

IN ATTENDANCE:

  • Dr Wayne Anderson [WA]
  • Dr Christina Tlustos [CT]
  • Dr Clare O’Donovan [COD]
  • Dr Pat O’Mahony [POM]
  • Ms Dorothy Guina Dornan [DGD]
  • Ms Nuala Collins [NC]
  • Ms Judith Giles [JG]
 

APOLOGIES:

  • Ms Paula Barry Walsh [PBW]
  • Dr PJ Cullen [PJC]
  • Dr Mary Flynn [MFL]
  • Mr John Matthews [JM]
  • Dr Lisa O’Connor [LOC]

 


1.DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

Noted: There were no disclosures of interest. 

2. AGREE MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (26 Sept)

Noted: The draft minutes were agreed, with minor amendments to the text under AOB. 

 

3. MATTERS ARISING

Noted: All actions were completed. The following update was noted:
- The Appraisal of New and Emerging Food Processing Technologies report was signed off electronically and sent to the Board for approval to publish (meeting on 9 December).

4. BOTANICALS REPORT

Noted: MOK and CT gave a presentation on the draft discussion paper on ‘Botanicals used in Food Supplements’ from the Chemical Safety Subcommittee. The conclusion was that the BELFRIT risk assessment approach is not considered to be sufficiently transparent and therefore it is not a robust approach to adopt in Ireland. The report emphasized the need for a harmonized approach in the EU. The BELFRIT list, together with other Member State’s resources, and EFSA publications were found to be useful tools to be included in the case-by-case risk assessment and management of botanicals in food supplements available on the Irish market. The Subcommittee recommended information be provided to manufacturers of food supplements containing botanicals on the FSAI website.

There was a discussion around the paper and the issue of botanical food supplements on the Irish market. The Scientific Committee agreed that the paper provided a useful overview of the current status of the regulation of botanicals and they adopted the report from the Subcommittee with minor editorial changes. The Committee agreed that the report was intended for internal FSAI use and that a recommendation should be made to the Board to publish a short summary statement only.

Action: MOK/CT to draft a statement on botanicals.
Action: CT and/or PHN Safety to work on information links for industry for the website.

5. FSAI GUIDANCE ON REVIEWING SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS

Noted: Clare O’Donovan, Technical Executive, Public Health Nutrition Safety, FSAI provided an update on the amendments made to the document ‘FSAI Guidance on Reviewing Scientific Publications’ since the last meeting. These included editorial changes, a rework of the section ‘Scientific publication process’ and the expansion of the ‘Hierarchy of Evidence’ section. This document was originally developed to assist FSAI staff with their work and there was a discussion on whether it could be published, with some comments on transparency, the content and the audience. It was agreed that it was not necessary for the Scientific Committee to adopt the document. FSAI will discuss and finalise the document and specific questions may be referred to Committee members.

6. UPDATE FROM BIOLOGICAL SAFETY SUBCOMMITTEE

Noted: GD provided an update from the Risk Ranking of Microbiological Hazards WG. The process of selecting the hazards has been agreed: from a long list of 56, exclusion criteria were applied, and a prioritisation exercise carried out to give a list of eight hazards, which include a mixture of bacteria, parasites and viruses. This list will be discussed by the Biological Safety Subcommittee and FSAI in January. An additional resource will be required to deliver this project on time.

7. UPDATE FROM CHEMICAL SAFETY SUBCOMMITTEE

Noted: See agenda item 4. The Subcommittee will consider new work in 2020.

 

8. UPDATE FROM PUBLIC HEALTH NUTRITION SUBCOMMITTEE

Noted: The updated RfA and a work plan with timelines for the delivery of the Healthy Eating Guidelines for Older Adults report were circulated in advance of the meeting. The PHN Subcommittee met on 4 November to discuss this work. Some members are doing research in this area (TILDA cross-border project and Irish longitudinal study on aging) and IUNA data is also available.
The existing Healthy Eating Guidelines for the general adult population will be used as a basis on the guidelines for older adults. However, ageing is associated with increased probability of different issues impacting on dietary intake and requirements. The report will primarily focus on specific issues that are more likely to affect older people. Currently available data on dietary intake in older adults in the Irish population, and additional requirements, will be used to guide scientific recommendations in respect of each of these related issues.
Specific tasks have been assigned to PHN Subcommittee members, with a template devised to enable information to be gathered in a uniform manner for discussion at next meeting on 17 January.

Action: IS/MFL to circulate a report structure focusing on specific issues for older adults, on which the scientific recommendations on Healthy Eating Guidelines will be made in advance of the next Scientific Committee meeting.

Noted: IS noted in relation to infant feeding that there is no specific advice promoting or prohibiting egg and peanut butter in the current policy. SACN advises that it is safe to introduce potential allergens at six months, however care should be taken in high risk families who may be more vulnerable. It was confirmed that the Irish recommendations will be written using similar language. Consideration needs to be given by DoH to their Infant Feeding policy in the near future, including amendment to vitamin D supplementation during the 1st year.

9. UPDATE FROM AD HOC SUBCOMMITTEE ON SEAWEED

Noted: BMcK noted that the Seaweed Subcommittee met in November. The draft report was reviewed and the structure is being changed to shorten the main body of the report. The recommendations section will be drafted next. The aim is to have a draft report to the Scientific Committee by Easter.

10. UPDATE FROM AD HOC SUBCOMMITTEE ON MAP AND CROHN'S DISEASE

Noted: DS provided an update from the MAP Subcommittee. The group has met three times, mostly recently in November, where they were joined by a gastroenterologist who discussed the role of Map in the pathogenesis of Crohn’s Disease. A review of scientific papers has been completed by the secretariat. Replies to Q1 & Q2 will be drafted for discussion at the next meeting in January. Practical guidelines for processors will be included in the section on efficacy of heat treatments in inactivating Map.

11. APPOINTMENT OF NEW SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE 2021-2025

Noted: WA confirmed that he will discuss the process of appointing a new Scientific Committee with the Department of Health shortly and will keep the Committee informed of progress.

12. CORRESPONDENCE

Noted: There was no correspondence received.

 

13. AOB

Noted: WA noted that the FSAI Science Strategy has been updated and he requested feedback from the Committee by Friday 13th December.

Action: WA to circulate draft Science Strategy for comment.

14. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

Noted: The next meeting will be scheduled before Easter.


                     

Last reviewed: 8/7/2020

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