Food Safety Consultative Council - 16 September 2013

Meeting of the Food Safety Consultative Council on 16 September 2013 at 11:00 in the FSAI Dining Room

Members Present

Ms Veronica Campbell (Chair), [VC]
Mr Cormac Healy, [CH]
Ms Maree Gallagher, [MG]
Mr Martin Roper, [MR]
Ms Breda Raggett, [BR]
Ms Paula Mee, [PM]
Ms Sinead Finnegan, [SF] 

Apologies for Absence

Ms Margaret Leahy, [ML]
Dr Susanne Boyd, [SB]
Mr Tim O’Brien, [TOM]
Mr Dermott Jewell, [DJ]
Mr Ray Bowe, [RB]

In Attendance

Mr Raymond Ellard, [RE]
Ms Oonagh Eustace, [OE]


1. Agree Minutes of Meeting of 21 May 2013

The minutes of the meeting of 21 May 2013 were approved without amendment.

2. Matters Arising

There were no matters arising that were not agenda items.

3. Update on Hepatitis A Outbreak in frozen imported berries

RE gave an update to members on a national outbreak of Hepatitis A virus, which numbered 15 primary and one secondary case.  The outbreak appears to be associated with one in Italy as the identical strain of Hepatitis A was isolated in both. The outbreak in Italy was associated with imported frozen berries.  Consequently FSAI issued advice to industry and consumers about handling and consumption of frozen imported berries.  Investigations were continuing but a common source had not been identified and all foods tested so far were negative for the presence of the virus.  Tracking and tracing of the foods eaten by those ill continued. Identification of such foods is made more difficult given the incubation period can be as long as 50 days which makes it harder for people to recall exactly what they had eaten before becoming ill.

PM mentioned that it would be useful if a risk assessment could be done on consuming frozen berries.  RE mentioned that the expectation is that berries should be safe to eat.

RE also updated members on recent reports of the presence of Hepatitis E in pigs and consequent potential implications for pork. However FSAI advice is that normal cooking of pork eliminates the hazard.

Action: RE to arrange to circulate the relevant reports. 

RE also informed member of an ongoing investigation into an outbreak of E. Coli O157. An investigation into concurrent outbreak in the UK resulted in the voluntary recall by one company there of some batches of bagged watercress.  However the microorganism was not detected in the product. The source of the outbreak in Ireland had yet to be determined.

4. Update on the Open Meeting

RE distributed draft copies of the agenda for the upcoming open meeting which will be held on 17th October 2013 in Radisson Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 8.  Members felt that this proposal was acceptable.  Council members made some suggestions for additions to the proposed discussion panel to include a representative of the large industry and for some changes to the brochure,

Action: RE to source an additional panel member and seek amendments to the brochure.

5. FSAI Update

Inclusion of energy (calorie) values of food items on menus was recommended by the Department of Health to be undertaken on a voluntary basis. The hospitality sector asked for technical assistance. RE informed the Council that an electronic application to calculate energy values of menu choices is being tested and, once proven, will be made available on the FSAI website in the near future.

The FSAI is finalising a survey on pathogens present in raw milk.

6. Correspondence

There was no correspondence.

7. Any Other Business

BR raised the issue of labelling on store packaged food and what would the new requirements be in the new Food Information Regulation.

Action: RE to provide information regarding labelling of store packaged food for the new regulation

On behalf of the Council BR expressed sympathy to Tim O’Brien as his father had recently passed away.

8. Dates of Next Meeting

Agreed: Following the Open Meeting on 17th October, the next meeting will take place in the FSAI at 11:00 on 3rd December 2013. Some topics for the next meetings were discussed, which included: fruit traceability presentation, possibly some information regarding enforcement e.g. prohibition/closure orders.

Last reviewed: 21/10/2013

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