Meeting of Consultative Council - 23 June 2015

Meeting of the Food Safety Consultative Council on 23 June at 12:30 in Safefood Boardroom


Veronica Campbell, Chair (VC)
Paula Mee (PM)
Susanne Boyd (SB) via teleconference
Breda Raggett (BR)
Cormac Healy (CH)
Dermott Jewell (DJ)
Sinead Finnegan (SF)
Pat Daly (PD)
Maree Gallagher (MG)
Brendan Kehoe (BK)


Margaret Leahy (ML)
Martin Roper (MR)
Ray Bowe (RB)
Una Fitzgibbon (UF)
Tim O’Brien (TO’B)
Donal Maguire (DM)
In attendance
Raymond Ellard (RE)
Eileen Lippert (EL)
Dorothy Guina Dornan (DGD)
John Matthews (JM)
Eileen O’Dea (EO’D)
Emer O’Keeffe (EO’K)
Jenny Reid (JR)

1. Agree minutes of 5 November 2014


Agreed: The minutes were agreed without amendment.

2. Agree minutes of 27 May 2015

Agreed: The minutes were agreed without amendment.

3. Matters Arising

The members discussed and provided their views on the last Open Meeting of the FSCC and members were of the view that it raised as many questions as it answered. Members also commented that it would be useful to receive an update from the two UK scientists who spoke at the meeting.


Members also discussed the recent joint meeting of the FSCC and NIFAC. The feedback from the members was extremely positive. Some of the differences between the two groups were discussed as well as similarities.

Agreed: It would be useful for the FSCC and NIFAC to collaborate on the ethnic restaurant issue. The Chair of the FSCC would like to see the analysis which was carried out in N. Ireland in order to raise the issue when she attends a meeting of the FSAI Board.

Action: SB will obtain the information as requested above in addition to some information from Belfast City Council which might be useful.

Agreed: The FSCC members would like to receive a short, written update on FSAI activities, including those of the Scientific Committee, at every meeting. FSAI agreed to provide this.

4. FSAI Update

RE gave a summary on the following topics:



  • Listeria in smoked fish
  • FSAI will be developing strategy 2016-2019 and FSCC will be consulted
  • Service contracts are in the process of being re-negotiated – members are welcome to submit to the FSAI any ideas they might have on how to negotiate/coordinate the local authority contracts
  • Meat control system in Ireland
  • FSAI gave evidence at a Sports Council hearing about allegations of clenbuterol in meat
  • EU monitoring programme of authenticity of honey and fish
  • Consumer advice to boil frozen, imported berries still applies.

Action: Include meat controls in Ireland as an agenda item for the next FSCC meeting.

5. BSE and Veterinary Drug Residues – John Matthews

John Matthew elaborated on the situation regarding the recent case of BSE in an animal in Louth and how unfortunate it occurred so soon after it was announced that Ireland had a negligible risk status. He added that it’s the view of FSAI and DAFM that this is an animal welfare issue and not a food safety issue. He added that a query was received regarding the safety of milk from a BSE-positive cow, and stated that based on the advice he received, there is no risk. He informed the members that the list of specified risk material (SRM) has been updated by EFSA and the EU in order to keep up-to-date with changes and will continue to do so.


Reference was made to recent newspaper reports on the possible presence in foods of drugs banned in athletics. JM was not in agreement with some of the views reported; however he acknowledged the constant and changing challenges involved and added that is why there is a systematic testing regime in Ireland. He cited some test results to date which refute the claims. He also added that DAFM is of the view that the drugs/hormones referred to are not an issue in Ireland and buyers are also of the same view. Discussion continued on the topic for some time.

The issue of Hepatitis E in pork sausages was briefly introduced. There has been an increase in the incidence of Hep. E in humans in the UK and it has been linked to sausages as Hep. E is resistant to standard cooking.

6. Review of the Joint Meeting with FSAI’s Scientific Committee

Members agreed that this was a very informative and useful meeting and they all agreed that the FSCC should keep a watching brief on the issues being discussed by the Scientific Committee.

Agreed: It would be useful for the FSCC and Scientific Committee to meet once per year.

7. Open Meeting 2015

Agreed: The Open Meeting will take place on 3rd November in the Radisson Blu hotel on Golden Lane.

FSAI staff members asked to suggest possible subjects for the Open Meeting. The topics were:



  • Sugar or salt - the lesser of two evils
  • Grow your own food – Ireland’s urban farmers
  • Nano foods – what’s next?
  • Labels, Labels, Labels - are you confused?
  • Foods fit for an athlete
  • Fad diets, very low calorie diets etc., maybe ask BodyWhys and the HPRA (re: buying diet pills online) to get involved
  • Obesity – Food safety issue or not?
  • Can you trust the food you buy online? (Covering from Tesco deliveries, to weight loss supplements sold on Facebook!)
  • All this food legislation; How does it work and who benefits?
  • A theme based on food allergens? Labelling? (or both)
  • Obesity – are we doing enough? (That could tie in with the calories on menus legislation, the fact that in 2016 nutrition info becomes mandatory on pre-packaged food (except for ‘small quantities’ producers, which we may be running a consultation on for DoH, etc.)
  • Food fraud – are you involved in it?
  • FIC - lots of info but v complicated
  • Health claims now regulated but no nutrient profiles (simple case reports leading to pseudo reports by Belle Gibson and others)
  • All I want to know is what's healthy for me and my family but it's bewildering for consumers - real dilemma
  • Artisan Food and its future in Ireland
  • Can you believe what’s on the label?
  • Changing climate / changing food supply – threat, challenge or opportunity?
  • Who will feed Ireland? Food security and food safety in the era of globalisation
  • Food supply in the collaborative economy – what’s not to ‘like’?
  • Food poverty

Agreed: FSAI is in favour of online sales of supplements and food and food fit for an athlete as topics for the meeting. These were discussed in detail. The discussion also turned to pesticides and new legislation due in November. SB referred to a recent documentary on the topic and will circulate a link to it.

Agreed: CH, MG and VC volunteered to be members of the Open Meeting Working Group.

Action: DGD will provide an update on supplement testing to PM.

8. Official Controls – Analysis of Data from FSAI Agencies – Eileen O’Dea

The main points of the presentation were:



  • Why FSAI collects data?
  • Data sources – over 120
  • Data reporting and accessibility
  • 2014 overviews
    • Staffing and resourcing
    • Establishments
    • Inspections
    • Samples

Action: EL will send the presentation to the members for information.

There were many questions and comments following the presentation. It was noted that a lot of data is collected and what is it used for? Are we collecting too much data? FSAI should prepare short info graphics on all of the data collected and also give examples of all the testing carried out.

Action: RE will prepare a short paper on the data collected by the FSAI and circulate to the members in order for them to make suggestions about the data they think should be collected. The chemical testing programme will also be circulated to the members for information.

9. Date of Next meeting

Action: EL will circulate a doodle offering possible dates for the next meeting.




Last reviewed: 22/10/2015

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