Consultative Council Meeting Minutes - 23 November 2016

Members Present:  

  • Veronica Campbell
  • Ray Bowe
  • Susanne Boyd
  • Cormac Healy
  • Sinead Finnegan
  • Martin Roper
  • Tim O’Brien
  • Margaret Leahy
  • Dermott Jewell
  • Breda Raggett
  • Pat Daly

FSAI Staff in Attendance:  

  • Raymond Ellard (RE)
  • Dorothy Guina Dornan
  • Kathryn Sewell
  • Eibhlin O’Leary
  • Jane Ryder
  • Eithne Fox


  • Paula Mee
  • Donal Maguire
  • Maree Gallagher
  • Una Fitzgibbon

1. Welcome

The Chair welcomed everybody to the meeting.

2. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the last meeting of 12th July 2016 were noted and approved. There were no matters arising.

3. FSAI updates

RE provided a brief update on recent events; these included:

A food borne outbreak of VTEC involving 11 cases was under investigation E-coli incident but no specific source was identified.

An outbreak of salmonellosis was identified in the UK and elsewhere within the EU. The suspected food source are eggs from Poland. One fatality was associated with the outbreak. There was no distribution found in Ireland, but later some small quantities were found to have been sent to Ireland. There were no illnesses here.

Investigations of foodborne illness require modern methods of molecular typing of microbes. Many countries, including the UK and the USA are now using whole genome sequencing as the preferred method. FSAI urged and is pleased to note that HSE has agreed to fund such a capability within its official control microbiological laboratory system. This should prove to be of added benefit in identifying outbreaks which might otherwise undetected.

A recent development was a series of complaints about the labelling of beers, the allegation being, that some were labelled in a manner which might suggest a provenance which was not correct. The more regular use of social media to highlight complaints is a relatively new departure, which was also the case in relation to complaints about fish being labelled as “fresh”, whereas it had been previously frozen and defrosted. All complaints were followed up in association with the HSE.

A number of cases of alcohol poisoning had come to the attention of FSAI, and sadly one person has died. Follow-up did not reveal evidence of a wider food contamination incident.

4. Food Chain Vulnerability Analysis – the Dairy Sector

Ms Eibhlin O’Leary, Audit Manager, FSAI gave a presentation on work currently being undertaken to examine vulnerability in the dairy sector food chain. The project will consist of two phases:

Phase I
Map the Dairy Industry and Regulatory Environment
Document the Official Controls in Place
Business Controls

Phase II
Identify and Rank Vulnerabilities
Assess if Controls are fit for purpose
Develop indicators to detect fraud

Action: RE to circulate to the group information from the UK on this

5. FSAI Stakeholder Engagement

Ms Jane Ryder, Communications Manager, FSAI made a presentation on FSAI’s work on engaging its stakeholders. The main points covered were the identification of all stakeholders, how FSAI interacts with them and the next steps:


  • Finalise and prioritise stakeholders
  • Create sub-maps, where needed
  • Assign specific people
  • Develop an engagement plan
  • Review and update on progress twice yearly
  • Review the mapping on a yearly basis

Action: Jane to add in the organic sector to the list.

6. Overview of Food Alerts and Food Allergen Alerts 2015-16

Ms Eithne Fox, Technical Executive, Food Incidents Team, FSAI outlined the food incidents for 2015 and 2016 and explained how these are managed. She also described the main hazards and food types which resulted in issuing food alerts and food allergen alerts during the period

8. Food Safety Consultative Council – next steps

It was noted that term of office of most of the current membership, that is those appointed by the FSAI Board expires at end of December 2016. The Board is considering the type of process to be used in selecting members for the next term beginning in 2017. It is likely that it will invite expressions of interest for membership of the Council from persons in the various sectors with which FSAI is obliged to consult.

The members expressed a view that there should be a more formal link between the Council and the Board and that it would be preferable that the Council is represented at FSAI Board level.

Noted: The Chair of FSAI Board will attend the next Council meeting.

9. Global Food Security – Distance Learning Course - Dr Susanne Boyd, Queen’s University Belfast

A brochure was circulated regarding a new distance learning course available in Queens University to Certificate, Diploma or Master’s level. The course includes the module food integrity, fraud and traceability which is being developed by Dr Boyd. She asked for feedback from this group. Other modules covered are:


  • Food safety & health
  • Advance analytical tools for food security
  • Global food standards and legislation
  • Food integrity, fraud and traceability

The group congratulated Dr Boyd on the course.

10. AOB

There was some discussion on the content of takeaway food with regard to provision of information on energy, nutrient and allergen content. At present only the allergen information must be provided. There was discussion on the possibility of MenuCal expanding to cover nutrient content of foods as well as allergen information and energy values.


The next meeting will take place in FSAI at 10.30am on 14th December 2016.


Last reviewed: 11/12/2017

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