Consultative Council Meeting Minutes - 26 March 2014

Minutes of the Meeting of the Food Safety Consultative Council on 26 March 2014 at 10:30 in the FSAI board room

Members Present

Ms Veronica Campbell (Chair)[VC]
Ms Paula Mee [PM]
Mr Martin Roper [MR]
Ms Sinead Finnegan [SF]
Ms Breda Raggett [BR]
Ms Maree Gallagher [MGa]
Ms Margaret Leahy [ML]
Ms Una Fitzgibbon [UF]
Mr Brendan Kehoe [BK]
Mr Pat Daly [PD]
Dr Susanne Boyd [SB] 

Apologies for Absence

Mr Cormac Healy [CH]
Mr Tim O’Brien [TO’B]
Mr Ray Bowe [RB]
Mr Dermott Jewell [DJ]

In Attendance

Mr Raymond Ellard [RE]
Ms Eileen Lippert [EL]

1. Welcome and introduction of new members

Everyone was welcomed to the meeting, most especially the new members and everyone was invited to introduce themselves.

2. Agree minutes of meeting of 20 January 2014

The minutes of the two meetings held on 20 January were approved subject to one amendment.

3. Matters arising

At the joint meeting of the FSCC and the Board it was agreed that there would be a meeting of the FSCC and representatives of the Scientific Committee.  However, due to the fact that Albert Flynn, who chairs of the Scientific Committee  is no longer a board member due to his term of office expiring. 

4. FSAI update


Food incidents and alerts

Ray provided the members with an update on a recent food incident relating to mussels from the same firm that was discussed at the last meeting.  An enquiry is ongoing and members will be kept informed of developments


Ray updated the members on issues regarding listeria in mushrooms produced in Ireland as RTE.

HAV in berries

The cause for this outbreak has not yet been determined.  The boil notice is still in place.

Sulphur dioxide in sausage rolls

Several ranges of sausage rolls from several retailers have been recalled due to the non-labelling on the packets that they contained sulphur dioxide.  Retailers are cooperating with the FSAI.

Milk smuggling

Information about this recent activity was shared by RE and BK.  Milk is going from Rep. of Ireland to N. Ireland and this all has to do with super levies for exceeding milk quotas.  The issue causes problems regarding traceability and could damage the reputation of the Irish dairy industry. 

Ayurvedic medicine

RE spoke about a range of ayurvedic medicines that contain a high level of heavy metals which FSAI was learnt about from the Belgian authorities via the Irish Medicines Board.   This is an issue for the FSAI when they are sold as supplements and FSAI plans to test those products that are on the Irish market.

Action: RE to email details of this issue to SB.

Enforcement issues

FSAI is making progress on this issue and a report will be available at the next meeting for discussion.


RE explained what this initiative is about and informed the members that it will be launched by the Minister for Health on 9 April.

5. FSAI work plan

A copy of the FSAI work plan for 2014 was distributed to the members at the meeting along with a copy of the FSAI Service Level Agreement (SLA) between the FSAI and the Department of Health.  The reasons for the work plan and SLA were elaborated upon and that they must be submitted in order to explain how the funding FSAI receives is spent.

He informed the members that 15 new vacancies have been approved for the FSAI and he elaborated on the process involved in filling these vacancies.

The matter of funding and the FSAI budget was discussed and it was clarified that €7m of that is for the Local Authority Veterinary Service.  RE explained the monitoring that this entailed.

RE proceeded to give a presentation which outlined the main points of the work plan and the SLA and this included:

  • Structure of the FSAI
  • The four goals of the FSAI
  • Main tasks carried out under the Service Contracts
  • The official agencies
  • Agencies that have signed Memorandum of Understanding with FSAI
  • FSAI provides independent scientific advice
  • FSAI is in partnership with stakeholder platforms e.g. Retail Forum; FSCC
  • FSAI is providing on-line training and operates and advice-line
  • Other roles FSAI has to provide are: corporate governance, HR, provides shared services with CORU; communications, newsletter, website, social media, seminars.

A discussion on some of the work carried out by the FSAI ensued and it was queried if the FSAI is doing enough to educate the food industry, especially small businesses about food allergens.  RE responded that FSAI will be holding seminars about the new Food Information for Consumers regulation during the year and allergens will be dealt with. 

Action: RE will pass on this observation at the next Executive Management meeting.  This will also be discussed with POM and AMB in the FSAI with a view to inviting them to speak at a future meeting on the topic.

It was queried why FSAI is carrying out a total diet study when it so expensive to do so.

Action: FSAI will invite CTlustos to speak at the next FSCC meeting about the TDS and why it is being carried out.   UF will also share information Bord Bia has on this matter with FSCC.

Action: It was questioned if the FSCC could have more input into the decision making process of the FSAI?  Some of the members believe the FSCC is not influential enough and that members would like something tangible to measure its achievements.  Members were invited to send in any ideas and concerns regarding this to EL. 

Agreed: FSAI will consult with the FSCC before it submits its next work plan to DoH.

Food fraud was raised as an area with increased activity and RE gave an update on the food fraud measures being taken by the Dutch authorities.

Agreed: This is an area that needs to be highlighted more and acted upon given the importance of the food industry to the Irish economy.

Action: Invite PW to give a presentation on the Irish Food Fraud Task Force.

6. Open meeting 2014

A Sub-group to organise the Open Meeting 2014 was set up.  The volunteers for this are:

  • Paula Mee
  • Martin Roper
  • Maree Gallagher

Action: If members have any ideas for themes for the open meeting, they should send them to EL.

7. Correspondence

There was no correspondence.

8. AOB

MGa informed members about a European Food Law Association meeting which will take place in Dublin 25-26 September.  She would continue to keep members updated and should they require additional information, they should contact her.

9. Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the FSCC will take place on 20, 21 or 22 May depending on the availability of members.

Last reviewed: 7/10/2014

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