Joint Meeting of Consultative Council - Northern Ireland Food Advisory Committee and NI Food Standards Agency - 27 May 2015

Joint Meeting of the Food Safety Consultative Council and the Northern Ireland Food Advisory Committee (NIFAC) and NI Food Standards Agency (FSA NI) on 27 May 2015 at 09:30 in Ballymascanlon House Hotel


Veronica Campbell, FSCC member - Chair
Ray Bowe, FSCC member
Susanne Boyd, FSCC member
Breda Raggett, FSCC member
Cormac Healy, FSCC member
Margaret Leahy, FSCC member
Tim O’Brien, FSCC member
Pat Daly, FSCC member
Maree Gallagher, FSCC member
Martin Roper, FSCC member
Etta Campbell, NIFAC Chair
Brian Smyth, NIFAC member
David Lindsay, NIFAC member
Christine Kennedy, NIFAC member
Colin Reid, NIFAC member
Aodhan O’Donnell, NIFAC member
Phelim O’Neill, NIFAC member
Michael Jackson, FSANI
Roberta Ferson, FSANI
Seth Chanas, FSANI


Dermott Jewell, FSCC member
Sinead Finnegan, FSCC member
Paula Mee, FSCC member
Una Fitzgibbon, FSCC member
Brendan Kehoe, FSCC member
Kathryn Baker, NIFAC member

In attendance

Raymond Ellard, FSAI
Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI
James McIntosh, Safefood
Eileen Lippert, FSAI 


1. Welcome and Introductions


VC welcomed everyone to the meeting and invited everyone to briefly introduce themselves.

2. Background to the FSCC – Veronica Campbell

Veronica Campbell gave a short presentation which covered the role of the FSAI and its FSCC. She elaborated on its membership, its purpose and objectives. She also spoke about some of the issues the FSCC has discussed during its term. She also provided information on the Open Meetings held to date and some of the themes of these meeting.

Action: EL will circulate this presentation to the members.

3. Background to NIFAC – Dr Henrietta Campbell

This presentation gave an introduction to the Northern Ireland Food Advisory Committee. She commented on the reason it was established and the values of the Committee. She dealt with some of the issues that that Committee has tackled recently and also gave an update on its open meetings. There were several questions following the presentation which led to discussions about the variances and/or similarities between the two groups.

Action: EL will circulate the presentation to the members.

4. Agree Minutes of the FSCC Meeting on 3 March 2015

Agreed: The minutes were agreed without amendment.

5. Updates on Activities

RE provided this update on behalf of FSAI. The main points included:

  • New CEO – Pamela Byrne
  • New strategic plan will be developed soon
  • Report on the Review of the Official Food Control Review Group will be presented next week to the Scientific Committee for sign-off
  • Campylobacter continues to be a major issue and DAFM has established a new Working Group to deal with help reduce campylobacter in Ireland
  • Changes to Regulation 882 are underway in the EU
  • Food fraud continues to be an issue and a meeting of the Food Fraud Task Force is taking place today
  • Audits of the local authorities have taken place and the reports will be published soon
  • Boil notice still in effect for frozen, imported berries. The background to a recent outbreak of HAV in Sweden was recounted
  • FSAI attends and/or arranges many public meetings. Most recent is the “Start your own food business” seminars which have proved to be very useful. Another free resource to stakeholders is the series of “”Breakfast Bites” meetings
  • Nutrition labelling for food comes into effect in 2016
  • DoH would like to make calories on menus compulsory. FSAI has developed Menucal for this reason and is also liaising with FSA NI on this
  • Sustainable Food Systems Ireland which was recently established by the Government.

Michael Jackson provided the update for FSA NI and the main points included:

  • A bill to make mandatory the display of food hygiene ratings was published
  • A successful food safety prosecution linked to a foodborne outbreak in Belfast – he elaborated on the details and much discussion took place
  • Exercise Prometheus which is designed to test FSA NI’s new incident management plan;
  • Ongoing liaison taking place to facilitate the export of food to various third countries
  • Discussions underway about country of origin labelling
  • FSA NI recently had a representative speak at the British Nutrition Foundation on FIC
  • Food Safety Week began on 18 May and some of the activities were outlined
  • The FSA Science Evidence and Information Strategy 2015 had a workshop recently in Stormont
  • FSA NI had a stand at the Balmoral Show. This is also closely linked to the Food in Schools Resources Sub-group
  • Student food safety and hygiene competition which took place at Greenmount College
  • Various articles have been submitted to Farm Week
  • FSA NI is involved in the Healthy Eating Liaison Group
  • Food poverty continues to be an issue
  • FSA NI is liaising with the FSAI on Menucal.

6. FSA NI – Strategic Priorities – Roberta Ferson

RF’s presentation dealt with:

  • An overview of FSA NI strategic plan 2015-2020
  • The approaches taken to deliver the strategic plan
  • The outcomes of the strategic plan
  • What FSA NI will do – years 1 and 2
  • Priorities for the Agency. 

Action: EL will circulate the presentation to the members.

7. FSAI Strategic Priorities – Raymond Ellard

RE spoke about some of the main priorities for the FSAI which include:

  • Effective and consistent enforcement
  • Independent scientific advice
  • Working in partnership
  • FSAI being responsive.

Noted: There was some discussion after the presentation and Ray Bowe gave some details about its food academy.

Agreed: Threat assessment was suggested as an agenda item for a future FSCC meeting.

Action: EL will circulate this presentation to the members.

8. Safefood Priorities – James McIntosh

This presentation focussed on how Safefood came about and its functions. Dr McIntosh elaborated on some of Safefood’s most recent campaigns, especially that combatting childhood obesity, and another advising consumers against washing chicken before cooking. Food poverty and allergens were also briefly discussed. There were numerous queries after the presentation which in turn led to discussions about the importance of engaging consumers, the obstacles that FSA NI often experiences and also on the commonalities of the three organisations present today – one of which is campylobacter.

Agreed: All present acknowledged the need for more joined up thinking between FSAI, FSA NI and Safefood on the issue of campylobacter.

Action: EL will circulate the presentation to the members.


9. Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

Michael Jackson gave an overview of how FSA NI set up a national voluntary scheme and how a statutory scheme is now being introduced. He explained the aim of the system and how it works and outlined the scoring methods used. He gave examples of some marketing campaigns used to highlight the importance of food hygiene rating schemes and added that it’s hoped the statutory scheme will be in place in 2016.
Action: EL will circulate the presentation to the members.

Agreed: The FSCC members are in favour of a similar rating system in Ireland and the FSCC believes that this is something it should reconsider.

10. Food Addiction – Dorothy Guina Dornan

Dorothy Guina Dornan prepared a summary of the main points from the last FSCC Open Meeting which had the theme of ‘Food Addiction – Believe it or not? She gave the views of the four presenters at the meeting and then provided a sample of some of the questions and discussion topics which the presentation raised.

Action: EL will circulate the presentation to the members.

11. Conclusions and Closing Remarks

Following all the presentations and discussions, the FSCC chair commented that it was most interesting to see where there are similarities and where there is agreement. She added that there is a need for more collaboration between all the organisations, and acknowledged that this can sometimes be difficult. More and better communication between organisations can often help in problem solving. She thanked everyone for attending. NIFAC also thanked FSAI for hosting the meeting.

12. Next meeting

The next meeting will take place on 23 or 24 June subject to availability.

Last reviewed: 29/6/2015

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