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Curtin University
Centre of Excellence for Science, Seafood and Health

Food labelling – what do pallets/boxes need

By Alexandra McManus 2 April 2015 News No Comments »

The Aust Food & Grocery Council has developed a guide to help food businesses comply with the Food Standards Code in relation to pallet labelling.

PalletPic2015

Check out this link if you are in the 20% who are not compliant.  Read more…

What is required on food labels in Australia

By Alexandra McManus 25 March 2015 News No Comments »

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All food sold in Australia must comply with the Food Standards Code (FSC).It can be a little hard to follow at times and it changes on average 6 times per year. CESSH has developed a quick guide to help navigate the FSC.  It is free to download at    http://cessh.curtin.edu.au  Read more…

Early report shows diet high in fish reduces CVD by 47%

By Alexandra McManus 12 March 2015 News No Comments »

A new study 10 year follow-up study of 2500 adults living in Greece has found that a diet high in fish, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, olive oil and fruit reduced the risk of cardiovascular diseases by almost half (47%).Pesto crusted salmon-3 Read more…

Spot the Barramundi

By Alexandra McManus 9 March 2015 News No Comments »

Today there was yet another story in the media about imported fish being sold as Australian fish. This time it appears that the name of one of our icon fish ‘Barramundi’ is being used by importers as a generic term for Asian Sea BasS, Giant Perch or Giant Sea Perch. We have legislation that is supported to stop this but clearly it doesn’t, particularly in restaurants. Many of us have been calling for changes to the Food Standards Code to make it mandatory that restaurants state the correct fish name and origin of their seafood on their menus.  In the interim, our seafood industry is suffering and patrons are wondering why barra doesn’t always taste the same.

(Picture – barramundi -Daily Telegraph)barramundi Daily Telegraph

Read more…

Who approved food labels, who to you complaint to and who enforces breeches?

By Alexandra McManus 5 March 2015 News No Comments »

Although Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) develop and maintain our Food Standards in Australia in relation to food labels, you may be surprised to find out that they do not interpret the Code or enforce any breeches.  It is the role of an officer in the local council (usually the Environmental Health Officer) where a food is manufactured to interpret the Food Standards Code and to decide if a food labelling complies. Any breeches to the Code should be reported to the health authority in the State or Territory in which the food is purchased. Finally it is the role of the ACCC to regulate compliance with the Code (investigate breeches, resolve disputes, prosecute). FSANZ is currently trying to streamline its processes. I can’t wait….

Dramatic readings of food labels.

 

How long will it be before you buy berries again?

By Alexandra McManus 5 March 2015 News No Comments »

With the recent faecal contamination of berries from China, how long will it be before you buy berries again? Before buying a berry muffin the other day, I asked the supplier where the berries came from. The answer was ‘from a packet’. Needless to say I didn’t buy that muffin. Then I asked myself when might I be confident enough to buy frozen berries again?

I always check labels before I buy food. Lately, I struggle to find any of my favourite products that are still wholly Australian, even when the labelling initially appears to indicate this. We have Country of Origin laws in Australia but there is no requirement to note the actual country where foods originate from, only that it is Australia or not (imported) or a combination of both. There is a current call for the actual country where food originates to be included on products and although this sounds easy, in practice it could be a nightmare – and even more misleading. Take the example of a fictitious crumbed fish. It could be caught in Australia, processed in Indonesia, cooked in Australia and covered with Panko crumbs processed by a UK food manufacturer from ingredients imported from Thailand. The label would take up most of the packaging.

We need to find a solution that fulfils the requirements of the consumers who want to know where there food comes from but is not unduly onerous for the food manufacturers to comply.  The Food Standards Code is currently being revised to try to accommodate these requirements. I will keep you posted.

Food labelling – big fines if you get it wrong

By Alexandra McManus 25 February 2015 News No Comments »

Coles supermarkets may be fined between $4mil and $5mil for not labelling their bread correctly. The label in questions implies that the bread was baked in the store that day when in fact the bread was really only ‘heated’ in the store that day. The ACCC says the supermarket has breached the Food Standards Code under Australian Consumer Law. I agree. The labels are misleading. http://ausfoodnews.com.au/2015/02/25/coles-may-face-5-million-fine-for-fresh-bread-claims.html

The Centre of Excellence Science Seafood & Health (CESSH) at Curtin University has developed a guide for industry to help them navigate through the Food Standards Code. http://cessh.curtin.edu.au/news/news_food-standards-code.cfm

 

 

 

Freshwater fish disappearing: an interesting report

By Alexandra McManus 28 January 2015 News No Comments »

A US report from Michigan State University today noted the role that inland fishing plays in terms of food production and economic livelihood of people across the globe, particularly those in low-income countries. The following study about the loss of freshwater fish makes interesting reading.

http://www.livescience.com/49576-freshwater-fish-disappearing.html

 

Country of origin labelling – enforce the laws we have!

By Alexandra McManus 28 January 2015 News No Comments »

There are calls in the media today for mandatory COoL labelling on foods sold in Australia. We already have laws that require us to identify the country or countries of origin on food. http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2013L00051  The issue is not that we don’t have them, it is that we don’t enforce the ones we have. Just ask the veggie grows at the Melbourne markets. Last year over 50 breeches occurred with fruit and veg from overseas clearly marked as Australian grown IN ONE DAY. Were they prosecuted? No they were not. These laws are not only from the protection of our industry, they are for the benefit of consumers so they can make informed choices about their purchases. It is time that those enforcing the laws

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