New mutant COVID-19 strain

Monday, 25 January 2021

All states and territories are on a high alert about the new mutant Covid strain. New cases were found in Queensland hotel quarantine. The new virus is more contagious and may catch from a surface like doorknobs and elevator lifts. Together with high traffic surface conveyance, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning plays a lead role in virus transmission. The new mutant Covid strain has been in the spotlight because of mystery cases in Brisbane hotels.

The recent international advice from World Health Organisation states that every building and the space within may require individual assessment. The research is continuing to resolve how long Covid-19 may remain active in HVAC systems and on various surfaces. It is believed if a person is in contact with an air conditioning unit that is in poor maintenance may be at risk of contracting the virus. The same applies if a person touches an infected surface. Hibbs & Associates, an Occupational health and safety infection specialist firm is advocating for clearer direction for the community around HVAC safety protocols. They are also promoting increased awareness of proper surface hygiene for protection against COVID-19. 

Science helps cheese making

Friday. 05 March 2021

Cheese-making is complex and expensive because a lot of time and money is invested. It leaves a lot to chance because a batch could be ripened for months. Thus far, it may be even years before they discover a problem. So, a prized cheddar batch may be sold off cheaper. It is often sold as an ingredient for processed cheese. Top-grade batches take a huge investment in time and patience. Thus, it may be a flop when it is too late to rectify.

The new RMIT University research allows quality checks much sooner. It is more precise in the process. Thus far, it gives manufacturers a much better opportunity to take action during the ripening process. So, the new method exposes cheese’s biomarkers or fingerprints. It will show a unique mix of chemicals and milk-derived components which make up the impeccable block.  

UN food aid needs funding

Friday, 12 March 2021

After visiting Yemen, the head of the United Nations food agency calls for an urgent boost in funding to take care of famine. Thus far, he claims the organisation is underfunded. Hence, he is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in donations. There is a desperate bid to put an end to widespread famine. Apparently, he calls the conditions in the war-stricken nation ‘hell’.

So, the World Food Program needs a minimum of USD$815 million for Yemen in the next six months. The agency has only USD$300 million according to the executive director. Thus far, the agency needs more than USD$1.9 million to meet its targets for this year.

Taiwan name-change craze

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

A Taiwanese official has pleaded to people to stop changing their name to ‘Salmon’. Thus far, dozens of people have made a move to take advantage of a restaurant promotion. So far, about 150 people have registered a change in their name in recent days. Taiwanese can change their names up to three times.

Local media is reporting a phenomenon as ‘Salmon Chaos’. Mostly the young people are flocking to the government offices to register a change in name. Many salmon theme names are reported in the media. The sudden enthusiasm is created by a chain of sushi restaurants. In the promotion, any customer whose ID cards contain ‘Gui Yu’ is entitled all-you-can-eat sushi meal along with five friends. Gui Yu is the Chinese character for salmon.

Peanut husk packaging

Friday, 26 March 2021

The Australian Institute of Packaging nominated seven student teams from Monash University into the Global World Star Student Awards for the first time. They represented Australian innovations from more than 300 submissions.

Thus far, the student-led packaging design for an energy ball company has won the global award for sustainable innovative packaging. The innovation uses leftover peanut husks. All seven teams were recognised, and one team wins the Silver in the Sustainable Packaging Design category. 

A drought and two flood disaster

Friday, 02 April 2021

A drought and two floods within a decade have inundated the farming region in NSW and Queensland. The drought since 2014 and major flooding has a savage blow to the farmers suffering from natural disasters. The first decent crop in many years was destroyed for the drought-stricken farmers.

The major flooding has caused damage to millions of dollars worth of crops. Farmers are claiming that the Bureau of Metrology fails to provide accurate and timely flood warnings. Thus far, river heights are inaccurate.

African locust outbreak

Friday, 06 April 2021

Poor rain may provide optimism that the locust outbreak may fade. Soldiers are deployed among the usual agriculture officers. They are to treat the serious threat as East Africa suffers locust outbreaks. It has been the second year in a row. A convoy of pick-up trucks uses spray guns. The soldiers zoom through Baraka’s hills that leaves a trail of dust. The villagers are bemused to see the process.

Billions of locusts are invading the desert. Thus far, they land in a twitching swarm where a forest area meets the farms. The vehicle brake when the soldiers see the enemy. The young locusts come in waves from the breeding grounds in Somalia. Hence, the insecurity hampers the response.

Beef, lamb, and mutton export decline

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Australian beef exports are down by 25% year to date to March in comparison to the same period 2020 sales. A total of 83,400 tonnes beef were exported in March 2021. It shows some resurgence comparing to January and February. Thus far, it was down 11% in March 2020.

Cattle prices are volatile as feedlot operators and processing plants struggle to source raw materials. So, it results from the significantly depreciated herd. It follows from many years of elevated droughts.

South Korea continues to be the second-largest importer of Australian beef so far in 2021. Thus far, the USA is the important importer of Australian chilled lamb.

World-first sheep sustainability

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

The Australian Sheep Producers and Wool Producers have today collaborated to release the world-first Australian Sheep Sustainability Framework. The Sustainability Framework is initiated by Australia’s sheep industry. It demonstrates sustainable practices and to identify areas for improvement. Furthermore, it better communicates with customers and consumers.

Thus far, the framework lists 21 priorities over four themes. The themes are Caring for our Sheep, Enhancing the Environment and Climate, Looking after our People and the Community, and Ensuring a Financially Resilient Industry. A Sustainability Steering Group has developed the Framework. It is a result of yearlong industry community consultation and the broader stakeholders.

Thus far, there are significant opportunities available to Australia’s sheep industry. This is because of the world’s growing interested and demand for sustainably produced food and fibre.

Making perfect cuppa

Saturday, 1 May 2021

We all can make a perfect cup of tea by adding milk first. According to Professor Alan Mackie of Leeds University. He is from the School of Food Science and Nutrition. Thus far, he claims the flavour comes from tea compounds that include tannins. So, by making tea the traditional way, adding milk last results in tannins turning into solids before it develops the flavour.

We may need to think again about making the perfect cuppa. So far, we all have our own way of making tea. However, according to experts for those who live with hard water should want to add the milk at the start. It should be put before you pour hot water. In Australia, soft water is more common. However, it may vary from state to state. South Australia and Western Australia have the hardest water.

The vaccine alliance

Saturday, 08 May 2021

The Vaccine Alliance provides immediate funding to health systems in all Gavi-eligible countries to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. It hopes to enable the countries to protect health care workers and perform vital surveillance. Furthermore, it provides training and helps purchase diagnostic tests.

So far, Gavi intends to support countries to adapt to immunisation services. Thus far, the intent is to rebuild community trust and catch up with vaccination. It invests to strengthen immunisation programs to be more resilient and responsive.

Actually, Gavi is co-leading COVAX, the global efforts to secure response to COVID-19 throughout the world. It ensures the programs are effective and fair. Thus far, it uses unique expertise to help identify and accelerate the development COVID-19 vaccine. Moreover, it ensures production and delivery to countries in need.

COVID-19 mistakes

Friday, 14 May 2021

The sanitisation specialists explain eight common mistakes which may risk COVID-19 in the workplace. They are from recruiting poorly trained COVID Marshals to engaging staff with anti-viral cleaning. Thus far, many follow obsolete emergency plans. Hence, these mistakes are placing the health and safety of employees and visitors at risk, according to a leading COVID-19 sanitisation specialist.  

It claims that a significant proportion of institutions are cutting corners. Thus far, it is possible they may be unaware of what the difference is between cleaning and COVID-19 disinfection services. Hence, they put in place ineffective practices which are doing little to protect employees and visitors from infection.

Thus far the common mistakes are as follows:

  1. Using obsolete contingency plans.
  2. Tasking poorly trained employees with cleaning.
  3. The plans missing touchpoints.
  4. Lacking transparency for the site visitors and employees with cleaning practices.
  5. Reliance on spray and wipe method to sanitise.
  6. Implementation of rules for compliance only. It must be for people’s safety.
  7. To use the same cleaning materials for multiple areas.
  8. Using the same methods to clean confirmed COVID-19 sites.

Alkaline foods help recovery

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

The key to the current pandemic and future pandemics is to increase the alkaline food intake. It helps our body to boosts our immune system. Thus far, it helps with an immune-friendly lifestyle according to Koshy and renowned plastic surgeon.

Dr Eapen Koshy lives in Lagos; Nigeria and he is working with the Vedic Group of Hospitals which are affiliated with the Manipal Hospitals in Bengaluru. He states this in the book, a sequel to his popular book, ‘Beyond Modern Medicine’.

We are aware of the numerous benefits of consuming an alkaline diet. Nearly everyone these days is taking part in alkaline diets. It claims that an alkaline body will ‘nurture a clam, inclusive and tolerant alkaline mind’. Thus far, acidic food intake, electromagnetic radiation, and immune lowering lifestyle may lead to the weakening of the immune system. So, it makes humans vulnerable to diseases like coronavirus and cancer.

Australian farmers dump citrus fruits

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Australian farmers are forced to dump hundreds of tonnes of citrus fruits due to labour shortage and lacking demands at the supermarkets. Across Queensland’s North, the Burnett region which is the country’s largest citrus growing area, entire paddocks of mandarins, lemons, and grapefruit rot on the ground. They are all deemed unsellable.

A shortage of workers early on moved the harvest later into the season. Thus far, it creates an oversupply of fruits. So, now Queensland growers are forced to compete with fruit from other regions.

Farmers pick $1.5b crop 

Friday, 28 May 2021 

Australian cotton production has risen back to life after many years of falling production and drought. So far, the national crop is four-timers larger this season. It is worth $1.5 billion.

Thus far, next season’s crops look better than this year. However, the industry’s comeback may be overshadowed by the losing the Chinese market. So far, China has been the largest market.

SolTuna relaunch Australia

Wednesday, 02 June 2021

SolTuna offers the most delicious and delicate tasting premium canned tuna. It is wild-caught by the Solomon Islanders in the warm waters of the Solomons. It is a unique company with an exclusive story. SolTuna produces high-quality tuna products and sets an international example of sustainable practice. It has a proven positive impact on its local community.

SolTuna company was set up in the 1970s in the Solomon Islands. The export accounts for 11% of the Solomons’ national export trade. Its current canned tuna markets include the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, NZ, and various other countries. After several years of break, it relaunches in Australia. HiLands Foods is a strategic partner to distribute in NSW and ACT.

South Australian wine industry secures funding

Monday, 07 June 2021

The South Australian government commits $1 million funding over the next four years for the development projects for the state’s wine industry. With the new agreement, the South Australian government will provide $250,000 per year to support wine industry development. This may provide the wine industry certainty to 2026.

Thus far, as a result of drought, bush fires, the impact of COVID-19, and losing significant international market, the next five years are critical for the South Australian wine industry.

Healthy diet – less likely to develop diabetes

Saturday, 12 June 2021

People who eat two servings of fruit per day may have 36 percent fewer chances to develop type 2 diabetes. New research links fruit, however not fruit juice. Thus far, eating a healthy diet which whole fruits is helpful. 

Diabetes is a gigantic public health challenge. It is a disease that people who have too much sugar in the blood. Thus far, in 2019 more than 460 million adults worldwide were suffering from diabetes. It estimates that by 2045 this number could increase to 700 million. So, the estimate is that more than 360 million people are at risk to develop type 2 diabetes. It is the most common type of disease.  A healthy diet and lifestyle can play a major role in lowering a person’s diabetes risk.

A free trade deal between Australia and the UK

Monday, 15 June 2021

Australia and the United Kingdom has struck a free trade deal during the leaders’ meeting in London. It has been a result of months of fierce negotiations.

The breakthrough came during the ‘working dinner’ between Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Thus far, both leaders have offered last-minute concessions to achieve the deal. So, Mr. Morrison describes the agreement as to the most ambitious and comprehensive agreement for Australians to date. He claims this is a foundation partner for both, Australia and the UK. Hence, everything else will stem from this relationship.

Thus far, it includes cooperation on defence, strategic issues, science, and research. Furthermore, it takes care of technology challenges to encounter climate change. So far, the economic relationship and the economies are stronger with these agreements.

Supermarkets prioritise junk foods

Friday, 18 June 2021

Deakin University’s Food Environment Dashboard hands out red flags to the most grocery food networks. It reports that it is ‘impossible’ to shop in supermarkets without over-exposure to junk foods. Thus far, Australian supermarkets offer more ‘specials’ on unhealthy foods. They stock more fatty or sugary products, mostly in poorer regions.

So, The Dashboard ranks the worst offenders among the supermarket giants. Deakin’s research on nutrition policies and supermarket shelf systems see food like chips, sugary drinks, and chocolates given priority.

Marketing restrictions

Monday, 05 July 2021

The introduction of marketing restrictions for tobacco products now flows on to food and beverage brands in the US. There have been repeated calls to broaden the law to more categories. So, Brand Finance analyses the impact of such legislation on food and drink brands. Thus far, it estimates potential loss to various brands at over US$500 billion.

Brand Finance analysis shows the potential impact across alcohol, confectionery, savoury snacks, and sugary drinks brands. So, it which may result from the imposition of marketing restrictions throughout the world. Thus far, it looks at the world’s nine largest food and beverage brands. These companies include AB InBev, The Coca-Cola Company, Diageo, Heineken, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Pernod Ricard, and Treasury Wine Estates. Moreover, it will impact the industry as a whole.

The spirited industry puts QLD on the world map

Monday, 05 July 2021

The trend for microbreweries continues to increase and so does the engagement in homegrown spirits. So far, many Far North Queensland distilleries are winning awards for locally grown spirits on offer.

Thus far, many of these products have gone to win on the world stage. The wins have been against some of the best spirits and liquors in the world.

Butchers at Coles may lose jobs 

Friday, 09 July 2021 

Coles considers a major change to its meat preparation that it sells to customers. Thus far, Coles butchers around the country may be axed under the proposal to restructure its meat department.

The Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union claims the proposal will affect 1524 Coles meat department, workers. So, under the new move, it would mean meat may be delivered to the supermarket already cut. Thus, butchers would not be required.  

NSW new COVID-19 cases 

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Premier Gladys Berejiklian calls on more people to come forward for COVID-19 testing as NSW records 50 more new cases. It is breaking yesterday’s record for the highest number of daily cases since April last year.

So far, 37 of these locally acquired cases are linked to known cases and clusters. Thus, 14 are household contacts and 23 are close contacts. The source of infection for 13 cases remains under investigation. Furthermore, the number of people hospitalised with COVID-19 has grown again overnight. A teenager is now being treated in ICU too

Fishery management

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

A new commercial fishing advisory group, The Marine Scalefish Fishery Management Advisory Committee (MSFMAC) will help guide the management of South Australia’s most prominent shared fishery. Expressions of interest are now open.

Thus far, MSFMAC replaces the Snapper Management Advisory Committee formed in October 2019. It was formed to consider pressing fisheries management issues.

Food additive review 

Sunday, 18 July 2021 

A food additive normally used in lollies, gums, and toothpaste is under review about safety concerns. Australia’s food safety institution has it under review after the European counterparts found it to be unsafe.

So far, titanium dioxide has been used to manufacture consumer products here and overseas. It has been an approved ingredient for decades as a whitening agent. However, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is now calling for information about its safety when used as a food additive in Australia and New Zealand.

European Food Safety Authority so far, has updated its advice on the naturally occurring compound that it found carcinogenic effects could not be ruled out.

Stronger demand for Australian lamb and mutton

Wednesday, 21 June 2021

Australian lamb and mutton are recording higher export figures which signal a major recovery in the demand for sheep meat. So far, total June sales were significantly ahead of last year. In fact, it is 37.5 percent higher than 2020. Furthermore, this year June lamb exports were 26 percent higher than the five-year average.

So far, according to Meat and Livestock Australia, the US and China continue to be the frontrunners when it comes to Australian lamb.

Cattle price indicator breaks $10 per kilo ceiling 

Saturday 24 July 2021 

Beef prices are exploding. So far, the key cattle price breaks the $10 per kilo barrier. The beef prices look set to explode even further. Thus far, the prices are a colossal 150 percent in two years.

The massive high prices at the saleyards is increasing the price of beef in shops. So, the prime cuts of beef are fetching $70/kg, and mince beef is getting dearer too. Thus far, retailers claim it is unsustainable. However, prices are not likely to change anytime soon. It may take some time for herds to grow.

 ‘Mad mushroom man’ of Old Bar

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Stu Hartley runs Mother Fungus farm with his wife Adele out of his shed at Old Bar. It is a small coastal town on the New South Wales Mid-North Coast. When he started to experiment with growing mushrooms four years ago, he never thought the products would be popular in high-end restaurants.

In just four years, became the ‘mad mushroom man’ and gained nationally recognised food awards.

Meat industry claim that plant-based products ‘mislead’ people.

Saturday, 31 July 2021

A Senate inquiry is looking into how plant-based foods are labelled.  Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) claims that consumers are not being deceived by ‘fake’ meat. It rejects that there has been any evidence of deceptive conduct.

So far, the meat industry claims people are misled by the labelling of plant-based foods. Thus far, the meat and dairy industries have made submissions to the Senate on the definitions of meat and other animal products. They request the term ‘meat’ must be protected. The meat and dairy industry wants the terms protected, claiming plant-based products are undermining the industry. According to one submission, they suggest plant-based food should also not be placed side-by-side with meat products. This may mislead consumers to believe plant-based food is directly comparable.

Western Australia’s Frank Wise Institute of Tropical Agriculture celebrates 75 years 

Sunday, 1 August 2021

The Western Australian government, growers, and the local Kununurra community celebrated Frank Wise Institute of Tropical Agriculture’s 75 years of research last week.

So far, the Frank Wise Institute of Tropical Agriculture and its staff research underpins the transformation of this outback region into a valuable northern food bowl. It has provided much more to the community in more than seven decades. Thus far, the current growers, descendants of those who helped establish the research centre, and community leaders pay testimony to the vision and fortitude of those who helped realise the potential in the East Kimberley. It includes the former premier Frank Wise and the Durack family.

It was a joint venture between the State and Commonwealth to establish The Kimberley Research Station in 1946. So, the research station was staffed by the CSIRO and the WA Department of Agriculture.

The University of Queensland uses the ‘digital twins’ concept to boost food production

Friday, 6 August 2021

The University of Queensland scientists create ‘digital twins’ of mango and macadamia orchards. It is to help boost food production by using simulation technology known as DigiHort.

Thus far, the centre of Horticultural Science at Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) claims it was an example of how computers may change the industry. So, developing a digital model for an orchard with slow-growing crops such as mango and macadamia enables to run of virtual experiments. These experiments may be at a scale and speed never been possible before.

Digital technology offers acceleration in innovation. Thus, it will help make food production more productive, resilient, and sustainable. The technology would particularly benefit slow-growing crops like fruit trees. Thus far, the technology is called ‘DigiHort’ shorten for Digital Horticulture.

The University of Queensland sorghum research

Thursday, 12 August 2021

University of Queensland scientists develop the world’s first pangenome for sorghum. It is a breakthrough for crop improvement and gene discovery. Thus far, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation is leading the research.

Sorghum is a drought-resistant crop that is a staple for half a billion people in Africa and Asia. It is an important animal feed and a biofuel feedstock too. So, the discovery unlocks the genomic importance to breed improved varieties of the ancient cereal grain. 

Niche agriculture businesses ‘slipping through cracks’

Saturday, 14 August 2021

Agri-tourism businesses and food producers that supply major restaurants claim that the border restrictions between New South Wales and Victoria are financially devastating. These operators are often left with no financial help, despite as State and Federal governments continue to announce assistance packages.

Thus far, Great Ocean Ducks in southwest Victoria is one example that does not qualify for any government financial support. They had lost almost all of their business during the lockdown.

Shepparton is running short of food

Friday, 27 August 2021

As the Covid-19 delta strain rips throughout Australia, Shepparton, a regional city faces a crisis. They are lacking critical supplies with the residents on the edge. Shepparton is hit badly with the latest outbreak. There are more than 100 cases in the small and close-knit community.

So far, more than 20,000 residents are in isolation. It is almost one-third of the population. As the exposure sites spread, it causes a crucial shortage of essential stock. Thus far, the city is running out of food. Many supermarkets are shut or cutting down their trading hours. They are listed as exposure sites because of a large number of workforces in quarantine.

Salt substitutes are proven to be better for your health

Saturday, 4 September 2021

The University of NSW (UNSW) and The George Institute for Global Health conducts one of the biggest dietary intervention studies. It determines that replacing table salt with a salt substitute significantly reduces the potential for strokes, heart attacks, and death.

So, the reduced-sodium, added potassium salt substitute does not produce any harmful effects. Thus far salt substitutes were known to lower blood pressure. However, their effect on stroke, heart disease, and death was obscure. A high intake of sodium and a low intake of potassium is widespread. So far, both links to high blood pressure. Thus, it is greater risks for heart disease, stroke, and premature death.

Therefore, using a salt substitute that replaces part of sodium chloride with potassium chloride helps both challenges simultaneously. Hence, the findings clearly demonstrate the value of this simple and relatively cheap intervention in reducing cardiovascular events and premature death.

More Australian pulses go into the protein market 

Friday 10 September 2021

Australia is putting more pulses into the plant-based protein market. Thus far, research funds offer inroad into a rapidly growing global market. Australian pulses help meet the expanding requirement for alternative meats and dairy. So far, the demand is increasing for other plant-based foods too.  

CSIRO aims to grow Australia’s agriculture 

Sunday 12 September 2021

For more than a century, CSIRO has been working to improve life on the land. So, scientists unveil plans to improve food production by $20 billion in the next decade. Thus far, CSIRO plans to expend $150 million in three key areas.   

Their plan is to work on drought, boost food exports and continue to develop an alternative protein industry. So, CSIRO believes these improvements will capture a $20 billion opportunity for Australian agriculture. It may extend the Australian position as a world leader. 

Furthermore, the National Farmers Federation aims to grow Australian agriculture into a $100 billion industry by 2030.

Flu cases hit a record low in Australia in 2021

Thursday 16 Sep 2021

The National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) recorded more than 20,000 cases of influenza in 2020. Furthermore, 37 deaths were notified due to influenza. So far, this year to 29 August, only 484 cases were recorded. Thus far, there were zero deaths.

So, before COVID-19 came into the picture, the influenza cases were reaching their highest levels. In 2019, there were almost 314,000 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases notifications throughout Australia. So, it was 2.7 times more cases than the five-year average with 953 deaths. Thus far, if you think the flu has disappeared, you are mistaken. Experts believe it may be a problem when it returns. We have never and most likely never seen such low flu infections again. Researchers are suggesting flu will return when international borders open. However, the severity is unknown.

Australian scientists create superior fava bean

Saturday 18 Sep 2021

University of Sydney scientists create a new and superior fava bean range. It will be called FBA Ayla. So, it provides an improved variety of faba beans for farmers in the northern New South Wales and southern Queensland sectors. 

Thus far, the faba bean is the second most important grain legume. It is after the chickpea in the growing districts of Australia. The University of Sydney’s Plant Breeding Institute in Narrabri has been breeding faba beans since 2010. So, its focus was to develop high-yielding and disease-resistant variation with superior seed quality.

Northern Territory mango harvest

Friday 24 September 2021

The Northern Territory mango growers have several varieties of mango. They use different management methods. Thus far, the images received from space are helping the farmers to plan the mango harvests. This includes predicting the equipment and staff requirements.

So far, The University of New England’s Applied Agricultural Remote Sensing Centre leads the project. It is in collaboration with CQ University Australia, the Australian Mango Industry Association, and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland. The project involves five commercial farmers across seven Top End orchards. It is jointly funded by the Northern Territory government, federal government, and Hort Innovation. Thus far, the three-year trial ends up with this season’s harvest. Its studies images of mango trees at various stages of growth. So far, it is able to predict if the growers are in for a product season.

The Northern Territory Plant industries including mangoes, melons, and Asian vegetables are valued at $445 million. Hence, this trial provides another exciting opportunity for the Territory. In fact, they produce almost half of Australia’s crop.

Researchers study Cover Cropping

Saturday 02 October 2021

The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) researchers use computer modelling to study the effect of cover cropping. So, the system analyses soil moisture to better support agricultural soil. Thus, help farmers make informed decisions each season. Hence, the USQ Ph.D. student is conducting research from the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture Systems. The researchers conduct field observations at an on-farm trial site near Goondiwindi. The soils have suffered here most from the long-term effects of drought. Hence, farmers are trialling cropping to combat it.

Avocado oversupply drives prices to rock bottom

Thur 14 October 2021

Australian avocado farmers have no choice in watching the avocados wither on trees. The growers battle with a market with oversupply. Avocado production has doubled in the past 10 years or so. The Australian appetite for avocados was growing. Hence, it led to smaller growers being priced out for the produce.

Thus far, avocado production expects to grow by 30,000 tonnes in the 2022 season. So, the industry faces its biggest oversupply challenge. Hence, the one dollar per avocado in the supermarket means all farms are losing money. It doesn’t matter if it is a small family farm or a corporate enterprise.

University of Queensland and food companies target meat consumers

Saturday 16 October 2021

University of Queensland engineers with food scientists embark on a culinary journey to make plant-based food tastier and nutritious. It is a part of the Australian Research Council program. A USA-based food technology company, Motif FoodWorks Inc is a research partner. So far, aspects like taste, texture, and smell are basic drivers for consumers. People combine these attributes to consider a meat-free option.

Thus far, it is more than taste that people consider. It has to the texture too. Hence, the team wants to know the mechanics that occur during eating and stimulate them in a laboratory. So, people want to continue to eat meat. However, supplement their diet with plant-based substitutes. This is mostly for sustainable and environmental reasons.

Food recall for gourmet ham

Saturday 30 October 2021

A range of gourmet ham products may be contaminated with listeria. They are sold nationally through IGA and Woolworths supermarkets. So, they have been recalled dure to fears of listeria contamination. 

Barossa Fine Foods specifically recalls “No Added Nitrate Ham” and “Double Smoked Ham” in 100 gram packing. 

The crop industry prepare for the virus

Saturday 06 November 2021

Similar to human health, the plant breeding sector suffers severe and more frequent viruses. Hence, their preparedness for these diseases is crucial to ensure the grains industry may manage any disease incursions. Thus far, the research unit at the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) Institute of Agriculture leads a thorough review of virus diseases. So far, the unit researches in cereal and oilseed crops since the 1950s. It has some alarming news for the Australian grain industry.

UWA claims that the Aussie grain industry needs to plan for a potentially devastating future virus epidemic. Thus far, plant diseases such as beet western yellows virus, also known as turnip yellows virus, damaged canola really hard in 2014. It had caused huge yield loss for canola farmers.

Tasmania’s Launceston city’s new fame

Saturday 13 November 2021

Launceston City in Tasmania is already famous for its heritage buildings. Now they have new fame to claim, its food culture. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) names Launceston as the City of Gastronomy.

Launceston’s food entrepreneurs had decided to vie for the City of Gastronomy title some three years ago. So, the city made the submission because of the growth in its food culture. UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network recognised the range of food cultures. Thus far, the hope is that the recognition may allow producers and growers to enter into new global markets. The northern region of Tasmania is home to many agricultural producers, vineyards and has a rich history of flour mills. So far, the world recognises it as one of the world’s best food destinations.

Fishing co-op buys a fishing boat

Saturday 20 November 2021

A group of professional fishers in the western Victorian fishing town of Apollo Bay acquires a 40-year-old fishing boat. It dedicates to catching fish to feed the locals. So, the 15-member Apollo Bay Fishermen’s Co-Op invested almost $500,000 to buy the fishing boat. They will fish along the coast every few days to provide the town with fresh seafood.

So far, many people in the fishing industry around Australia send their catch off to the markets or processors in the big cities. This catch will help the local community with fresh seafood.

Australia’s food trade during the pandemic

Friday 26 November 2021

The results of 2021 clearly show the upside of people being at home during the pandemic. Others felt the effect of people not being out and about. Thus far, trade tensions impacted wine and infant formula industries too. The latter was impacted more than most by pandemic disruptions.

Food and beverage is Australia’s largest manufacturing sector. It accounts for more than 30 percent or $133 billion of the total manufacturing output. Thus far, the sector employs more than 275,00 people and approximately 40 percent of these jobs are in the regional areas.

Supermarkets to increase milk prices

Thursday 2 Dec 2021

The cost of supermarket milk price is now $1.30 per litre. It is after Woolworths, Coles, and Aldi all lifted prices in the last week. Thus far, it means consumers will now pay extra 10 cents per litre for home brand milk. However, it is the first increase in more than two years.

So far, the dairy industry has been rallying against cheap milk. They argue it devalues its product. Thus far, consumers may happily pay the extra 10 cents to support the farmers. However, there may not be any guarantees that the farmers will get any of it.

Food recall challenges

Friday 10 Dec 2021

Australia and New Zealand Food Statistics board reveal that up to 55 percent of product recalls are caused by chemical, foreign objects, and biological contamination. These figures are from 2008 and 2017. Thus far, it causes millions of dollars in losses to the manufacturer. Hence, the food and beverage processing industry face a unique challenge. It requires effective preventative maintenance on machinery. The challenge is to eliminate the potential to cause trace contamination in products.

Thus far, businesses risk falling out with the customers with every recall. Hence, careful consideration should be made in the management of chemicals, greases, and lubricants.

Prediction for dairy price hike

Thursday 16 December 2021

A leading dairy analyst predicts the price of cheese and butter is set to increase in 2022. This will be a ripple effect of a wet spring and other global challenges. Hence, the products reaching the supermarket shelves will be more expensive next year,

So far, heavy rainfall has led to a dip in milk production on dairy farms in Australia. This is mostly true in Victoria and Tasmania.

Australian commercial kava import 

Tuesday 28 December 2021

There has been excitement among kava exporters in the Pacific. It follows news that Australia will allow commercial kava to import to begin in January 2022. So far, the Australian Health Department confirms they have set up significant conditions for the two-year pilot program.

It confirms, regulations amendments to allow kava import has been put in place. The Government had to make amendments to the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 to enable the commercial importation of kava as a food.

The seafood industry fights labelling fraud

Sunday 2 January 2022

Australian seafood industry continues to fight massive labelling fraud. Thus far, labelling fraud is believed to cost the Australian seafood industry $189 million annually. So, a new provenance tool is now used to combat fraud. It is a handheld scanner that detects the provenance of seafood.

A hand-held scanner normally used in the geological analysis has been reprogrammed to verify the country of origin for seafood. So far, the tool is almost 90% accurate with the trials on tiger prawns. The equipment was originally developed to analyse rocks in geological surveys. It has been recalibrated to work on seafood. So, the model can verify ‘is it Australian or non-Australian’. Furthermore, it may verify if a product was farmed in Australia or wild-caught.

Thus far, consumers are often interested to know if a product is Australian or not. Australian products have a reputation to be of premium quality.

Empty supermarket shelves, staff with COVID-19 infection

Saturday 08 January 2022

New COVID-19 infections are soaring in Australia. It is smashing the previous national records. Thus far, major food industry companies are begging the governments to modify close contact rules. So far, thousands of employees are in isolation. Hence, the supermarket shelves are empty. Sooner or later, major supermarkets may introduce purchase limits.  

There are concerning pictures from stores throughout the country. It confirms Australians are now struggling to purchase basic necessities. So far, there is a definite shortage of meat and vegetable

Small business grants

Friday 14 January 2022
Grants are available for small and medium food and beverage manufacturers. Its part of Australian Government’s Energy Efficient Communities program. Grants are available of up to $25,000.00So, the grants may be used to replace existing equipment with energy saving models. It is to carry out energy audits, improve more energy monitoring and management. Thus far, to help manufacturing businesses lower their power bills and emissions.

The grants can be used to replace existing equipment with more energy-efficient models, carry out energy audits, or improve energy monitoring and management — helping manufacturing businesses lower their power bills and emissions.

Lami Kava in Australia

Tuesday 18 January 2022

The recent approval to import kava for commercial sale into Australia will create a strong demand among the kava drinking community. Australia had imposed a ban on the kava drinking powder in 2007. The import ban is being lifted under a 2-year pilot program. There is a lot of demand coming from people of Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga and Solomon Islander diaspora.

A renowned Fijian brand, Lami Kava is set to make entry into Australia. So far, Australian importer and distributor has received many inquiries. In fact, are excited to see orders. Lami kava makes its drinking kava powder using modern food processing technology. Foods Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) recognises drinking kava as food. While moderate use of kava has a calming effect and it may help to remedy anxiety, it is not a medicine. Thus far, consumers say it provides a relaxing effects. Furthermore, for centuries Pacific islanders have used kava as herbal medicine. 

Typically, kava powder is mixed with water for drinking. Kava drinking is important during traditional ceremonies and cultural purposes in the Pacific cultures.  


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