Food Processing Pen

The Elephant brand stick pens are designed with or without a pocket clip and offer the option to have a lanyard attachment point. 

The grip has a triangular section to provide a secure hold for gloved hands in wet working areas and the whole body has textured finish. The new Elephant Pen can be ‘seen and rejected’ by both metal detection and X-ray inspection systems used in the food industry. 

The lanyard attachment will take a safety chain or the clip on a fabric lanyard that includes a breakaway device for safe use in a working machine area. The pen is rounded for easy cleaning and minimal soiling and entrapment. 


nudie launches new dairy-free coconut yoghurt

It’s nothing new that people are going coconuts about coconuts and no-one knows that more than nudie, who were the first major brand to launch coconut water into Australia in 2010. 

Now they’ve taken coconut goodness one step further by launching a new and deliciously creamy coconut yoghurt, which is dairy-free, gluten-free, low in sugar and contains no additives.

Made using coconut milk, nudie’s coconut yoghurt is a great alternative for people with lactose intolerance, casein allergies or those who are limiting their dairy intake. 

One of the flavours (natural) is even vegan friendly too.
nudie nutritionist Helen Ridge said, “nudie coconut yoghurt is a fantastic alternative for the one third of Australians who are limiting their dairy intake.”
“Despite being dairy-free, nudie coconut yoghurt contains live cultures (probiotic bacteria, otherwise known as good bacteria). Probiotics can assist in gut health, which in turn means a stronger immune system.”

Carlie Platts, nudie’s chief brand governess added “We’re always thinking of innovative ways to create good and we’re so excited to launch into this new category. Not only does our coconut yoghurt taste delicious, it’s also dairy-free and contains no nasties. We’re very proud to put our name to it!”

Workers in agriculture, food processing allegedly being exploited

Foreign workers in the fruit picking and food processing industries are enduring slave-like conditions, according to an ABC Four Corners report.

In the program that aired last night, it was alleged that the exploitation of workers on 417 working holiday visas is widespread.

The program claimed workers are working long hours, being subjected to verbal abuse, experiencing sexual harassment, and being underpaid.

In addition, the program said there is a black labour market operating. Labour contractors are hiring foreigners on invalid or expired visas and paying them as little as $3.95 an hour.

The program alleged Griffith chicken processor, Baiada is one company which uses labour hire companies which exploit workers. It claimed two workers were paid $18 an hour even though the award is $25 an hour.

Workers told Four Corners they were not allowed to stop to drink water or go to the toilet for long periods of time.

Baiada, Australia’s largest poultry supplier, has annual revenue of $1.3b. The company’s chickens are sold by Coles and Woolworths and it supplies Red Rooster and KFC.

Following the program, the Victorian Government said it will begin an inquiry into labour exploitation in the second half of the year.

"We're just in the process of putting some terms of reference together and putting a committee together to actually do the investigation," Victoria's Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins said.

"We need to get the message out loud and clear that every unethical labour contractor that's operating needs to know that these activities won't be tolerated in Victoria."

Image: ABC

Parmalat issued with notice from EPA following odour complaints

Dairy company Parmalat Food Products has been issued with a Prevention Notice by the EPA following complaints about foul odours coming from its factory in western Sydney.

Neighbours of the dairy processing facility on Birnie Avenue in Lidcombe have complained for the last two months about the problem. Residents have complained that the smell is like ‘sour milk’ and a ‘sewer’.

Following multiple site inspections where EPA officers detected the strong and offensive odours offsite, Parmalat has been issued with the notice requiring them to engage a suitably qualified consultant this week to deliver recommendations to the EPA by May 27.

The consultant will be required to undertake a comprehensive site odour assessment identifying and prioritising potential sources that may be contributing to the offsite odour and developing short, medium and long term management options.

EPA Manager Sydney Industry Greg Sheehy said the Prevention Notice was designed to provide expedited relief to nearby residents and businesses while the EPA’s investigations continue.

The EPA will continue to work with Parmalat throughout this process and encourages anybody with odour concerns about the site to report their complaint to the EPA’s Environment Line on 131 555.

“We believe that the initial odours may have been related to 360,000 litres of wastewater that turned anaerobic so our investigations are looking into why this occurred and how the company then dealt with the incident,” Sheehy said.

“EPA inspections have also identified other potential sources of odour which is why the Prevention Notice requires a range of onsite sources to be investigated.

“These odours have been very unpleasant for neighbours of the Birnie Road site so our aim is to address this issue as quickly as possible.

“By getting an expert on-board to assess the situation we hope to get some practical solutions in place to mitigate the offsite impacts and hopefully eliminate them from re-occurring down the track.”

Australia could send fresh milk to China by boat

Australia could export fresh milk to Asia by boat and thereby double annual milk production, a Dutch logistics and engineering company says.

As the Australian reports, Diederik Brasser, managing director of Trilobes and its sister company Milkways said the technology already exists to export large quantities of perishable produce, like milk, by sea.

And he claimed that exporting fresh milk to China could see the local industry double output from the current level of nine billion litres a year to more than 20 billion litres.

Trilobes’ technology already makes it possible to safely ship fruit juice from Central and South America to Europe. Brasser said it can do this using modular temperature-controlled refrigerated containers as well as ultra-clean systems of terminal storage and transfer.

Currently most of Australia’s milk exports to Asia are in the form of milk powder. Only a small amount of fresh milk is exported to Asia using air freight.

However, the value of fresh milk far outstrips milk powder. Chinese demand for fresh milk is booming within the expanding middle class and the product sells for $8-$10 a litre.

“Australia has a comparative advantage over New Zealand to supply this fresh milk demand by ship because it is closer to major Asian and Middle East markets, and we know we can keep the milk fresh that long,” Brasser told the Australian.

Currently, New Zealand exports a lot more milk than Australia. Its exports accounts for almost a third of global trade, while Australia’s make up just 5 per cent.

Brasser is looking for Australian partners to help develop this potential fresh milk export market.

Image: fdecomite via photopincc

Sanford likely to cut 230 workers from Christchurch seafood factory

Fishing group Sanford is likely to cut 230 workers from its Christchurch mussel processing plant because of a shortage of natural spat supply.

The New Zealand Herald reports that management met with employees at the plant yesterday to deliver the bad news and said a final decision will be made by April 20.

Sanford Chief Executive Volker Kuntzsch said there is a shortage of natural spat (young mussels) because of warm water and unfavourable weather conditions.

"Wild spat supply is the single biggest constraint on the mussel industry with current spat shortages limiting future crop supply. In the long term Sanford's recent investment with government, industry and research organisations in the selective breeding of mussels (will alleviate the industry's reliance on wild caught spat,” Kuntzsch said.

“However, at this stage it is not anticipated that these initiatives will boost crop supply to levels where Sanford's South Island plants are able to be efficiently utilised for the next two to three years." reports that Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU), which represents the workers, will meet Sanford next week to try to extend the timeline for talks and secure favourable exit packages.

SFWU representative Chas Muir said he did not expect many staff would take up the offer to relocate because of family reasons and because many have houses damaged by the Christchurch earthquake which not be of much value on the market.

"We have gone out to a whole lot of other industries and organisations to let them know about this, so they will be aware there is now a food grade processing facility available with spare capacity,” Muir said.

"I guess there's always a possibility that an opportunity comes out of the woodwork … to utilise this facility, whether they be mussels from another source or … some other kind of food product or seafood product."

‘Hand Picked’ fruit and veg campaign to support local farmers

The Brisbane Produce Market has launched ‘Hand Picked’, a campaign to challenge supermarkets which stock fruit and vegetables that are not locally produced.

The Sunshine Coast Daily reports that almost 100 south-east Queensland independent greengrocers have signed up for the campaign to sell only locally grown food. They all source their produce from Australian farmers only.

"The Hand Picked campaign is about highlighting the industry experience and personal service provided by your local fruit shop, and the origin of the high quality produce they sell," Brisbane Markets CEO Andrew Young said.

"Shoppers can identify retailers participating in the Hand Picked campaign by looking for new Your Local Fruit Shop signage in almost 100 locations around south-east Queensland."

Greengrocer Joseph Guardala, whose shop is located in Indooroopilly, told 9news that smaller greengrocers have better fruit and vegetables than large supermarkets. He added that consumers actually prefer this produce.

"They don't want imported stuff, they want their local fruit to and veg to be locally grown here," he said

He sources his produce from the Brisbane Markets every morning.

"I'm hand picking everything, I'm tasting everything, I open boxes, I even pick through pallets every day, just to get my 24 grapes that I exactly want," he said.


Popularity of food ‘Made in Australia’ on the rise

The proportion of Australians over 14 who are more likely to buy food labelled ‘Made in Australia’ has risen to 88 per cent from 85 per cent two years ago, according to the latest research.

The survey by Roy Morgan Research also found that 6 per cent of Australians over 14 prefer food marked ‘Made in China’, compared to 5 per cent two years ago.

Those who prefer the goods ‘Made in China’ tend to be younger (under 35) and less concerned about whether their food is fattening, genetically modified, or additive-free. And they are more likely to buy frozen or chilled ready-made meals, takeaway food, and to avoid dairy products when possible.

“Among the small percentage of Australians who are more likely to buy food if it’s labelled ‘Made in China’, certain attitudes towards food stand out. These same attitudes – from ‘I often buy takeaway food to eat at home’ to ‘I avoid dairy foods wherever possible’ – are also more widespread among Aussies aged under 35 than those aged 35+,” said Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research.

In addition, Australians from an Asian background are more likely to prefer goods ‘Made in China’. However, those from this group are still much more likely to prefer food labelled ‘Made in Australia’.

Meanwhile, the Australian Made Campaign has welcomed the Government’s decision to consult with stakeholders and undertake consumer research into its proposal to introduce a mandatory ‘Australian content’ symbol for all locally produced food products.

“The Australian Made Campaign applauds the Ministers for Agriculture and Industry making country-of-origin branding a priority and looks forward to working closely with the Government on the introduction of the new system,” Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison said in a statement.

It is believed the Ministers will be submitting further recommendations to Cabinet in August on changes to the current labelling laws, and what the proposed new symbol will look like.

The rules for using the logo on food products are more stringent than the rules for making country-of-origin claims under Australian Consumer Law. The Australian Made Campaign has been lobbying for that gap to be closed, and an education program to be rolled out to help increase understanding of country-of-origin claims and the value proposition of buying Australian made and Australian grown products.


3D food printers could help feed world’s poor

3D food printers have the potential to help end global famine, according to an influential academic.

The Australian reports that Vivek Wadhwa, vice-president of innovation and research at Silicon Valley’s Singularity University, believes 3D-printed meat could be important in the fight against hunger because its production will become much cheaper than is the case for real meat.

Wadhwa (pictured), who is currently visiting Australia, told the Australian that 3D-printed meat, made from synthesised protein strings will become viable in the next ten years.

“I wouldn’t want to eat the $US300,000 3D-printed hamburger (from The Netherlands) because it was (released) too early (in 2013),” Wadhwa said.

“But in five to seven years you’ll start seeing commercial prototypes of this technology and the quality will be quite good.”

He also predicted that, within 15 years, solar energy will be able to satisfy the world’s energy needs. It will also reduce energy costs and make vertical organic food production more economically viable.

Globally, over 800 million people are chronically food insecure. And according to estimates from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, malnutrition costs the world $4 trillion in GDP.

Nick Haan, Director of Global Grand Challenges at Singularity University, told an audience at this year’s Summit Spain in Seville that world hunger should not be seen as ‘part of the human condition’. On the contrary, it can be eliminated.

Haan said that, apart from 3D printing, technologies such as the use of drones for agricultural monitoring and of micro/nano bots for pollination will have a role to play in famine reduction.


Diageo Australia unveils high-tech warehouse in Sydney

Diageo Australia, maker of well-known liquor brands such as Johnnie Walker and Bundaberg Rum, has unveiled a 26,000 pallet capacity warehouse in Sydney’s western suburbs.

Diageo’s Global Head of Supply, David Cutter officially opened the Huntingwood-based warehouse following a 20-month project, which saw the company invest $21.5 million in the new facility.

The warehouse is located alongside Diageo Australia’s primary manufacturing site in Huntingwood.

According to Diageo Australia Supply Director, Joe Russo the investment in the warehouse will deliver considerable cost savings to Diageo and cements Diageo’s commitment to manufacturing in Australia in the long term.

Prior to building the new warehouse, Diageo stored most of its inventory at a third party facility. With the new warehouse now on its doorstep, Diageo Australia will reduce its carbon emissions by 110 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually – the equivalent of taking 35 standard passenger vehicles off the road every year.

This carbon reduction will contribute to Diageo’s 2020 target of reducing absolute greenhouse gas emissions from direct operations by 50%, plus 30% across its total supply chain.

Cutter said Diageo’s recently announced 2020 Sustainability and Responsibility targets reflect the need to better manage water stewardship and carbon emissions across Diageo’s total supply chain.

“This forward thinking, holistic approach to sustainability means that we will work even harder with suppliers globally to decouple the growth of our business from our impact on the environment,” Cutter said.

Work on the facility began in May 2014. State-of-the-art technology allowed it to be built with a smaller than average footprint of 5,000m2

Filipino food group acquires Menora Foods

Filipino food group Monde Nissin Corporation has acquired privately owned Australian business Menora Foods.

According to the Australian, the acquisition cost about $55 million, although neither party would confirm that figure.

Menora Foods was established in Melbourne in 1967. One of Australia’s largest privately owned food marketing and distribution businesses, it markets over 1500 food products and distributes brands such as Wattle Valley cheeses and dips, Peckish rice snacks, Cobram Estate olive oil, and Maille mustard.

“I am very pleased to welcome the Menora Foods team and its partners into the Monde Nissin family. Monde Nissin aspires to be a significant foods and beverages player in the Asia Pacific region, we see Australia as a very important market that we should have a strong presence in, and Menora Foods with its marketing and distribution capability provides us with a very good strategic fit in achieving our vision,’’ Henry Soesanto, executive vice president of Monde Nissin Corporation, said.

“The combination of Menora’s own brands, Wattle Valley and Peckish as well as its leading agency brands, combined with Monde Nissin’s category leading Black Swan and Nudie brands, provides a solid platform within the Australian and export markets to support growth and new opportunities.”

As the SMH reports, the acquisition follows Monde Nissin Corporation’s purchase of Nudie Juices earlier this year and its purchase of dip maker Black Swan last year.

NSW takes top spot for Coopers beer sales

New South Wales beer drinkers now drink more Coopers than their counterparts in South Australia, the home of the family-owned brewer.

The SMH reports that, for the first time ever, NSW recorded the top position for sales of Coopers across Australia.

For the financial year to date, NSW accounted for 26.3 per cent of total Coopers beer sales, while South Australia accounted for 24.8 per cent, and Victoria accounted for 18 per cent.

According to Coopers managing director Tim Cooper, the change can be attributed to the sheer size of NSW compared to South Australia, as well as growth in sales of keg beer in inner Sydney pubs.

"It's likely to stay that way forever now," he said.

The company brews all its beer on-site at its brewery in the Adelaide industrial suburb of Regency Park. It is contemplating whether to set up a distribution site on the east coast to serve that large market.

According to the Australian, Coopers posted a 9.1 per cent decrease in full-year profit to $28m for 2013-14. However, total beer sales in 2013-14 grew 8.1 per cent to 75.3 million litres, and turnover for 203-14 was a record $231m.

The brewer has about 150 shareholders who received a total of $13.75 million in dividends last year. This equates to about $92,000 each.

Image: The Adelaide Advertiser

Coca-Cola Amatil loses senior managers

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) has announced the departure of two senior executives, chief financial officer Nessa O'Sullivan and SPC managing director Peter Kelly.

O’Sullivan (pictured) will leave her role following completion of year end processes and the February EGM but will remain available to assist as required until end of May.

She has been with CCA for 10 years and was appointed Group CFO of CCA in 2010, following six years in various senior finance roles in CCA's Australian beverages business.

Kelly, Managing Director of SPC, will leave his role at the end of March 2015.

He has been with the Coca-Cola system for over 25 years, having worked with Coca-Cola South Pacific before joining CCA in 1993. During this time he has held various operational roles in many of our markets, including Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

CCA Chairman Mr David Gonski paid tribute to O'Sullivan and Kelly.

"The CCA Board has highly valued both Ms O’Sullivan and Mr Kelly for their professionalism, integrity and commitment to the success of the Company,” he said in a statement.

“On behalf of the Board, I thank them and wish them well for the future."

According to the AFR, the changes are part of a larger reshuffle within the company.

CCA recorded a bottom-line profit of $79.9 million in 2013, which was an 82.5 per cent decrease from the previous year. It is expected to cut 260 jobs this year as it attempts to reduce costs by $100 million over three years.

The company reported a net profit of $182.6 million in the first half of the 2014 calendar year.

Replacements for O'Sullivan and Kelly have not yet been announced.

CCA Group Managing Director Alison Watkins said, “CCA is always conscious of the importance of succession and with talent available both within CCA and externally, I am confident that we will announce successors for both roles in the near future.”


Nudie ups production due to chiller unit upgrade: Case Study

Nudie juice has kept production running whilst it updated its chiller unit by using a low temperature chiller rental.

The Situation

Under the advisement of Nudie's refrigeration partner, Nudie were informed that upgrades needed to be carried out on their chiller unit in order for them to be able to keep up with their usual summer demand.

“Our juice manufacturing equipment needs to be kept at sub zero temperatures,” said Tobias Dunn, Production Manager, Nudie Juice. “We do this through the use of a chiller system which utilises two separate circuits. We were unable to switch off one of the circuits to work on the other independently as with our constant demand and through put, the system simply wouldn’t keep up.”

“To keep production running whilst also carrying out the necessary upgrades so we could push through summer at full production we needed a supplementary chiller immediately. We rang our refrigeration partner, Amertec, who then rang Active Air Rentals.”

The Solution

The Active Air Rentals team installed a 220 kW low temperature chiller and 200 kVA generator.

“The site was really tight. We had to place the temporary chiller system parallel to the permanent system, which is right near the delivery bay, so there was no room for error,” said NSW State Manager, James Quintal.

“We installed the temporary chiller as a gravity fed system; pumping our chilled water into the top of their cooling tank with a flange system at the base to draw out the warm water and feed it back into our temporary chiller.”

The Results

The temporary system enabled Dunn and his team to upgrade the permanent chiller with no production down time and increased capacity moving into summer.


Liberal MP calls for GST on food

Liberal backbencher Dan Tehan has called for the GST to be broadened to include fresh food which is currently exempt from the tax.

Writing in the AFR, Tehan said that by broadening the indirect tax to include fresh food as well as other currently exempt goods and services like health and education the government could collect as much as $21.6 billion in extra revenue each year.

He said that governments have not broadened the GST because of ‘flawed arguments of unfairness or political cowardice’.

He pointed to New Zealand as an example Australia could follow.

“Since its introduction in 1986, New Zealand has raised its GST twice. It also recognised from the start that the only way to reap a full GST benefit is to have minimal exemptions,” Tehan wrote.

“Their GST covers 96 per cent of their consumption. Australia’s only covers 47 per cent and is shrinking, down from 53 per cent a decade ago.”

“As a result, the Kiwis now enjoy a company tax rate of 28 per cent and a top marginal income tax rate of 33 per cent.”

Both the Labor Party and the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) dismissed the call to broaden the GST.

"Be in no doubt: this is not members of parliament acting alone," acting opposition leader Tony Burke told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

"You look at what is being flagged today and there is no doubt this government is paving the way for changes to the GST."

Burke added that applying GST on food would hit people’s pockets "every time they go and buy food, every time they go to the grocery store, every time they reach out for the fundamentals and essentials of life".

According to the NFF, including fresh food in the GST would have a negative impact on the welfare of Australian farmers and Australian families.

“We want Australians to eat more fresh food, not less. Increasing the cost of food could mean consumers demand less fresh fruit, vegetables and protein, leading to a decrease in overall sales and poorer health outcomes,” said NFF CEO Simon Talbot in a statement.

“The reality is that the retailers aren’t going to forego profit. This means that farmers are likely to be forced to absorb the increase in costs. They are not able to pass on their costs.”

Tehan said attempting to protect the poor by GST exemptions is not good policy because everybody, not just the poor, benefit from the exemptions.

Victoria legislates against raw milk following death of child

The Victorian government last week introduced laws to prevent the consumption of unpasteurised milk, following the recent death of a child who drank the product.

The ABC reports that unpasteurised ‘raw’ milk, which is sold as a cosmetic product but is often also drunk, can now only be sold in the state if it contains a gag-inducing ingredient that makes it undrinkable.

Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs, Jane Garrett said that the government acted quickly following the death of a three-year-old child from Mornington Peninsula late last year.

The child in question consumed Mountain View Organic Bath Milk, while another four children aged one to four, from Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs and the Mornington Peninsula became seriously ill after drinking other brands of unpasteurised milk.

"We did need to act quickly because clearly, undrinkable milk was being sold in containers the same as drinkable milk, and clearly people have been drinking it," Garrett said.

"All of the advice says it is a dangerous activity and it is (already) unlawful to sell raw milk for consumption in Victoria."

According to the Daily Telegraph, NSW is likely to follow the lead of Victoria and legislate against the product.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said there needs to be national action to prevent the sale of raw milk in a form that can be consumed by humans.

Pasteurisation involves the heating of milk for a short period of time in order to destroy any disease-causing bacteria which may be present.

“There is no doubt raw milk is dangerous, even with the best hygiene pathogenic bacteria can find its way from cows into the milk and that is why we pasteurise, it’s just irresponsible to sell raw milk and pretend it’s safe, it is not,” Microbiologist Professor Michael Eyles, chair of the Food Safety Information Council, told the Daily Telegraph.

 Image: Cannings Freerange Butchers

NSW looks to drink container deposit scheme to cut littering

The NSW government is set to introduce a rebate of around 10 cents for returned drink containers in an effort to reduce litter in the state.

The SMH reports that Premier Mike Baird wrote to beverage manufacturers last week and invited them to join the government in its efforts to improve recycling rates.

The scheme is likely to involve the introduction of reverse vending machines which accept cans and bottles in exchange for a small refund. They would be capable of handling about 3000 items each and would be paced in public areas for the benefit of the public.

As the ABC reports, Environment Minister Rob Stokes said similar schemes have been successfully introduced in other jurisdictions.

"The beverage industry obviously has a responsibility in terms of the extent of producer liability for their products," Stokes said.

"But we recognise that Government has a strong leadership role to play," he said.

"What we are interested in doing is working together effectively to produce solutions to a shared problem, which is litter and waste in our environment."

Under the proposal, beverage companies would be able to increase prices by the amount of the deposit and would only have to pay it on returned containers.

Nevertheless, as the SMH reports, the industry opposes the idea on the grounds that it would result in job losses.

The industry proposed to spend $33.5 million on an alternative national 10 year plan which would include an advertising campaign and the introduction of more recycling bins, but no deposit.

However, the government favours container deposit scheme and is waiting to see a new proposal from the industry.

Stokes said he was not concerned by the possibility that the beverage industry could campaign against the government at the next election because of the anti-littering scheme.