Australian start-up, TBSx3, joins GS1 Alliance Partner Program

TBSx3, an Australian start-up committed to restoring trust to international trade using blockchain technology combined with the latest anti-counterfeit technologies have announced that they have joined GS1 Australia’s Alliance Partner Program.

GS1 is a not-for-profit organisation providing standards, services and emerging technologies to help solve omni channel challenges and improve inventory accuracy, visibility and traceability of supply chains across physical and digital channels in the retail sector.

The team at TBSx3 have developed a blockchain solution that protects brands and their supply chains and empowers their consumers with product origin information. The TBSx3 system provides three essential supply chain capabilities and digitises all related documents such as Certificates of Origin: provenance, traceability through the custodian chain and authentication.

Pieter Vandevelde, chief revenue officer at TBSx3 said, “Our entry into the GS1 Australia Alliance Partner Program as an Associate Alliance Partner signifies our commitment to enable brands to protect their supply chains through end-to-end visibility using GS1 standards in both sea freight and air freight.”

“The TBSx3 technology also helps brand owners and retailers reassure their consumers that their products are genuine and safe. We use any packaging tracking technology such as QR, intaglio labels or NFC to connect brands with their consumers.”

TBSx3’s technology is supported by a global blockchain consortium of freight forwarders, shippers, sea and airport operators. The platform is next-gen SCM technology and is designed from the ground-up to run on blockchain technology.

GS1 Australia’s Manager – Business Development and Partnerships, Sean Sloan said, “The entry of TBSx3 into the Alliance Partner Program is a great asset to the Alliance Partner community and a significant investment in leveraging GS1 standards to uniquely identify items and exchange data across organisations using a common language.

“We look forward to working in partnership with TBSx3 in the Australian marketplace to combat the trade of counterfeit goods including food, wine, dairy, meat and pharmaceuticals using GS1 standards.”

ISO standards and safety – can you afford to be without?

Managing the risks associated with the use of machinery and equipment in manufacturing forms part of critical legislation in Australia, New Zealand and around the world. Today, eliminating and reducing risk in terms of manufacturing safety is of utmost importance, with ISO13849-1 setting the standard.

Through the millions of life cycles that SMC’s products travel, protecting people and production by delivering on quality safety solutions is on the top of SMC’s priority list. From individually constructed machines to highly complex systems, SMC looks to flexibility and productivity coupled with trouble-free user and operating safety.

James Graham, SMC Australia|New Zealand Manager of Mechatronics and Control Systems explains that safety is its own unique language which requires extra care and expertise. “In the event of an emergency, most if not all applications will require for the release of all stored energy including compressed air. This must be released in the safest way possible and safety solutions must be considered to minimize risks,” he said

“Much like in everyday life, safety helps to establish trust. More and more, the industry demands safety and industry experts need to be able to walk you through the entire process – holistic safety engineering begins as early as the design phase.”

Safety forms part of the bigger picture in sustaining not only components but machines too. With advanced R&D at the forefront, SMC offers products and technical expertise throughout from supporting customers during risk assessment to helping find the appropriate safety product in relation to current safety regulations and providing all the necessary parameters.

Safety Solutions

To meet ISO13849-1 standards, SMC introduced its range of VP544/744-X555/585, Dual Residual Pressure Release Valves with Soft Start-up Function, designed to join its existing range.

“Adhering to international machine safety standards is a must for manufacturers and designers following the introduction of this ISO standard. The standard sets out safety requirements and guidance on the principles for the design and integration of safety-related parts of control systems, including the design of software,” explained Graham.

“The design of these valves features an integrated soft-start up function that gradually builds the pressure of the pneumatic system, delivering performance consistency and excellent safety.”

Boasting a reliable construction, the valves have two stations, so if one fails to operate, residual pressure is released by the remaining valve to maintain the safety function. Further features include a selectable throttle and fixed orifice that allows the pressure to be easily adjusted. In addition, they come with IP65 enclosure protection, a safety limit switches to ensure that the main valve position is automatically checked and the ability to connect to modular type FRL units, offering superb flexibility and versatility and allowing the valves to be used across a broad range of applications.

Safety valves are also integrated with the free SISTEMA software tool which helps to reduce risk by feeding information through rapidly so that operators can react quickly.

“The beauty of these valves is that while risk is reduced, high flow rates are still achieved. It’s great for high-risk application such as in automatic machines, pick and place and progressive start-ups such as those found in most industrial operations,” said Graham.


Why public health worries don’t have to ruin your cookie dough

The following three statements are all true: Eating cookie dough can be dangerous, even after we’ve dealt with any raw eggs. I am a public health faculty member and an expert in health risk communication. My family and I eat raw cookie dough regularly.

If it seems implausible that all three of those statements can be simultaneously true, let me explain.

To start, when most people think about health risks and cookie dough, they think about raw egg. Eggs can be contaminated with salmonella bacteria, and food safety recommendations encourage people to cook eggs until the white and yolk are firm in order to kill any bacteria.

Because of this concern, when my kids and I make cookie dough, we never use regular eggs. Instead, we use eggs that have been pasteurized to kill any harmful bacteria without actually cooking the egg itself. (A great public health innovation, if you ask me!) So, I wasn’t worried about the eggs in the cookie dough.

Now, there is another risk to consider in relation to raw cookie dough: the risk of the flour itself. Over the past two months, General Mills, Inc. first initiated and then expanded a voluntary recall of flour found to be contaminated with E. coli bacteria. While contamination of raw flour is rare, it can happen. Wheat grows in fields close to animals. When they “heed the call of nature,” as the FDA put it, wheat can become contaminated.
In this recent outbreak, 38 people have been sickened since December 2015 and some have been hospitalized because they ate the recalled flour raw, often in the form of cookie dough. One went into kidney failure.

An important safety message – or a half-baked idea?

Even a milk shake with dough gets the nix.


Such recall notices are extremely important. When we know that a product is contaminated, we can and should make absolutely sure to get rid of it. As soon as I read the recall notice, I checked whether my extra flour was recalled. It wasn’t. If it had been, or even if I hadn’t been sure, I would have thrown it out, no questions.

However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration later also published a notice for consumers warning the public about eating cookie dough. Specific statements included: “the bottom line for you and your kids is don’t eat raw dough,” “don’t give your kids raw dough or baking mixes that contain flour to play with” and “don’t make homemade cookie dough ice cream.”

Not surprisingly, this story got picked up by many news outlets. What was interesting about these stories, however, was not their content but their negative tone. For example, The New York Times stated “F.D.A. Ruins Raw Cookie Dough for Everybody.” Another example: InStyle’s article was titled, “Buzzkill Alert: Don’t Eat Raw Cookie Dough.“ The first line of the article reads, “Don’t shoot the messenger.”

Here’s the question: Is it appropriate for public health officials to imply that no one should eat cookie dough (something that I, and apparently many others, enjoy) because of this risk?

A right to choose?

I’m the last person to say that communications about public health risks are unimportant. Public health officials have a duty to warn people about the health risks associated with raw egg and even raw flour. When we have evidence that specific people are at risk, public health officials need to actively promote the actions that those people can take to minimize the identified risk. Doing so supports both public health objectives and individual decision-making.

By contrast, when a public health agency unequivocally states “don’t eat raw dough” (regardless of whether flour or other ingredients were affected by a recall or not), it is implying (falsely) that no one could rationally disagree.

Well, I’m a public health faculty member, and I disagree.

I know that some public health officials will be horrified by my statement. They will believe that I am undermining their message and giving people permission to put themselves at risk unnecessarily.

But the key word of the previous sentence is “unnecessarily.” Whether something is necessary or not is not a scientific judgment. It is a value judgment. An FDA official may personally believe that eating raw cookie dough isn’t important and choose to never eat it. That is their choice. At the same time, I can believe that eating cookie dough (made from flour known to be not part of the recall and pasteurized eggs) is something that I enjoy enough that I’m willing to put myself and my children at (a very small) risk to do.

Of life and risk

A rare burger comes with risk on the side.


As public health experts, we don’t want people to treat food recalls like math problems and estimate their likelihood of getting sick. If you have affected food, you need to act. Period.

But if I know that my flour is not recalled, then there is no specific reason to believe that the flour is not OK to eat raw. The only risk is the very small, baseline risk – for example, that the flour has been contaminated by a different and as-of-yet unknown source.

We can’t pretend that we live our lives without risk. I put myself and my children at risk every time we get into our car. Every time we eat sushi or rare hamburgers. Every time one of us takes medications. Every time we ride a bike or play soccer.

Yet, many of us choose to do those things anyway, while minimizing risk when we can (for example, by wearing seat belts and bike helmets). We choose life and risk over safety and a life a little less enjoyable. It is not irrational to treat cookie dough the same way.

So, to my fellow public health practitioners: Let’s keep working on informing the public about health risks that they may not anticipate or appreciate. Motivating people to take immediate action about specific food recalls. Encouraging people to minimize risks.

At the same time, let’s all please remind ourselves that our goal is not to minimize all risk, no matter the cost. Our goal is to maximize life. Sometimes maximizing life means warning people that their flour is contaminated and making sure they throw it out. Sometimes maximizing life means letting them enjoy some (carefully prepared) cookie dough without shame.

The Conversation

Brian Zikmund-Fisher, Associate Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education, Interim Co-Director of the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, University of Michigan

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


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Most imported ‘extra virgin’ olive oil not up to standard: research

Most imported olive oil being sold as ‘extra virgin’ does not meet international or local quality standards, according to research commissioned by the Australian Olive Association (AOA).

The SMH reports that tests conducted at IOC and National Association of Testing Authorities accredited labs looked at 27 imported products available from Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and Foodland stores.

However, 78 per cent of the olive oils tested failed to meet the International Olive Council (IOC) Standard as ‘extra virgin’ olive oils.

“It’s like buying a Rolls Royce and finding a V-dub engine in it; people would be horrified,” Lisa Rowntree, chief executive officer of the AOA told the SMH.

“If we had the Australian Standard mandated, many of the oils sitting in supermarkets as ‘extra virgin’ would suddenly have labels saying ‘refined’, ‘pomous’, or ‘virgin’, which all have a place but need to be appropriately priced.”

However, the findings were rejected by the similarly named Australian Olive Oil Association (AOOA) which represents importers.

“There are no recent test results from AOOA’s annual quality testing program that suggests that Australians are routinely sold inferior, adulterated or deliberately misrepresentative oils masquerading as extra virgin,” Renee Reilly, AOOA general manager said.

The AOOA sees no need Australian Standard to be made law and claims the IOC are enough to ensure standards are maintained.

New analytical methods for micronutrient testing of infant formula

New International Standards have been introduced by the ISO to improve methods of testing vitamins and micronutrients in infant formula.

The nutritional quality of infant formula is often based in international standards and regulations, as it provides essential nutrients for the adequate and development of babies and young children.

Test methods are constantly evolving in an international effort to verify the delivery of nutrients, yet there is a lack of a streamlined approach in which parties can produce similar results around the globe.

A new Stakeholder Panel on Infant Formula and Adult Nutritionals (SPIFAN) project, in which ISO standards are globally integrated and published to help manufacturers of infant formula and official control laboratories check compliance with regulations.

According to ISO Communication Officer Sandrine Tranchard, the new ISO International Standards will be proposed to reference methods that enable them to be utilized for the purposes of dispute resolution internationally.

“This will result in more accurate determination of the nutritional quality of infant formula as well as fewer trade disputes caused by differences in analytical results. In addition, these methods will provide internationally validated anchor points to calibrate routine methods for manufacturing purposes,” Tranchard said.

Approximately 10 to 15 projects are currently underway to provide global stakeholders with up-to-date harmonized methods on other relevant nutrients in infant formula and adult nutritionals.

The Australian Federal Government is currently reviewing legislation to ensure that mums have access to infant formula for children under the age of one, as the popularity of formula feeding in China has meant that health and quality problems become more commonplace as the middle class has continued to rise.