Australia and US to reap rewards from food safety agreement

Australian food manufacturers have been handed more freedom to export produce to the United States. Steven Impey considers the benefits this offers the sector.

Australia has entered into a bilateral Food Safety Recognition Agreement with the United States, which it is hoped will strengthen exports for food manufacturers between the two countries.

Similar agreements have already strengthened Australian food exports with Canada and New Zealand, which – just as the Turnbull Government hopes to achieve in trade relations with the US – moves to recognise comparable food safety regulations.

Australian food exports to the US exceed $3.7 billion annually, according the latest figures from IBIS World Australia – with meats and meat preparations contributing more than $3.4 billion each year.

The agreement, which was announced by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) in April, aims to improve competitiveness for Australian food product manufacturers in the US market by reducing the number of in-country audits and placing compliance on the shoulders of the exporting country.

As it currently stands, regular onsite visits and a certain rate of import inspection is required, while further testing on the products’ arrival in the US does come at a cost.

As a result of the new agreement, Australia will apply less stringent inspection and testing of products imported into Australia from the US.

“The upshot is that this will greatly simplify Australian exports to the US through greater reliance on our national food control systems that ensure the production of safe food,” said Greg Read, head of exports from the DAWR.

“This is good for our businesses, as it positions Australia as a safe source of food supply for the US market that will place our exporters in a position of benefit compared with other exporting countries that have this agreement.

“These preferential processes will encourage trade between our two nations that can only be good news for our farmers and growing their profits.”

Not all foods are included in the agreement. However, most canned foods, seafood, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables, fruit juices, confectionary, baked goods and pet foods are included.

Nathan Cloutman, IBIS World’s senior industry analyst, explained which areas of Australia’s food production sector is likely to benefit most.

“As one of only three trading partners with this agreement, domestic exporters have now improved the perception of quality of Australian foods in the US market,” he said.

“The agreement is likely to boost food product exports to the US, which is particularly good news for exporters of fruit and nuts (such as oranges and almonds), vegetables (such as mushrooms), sauces, dairy products, chocolate and confectionery.

“Australia has benefited from its strong food safety processes that ensure that domestic food products are safe to eat and of a high quality.”

Domestic food producers operate under a strong regulatory environment that ensures that food is of a high quality.

For example, the Food Standards Code developed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand places strong labelling requirements on manufacturers.

In addition, all food manufacturers are required to take reasonable steps to establish whether their raw ingredients contain any genetically modified food.

APPMA set to Viva Las Vegas

The Australian Packaging & Processing Machinery Association (APPMA) is will be participating in the Partner Program at PACK EXPO Las Vegas, which will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Centre on the 28th to the 30th of September 2015.

According to Mr Mark Dingley, Chairman of the Australian Packaging and Processing Machinery Association (APPMA), “this is the third consecutive year that the Association has been an exhibitor at PACK EXPO due to the continued high levels of interest in the Australian market attained each year from attending the event.” 

“Exhibiting at PACK EXPO each year allows the APPMA to raise the global profile of our association and our member companies. Our member companies represent a very large range of leading international brands in the packaging and processing machinery and allied components industries and we welcome companies who are looking for agency or distribution opportunities in Australia to come and visit us on stand 1343 in the Association Pavilion.” Mr Dingley said. 

US acquisition expected to benefit Visy’s Australian sales

Yesterday Visy executive chairman Anthony Pratt finalised
the purchase of California-based Robert Mann Packaging.

The Australian Financial Review reports that the
acquisition of RMP is expected to boost Visy’s
Australian operations.

RMP will source about 80,000 tonnes of paper annually
from Visy’s mills in Tumut, NSW.

“It adds another major export customer for our
Tumut operations and gives us a true national presence in the US by
opening up California, the only region Pratt USA didn’t have an
operation,” Pratt told The AFR.

Visy, a cardboard maker and recycler, is Australia’s
biggest private company, with revenues of around $4.4 billion annually.

RMP was acquired for $75 million, has revenues of
around $210 million, and has around 15 locations in the western United States
and Mexico. It was established in 1971 and makes corrugated cardboard boxes and


US company makes beer from “outer space” ingredient [VIDEO]

Ninkasi Brewing Company of Oregon, USA, has brewed a
stout beer using yeast that has been to outer space and back.

CNN Money reports that Ninkasi spent nearly $US 80,000
on the project.

It was able to send a payload 77.3 miles (about 124.4
km) above the earth, with the yeast surviving the trip enabled by UP Aerospace.

This was the second attempt by Ninkasi, with the first
seeing the yeast perish in high temperatures after a rocket was lost for 27
days in the Nevada desert.

A limited supply of Ground Control beer will be sold,
retailing for just under $US 20 a bottle.

Click here to see a video about the project.


CES attendees get a taste of printed chocolate technology

3D Systems has previewed its CocoJet machine for 3D printing chocolate at this week’s CES show in Las Vegas.

The CocoJet, developed in collaboration with the Hershey Company, prints in dark, milk and white chocolate.

“Our partnership with Hershey, the largest producer of quality chocolate in North America and a global leader in chocolate and confections, allows us to create unique, exciting and personalized edible experiences,” said Chuck Hull, co-founder of 3DS.

“Our preview of CocoJet at CES showcases the power – and possibilities – of 3D printing, and it extends our experience and innovation in culinary 3D printing.”

The additive manufacturing company, which entered "culinary 3D printing" when it acquired The Sugar Lab in 2013, announced a partnership with Hershey early last year.

It describes the machine it presented at last year’s CES, the ChefJet Pro series of printers, as “the most advanced 3D chocolate printer in operation.” The ChefJet Pro is expected to be available in the year’s second half, according to