Consumer policy news and updates from CFA members, regulators, policy makers, researchers and others.
Have your say about the My Health Record system – submissions invited on the Parliamentary inquiry into the expected benefits of the system and other issues.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has approved new rules that prohibit gambling advertising during live sport that is streamed online between 5.00 am and 8.30 pm.
Grieving families are increasingly being taken advantage of when planning a funeral, with the number of complaints to NSW Fair Trading jumping to record levels.
The Federal Government is letting the worst and most harmful financial products in the community run wild, according to consumer advocates.
Consumers are set to save big on time and money, and have disputes with businesses resolved quicker, thanks to new Fair Trading powers.
The ACCC has released comprehensive state-by-state data detailing recall rates for deadly Takata airbags, and the first data detailing progress made by various vehicle manufacturers in removing them from Australian cars.
Formal education provides a solid foundation for professional practice but alone does not give staff the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to provide services competently, according to an inquiry undertaken by the Insurance Brokers Code Compliance Committee.
Mobile phone and electronics retailers have been given a big thumbs down from consumers, claiming the top four spots on the latest NSW Fair Trading Complaints Register.
Peak communications consumer group, ACCAN, has released a report, called Can You Hear Me?, on the customer service provided by 10 telco providers.
Submissions by consumer advocates on a recent Discussion Paper on the scope of Australia’s measurement laws, want the current review, and future laws, to be more driven by the needs of consumers and society in general.
Earlier this year SACOSS prepared a Fact Sheet summarising South Australian data from the ABS survey Household Use of Internet Technology, 2016-17showingthat 15% of South Australians don't use the internet, and 17.5% of SA households don't access the internet at home. These, and all other indicators in the data, show South Australia lagging behind other states.
Download the Fact Sheet: Internet Use in SA
Latest in a regular series of reports on food matters of interest to consumers, compiled by Consumers SA Executive member Elaine Attwood.
Nothing fishy here: salmon skin crisps are protein – packed alternative to potato chips.
High in protein and omega-3 fats, start up SeaChips uses dried salmon skins, which usually go to waste, to create a healthy and sustainable alternative to potato crisps. The co-founder of the UK start-up, Daniel Pawson, said he got the idea for the product when he and fellow co-founder were working in restaurants. “We saw the amount of waste being thrown away and so instead of throwing the skin away, we decided to dehydrated and bake it, using it as a garnish for dishes. Customers would love it so much they asked us if we could pack it up for them so they could take it home.” In keeping with his aim to do business sustainability, SeaChips also donates 10% of its profits to charities and projects, such as Ocean CleanUp, that are actively cleaning up the sea as well as organising its own beach cleanups with the public. Pawson describes the chips as very thin, light and slightly curved with a similar texture to prawn crackers. The skins are washed and boiled before cooking which removes any “overly fishy” taste, and are available in three flavours: lightly salted; salt and vinegar and lime and vinegar. The chips contain more than one third protein and half fat.
Author: Niam Michail, 30 August 2018: William Reed Business Media Ltd
UK sets out plans to ban sales of energy drinks to children.
The UK government is proposing a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children: following on from moves made by major supermarkets to ban sales to under 16s in their stores.
Launched today, a government consultation outlines a ban that would apply to drinks with more than 150 mg of caffeine per litre, and prevent all retailers from selling the drinks to children. It is now seeking views on whether sales of energy drinks to children should be stopped. While a number of major retailers have already banned the sale of energy drinks to children, it is not a legal requirement and children can still easily buy energy drinks from convenience stores, other retailers and vending machines. More than two thirds of 10 to 17-year-olds and a quarter of 6 -9 year-olds consume energy drinks in the UK, according to the government.
Energy drinks are functional beverages with a stimulating effect and unique combinations of characterising ingredients including caffeine, taurine, vitamin D and other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect. They have long come under fire for high levels of caffeine and sugar, particularly given that they often appeal to children and adolescents (the Canadian Paediatric Society has slammed the beverages as “unnecessary at best and dangerous at worst”.) A 250 ml can of energy drink can contain around 80 mg of caffeine (320 mg/L) – the equivalent of nearly 3 cans of cola.
Author: Rachael Arthur, 30-August 2018: William Reed Business MediaLtd.
"Traditional path to purchase is completely disrupted”: how tech is revolutionising food consumption.
Consumers are feeling more pressured than ever before and new technologies are emerging to answer this pain, disrupting what people eat and how they shop. Rising Internet penetration, denser urban environments, workplace stress and fast paced lifestyles are all taking their toll on consumers. According to the World Health Organisation, workplace stress is a “health epidemic of the 21st century”,with growing global anxiety–related illnesses on the rise.
“As consumers’ lifestyles change, and the demands on their time increase, they will look for more convenient ways to do their shopping and more convenient options to help them when it comes to meal preparation,” Trump Nielsen, a WHO Client Business partner, observed. This requires products, retail formats and store experiences that are “tailored to the shoppers’ needs with flexible and innovative ranges, food products that are easy to prepare, and technology that makes the checkout and payment process simpler and quicker.” ‘Technology is a big influence on how and where we shop. The traditional path to purchase has been completely disrupted – not just by social media, mobile devices, et cetera – but entirely new elements that influence what we buy and how we shop.” Trump points to the increased influence of personalised technology that combines data on health and nutrition to provide dietary recommendations. “Today there are personal health devices that not only track fitness and health levels but recommend nutrition options to maximise their goals.” The destructive potential of this type of technology is huge.
Author: Katie Askew 29-August 2018: William Reed Business Media Ltd.
Australia hopes Korban goat ban will lead to better animal welfare outcomes.
It is hoped that Australian exporters’ decision this year to suspend shipments of live sheep and goats to Malaysia until the end of the Korban religious festival will pressure its market into improving animal welfare standards.
Korban, also known as Eid Al Adha, is an annual Muslim event that sees cows, goats and sheep ritually slaughtered by families and mosques across the Muslim world. The practice is widespread in Malaysia, where families and communities may buy an animal and slaughter it in their backyards.
in July, the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources issued an advisory to suspend exports of the animals for the six weeks up to the end of Korban on August 25. It cites reports from Korban in Malaysia in 2017 demonstrating “poor animal welfare outcomes and loss of control and traceability of Australian livestock exported to Malaysia”. Australia is unique in that the regulations governing livestock exports, under its Export Supply Change Assurance System, continue beyond the point the animals land overseas. As a result, suppliers from the country are responsible for animal welfare up to the point of slaughter. According to Simon Westaway, CEO of the Australian Livestock Exporters’s Council, Indonesian importers have worked very hard around supply change management and control of livestock. “In some other markets the pace of change has been slower. But nonetheless the countries that want to receive Australian livestock need to work under the arrangements that are imposed”.
Author: Pearly Neo, 29August 2018: William Reed Business Media Ltd.
Sucralose needs a safety re–evaluation following metabolic discovery, says scientists.
Sucralose is broken down into metabolites that collect in fatty tissue with unknown consequences on health, and regulators should re-evaluate its safety, a recent study suggests. When the artificial sweetener, sucralose, sold under the brand name Splenda, was approved for the market, food safety scientists and regulators reported that it passed safely through the body unchanged. However, a recent study by researchers from North Carolina State University and analytical testing lab Avazyme suggests that – at least in the case of 10 rats used in the study – this is not the case. “Our new study shows that sucralose is also creating metabolites whose potential health effects we know little or nothing about, said study co-author and professor at NCS University, Susan Schiffman. “As a result, we feel that it may be time to revisit the safety and regulatory status of sucralose.” The team used the same experimental model used by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine acceptable daily intakes, but according to Schiffman, techniques that were ‘state of the art’ and ‘more suited to extracting and preserving fat-soluble metabolites’, than those used by regulators.
‘The findings of this study do not support the claims previously submitted to regulatory agencies that sucralose is a stable compound that (1) is not metabolised in vivo, (2) excreted unchanged in the faeces, and (3) clears the body within a few days,’the scientists wrote.
However a spokesperson for the International Sweeteners Association (ISA) told FoodNavigator the study provided no evidence that sucralose poses any safety concern.
Source: Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health ‘Intestinal metabolism and Bioaccumulation of Sucralose in Adipose Tissue in the rat.’
Authors: Volker Bornemann, Stephen C. Werness, Lauren Buslinger, Susan S. Schiffman.
Available on line 21st August, 2018 doi.org/10.1080/15287394.2018.1502560
Author: Niamh Michail, 28 August 2018: William Reed Business Media Ltd.
Millions risking nutritional deficiencies as CO2 levels rise.
Increased carbon dioxide levels are contributing to nutritionally inferior crops such as rice and wheat that may lead to increased populations who are deficient in protein and zinc, say researchers. The Harvard–based academics estimated that 175 million people could become zinc deficient and 122 million people become protein deficient by 2015, with over 1 billion women and children missing out on a healthy dietary iron intake. Carbon dioxide emissions arising from human activity threaten human nutrition via the destruction of the global climate system with all the associated impacts on food production. More directly, increased CO2 in the atmosphere can alter the nutrient profile of staple food crops.
Experimental trials in which crops are grown in open field conditions under both ambient and elevated CO2 revealed that food crops had 3 to 17% lower concentrations of protein, iron and zinc when grown under elevated CO2 levels of around 550 ppm.
In general, humans worldwide derive the majority of these nutrients from plants: 63% of dietary protein comes from vegetal sources, as well as 81% of iron and 68% of zinc. “This is particularly concerning is over 2 billion people are currently estimated to be deficient in one or more nutrients.”
“One thing this research illustrates is a core principle of the emerging field of planetary health,” said Myers, who directs the Planetary Health Alliance, co-housed at Harvard Chan School and Harvard University Centre for the Environment. “We cannot disrupt most of the biophysical conditions to which we have adapted over millions of years without unanticipated impacts on our own health and well-being.”
Source: Nature Climate Change
Published online ahead of print DOI: 10.1038/s41558-018-0253-3
‘Impact of anthropogenic CO2 emissions on global human nutrition.’
Authors: Mathew Smith and Samuel Myers.
Author: Will Chu, 3 September 2018: William Reed Business Media Ltd.
Note: For the full text of all Food Bites articles pleases check the references.
On 15 February 2018, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) released a paper designed to review and consider how the Food Standards Code (the Code) applies to a number of new breeding techniques (NBTs). Specifically, bearing in mind the Code definitions of ‘food produced using gene technology’ and ‘gene technology’, the paper asked:
- whether the current definitions remain fit-for-purpose given the emergence of newer
genetic modification (GM) techniques
- whether subjecting NBT-derived foods to pre-market safety assessment and approval
is justified in terms of risk.
The review did not consider labelling issues, although it is known that some in the community would welcome an end to the labelling of foods that have been derived using genetic modification.
Once the review is complete FSANZ will decide whether to prepare a proposal to amend the Code. Any subsequent proposal to amend the Code will be a separate process involving additional public consultation.
The NBTs being considered were set out in the paper according to the type of outcomes they produce in the genome of the organism from which the food for sale would be obtained.
1. The genome contains new DNA
2. The genome is unchanged by gene technology (designated as null segregants)
3. The genome changed but no new DNA (known as genome editing)
Elaine Attwood, on behalf of Consumers SA, put in a submission providing our views on the six questions posed in the paper. Some of the concerns expressed by Elaine were acknowledged in the Review’s Preliminary Report. For example on the questions posed concerning risk and safety, our submission said:
‘NBTs are still not fully understood and/or their consequences fully known. Therefore it is essential that any application to use NBTs in the production of food for humans and animals should be considered on a case-by-case basis, as is the present situation.’
Similarly, on the issue of the genome containing new DNA, CSA’s comments were:
‘Whenever and wherever a new piece of DNA is inserted unto the genome, pre-market safety assessment and approval for any food for sale from it should be required. There should be no exceptions.’
A selection of views from other submitters are also mentioned in the Preliminary Report.
Although labelling of GM food was not to be addressed in the paper, many submitters raised it as a concern. The following comment is an example from one person with regard to labelling:
‘It is essential that all forms of genetic modification including CRISPR and ZFN are subject to regulatory control and are thoroughly tested for safety and unwanted effects before being approved for use. In the case of GM food material including ingredients, labelling of the GM content should be mandatory, to give consumers the choice of purchasing or not. There are various justifiable reasons for people to avoid GM food: many are unconvinced of their safety and lack of long-term effects, others find GM techniques abhorrent in principle.’
The consultation paper: Food derived using new breeding techniques, is available from the FSANZ website at:
The Preliminary Report is available from the FSANZ website at:
Elaine anticipates that a final report, including recommendations informed by the consultation process, will be released in early 2019.
Powdered eyeliner/kohl in a small bottle with cardboard backing.
Product is applied around the eyes using a small wand.
What are the defects?
The product contains a high concentration of lead.
What are the hazards?
Exposure to lead can result in acute (short term) and chronic (long term) poisoning. Adults and children can be affected, but the symptoms are most severe in children and babies of women exposed while they were pregnant. Poisoning can occur after a single exposure.
Symptoms of acute lead poisoning include muscle pain, fatigue, abdominal pain, headache, nausea/vomiting, seizures and coma.
Symptoms of chronic lead poisoning include irritability, lack of energy, loss of appetite, learning disabilities, behavioural problems, poor coordination and impaired growth.
What should consumers do?
Consumers should stop using this product immediately and seek medical advice, especially if they experience any of the above symptoms.
If you have used the product, wash with running water any area of your body that has been exposed to the product e.g. eyes, skin or hair.
Return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund.
An urgent press release from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC): warns that: “Scammers are increasingly catching out people by impersonating well-known businesses or the police so they can get access to computers and steal money or banking information.” It continues:
"The ACCC’s Scamwatch website has recorded a significant spike in these types of scams, known as remote access scams, with more than 8000 reports recorded in 2018 so far and losses totalling $4.4 million.
“The spike in remote access scams is very concerning; losses so far in 2018 have already surpassed those for the whole of 2017, and sadly it is older Australians that are losing the most money,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
Scammers will impersonate a well-known company, most commonly Telstra, NBN or Microsoft, or even the police, and spin you a very credible and believable story about why they need to access your computer using software such as TeamViewer.
“The scammers are becoming more sophisticated. The old trick scammers used to use was to call people and say there was a virus on their computer that needed fixing but, in a new twist, scammers are now telling people they need their help to catch hackers,” Ms Rickard said.
The scammers claim they are tracking the ‘scammers’ or ‘hackers’, and tell the consumer that their computer has been compromised and is being used to send scam messages. This is where they say with the victim’s help, they can use the victim’s computer and online banking to trap the (fake) ‘scammer’.
The scammer will then pretend to deposit money into their victim’s account. In reality the scammer just shuffles money between the victim’s accounts (for example, from a person’s credit card account to a savings account), which gives the illusion of money being deposited. The money is then sent out of the victim’s account as part of the con to ‘catch a scammer’, straight to the scammer’s own bank accounts.
“Unfortunately there are many stories from people who give a scammer access to their computer and are then conned into giving access to online banking. Some are also tricked into providing iTunes gift card numbers over the phone to these scammers,” Ms Rickard said.
Once the scammer has a victim on the hook, if they start to doubt the situation, the scammer will become threatening, stating that the victim would jeopardise the investigation if they refuse to help and may even face legal consequences.
These types of scam can be very scary, as scammers can become threatening and aggressive if they sense they are ‘losing’ the victim, or starting to cotton on. This is particularly frightening for older people who may not be as tech savvy.
“It’s vital that people remember they should never, ever, give an unsolicited caller access to your computer, and under no circumstances offer your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone,” Ms Rickard.
“If you receive a phone call out of the blue about your computer and remote access is requested, it’s a scam 100 per cent of the time. Just hang up.”"
Latest in an occasional series of reports on food matters of interest to consumers, compiled by Consumers SA Executive member Elaine Attwood.
Low and high carbohydrate diets cut life expectancy, study finds.
People who follow an extreme low-carb diet that replaces carbohydrates with animal protein and fat could shorten the life expectancy by four years, new research published in The Lancet suggests. The observational study looked at the eating habits of 15,400 US consumers who provided information on their dietary habits as part of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study between 1987 and 1989.
The median follow-up was 25 years and during this time 6,283 participants died. The study found that diets both low and high carbohydrates were linked with an increased risk of mortality. Low-carb diets were identified as carbs contributing less than 40% of the individual’s energy intake, while high carb diets were those where carbohydrates accounted for more than 70% of energy consumption. Moderate consumption of carbohydrates, at 50 – 55% of daily energy intake, was found to be associated with a lower risk of mortality.
“These findings bring together several strands that have been controversial. Too much and too little carbohydrate can be harmful but what counts most is the type of fat, protein and carbohydrate,” said Walter Willet, Prof. of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and co-author of the study.
Source: The Lancet Public Health
Published online ahead of print: DOI: 10.1016/S2468-2667(18)30135-X
‘Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta analysis’
Authors: Sara B Seidelmann, Brian Claggett, Susan Cheng, Mir Henglin, Amil Shah, Lyn M Steffen, Aaron R Folsom, Eric B Rimm, Walter C Willett, Scott D Solomon.
Author: Katy Askew: 20 August 2018: William Reed Business Media Ltd.
Anthocyanins may have anti-– obesity affects through anti – inflammatory activity: mouse study.
Anthocyanins found in blackberries and blueberries can help to inhibit weight gain and reduce body fat through antioxidant, anti – inflammatory mechanisms, say researchers in China.
Previous research has reported that diets rich in anthocyanin can prevent metabolic diseases. Researchers at the Tianjin University of Science and Technology and Beijing’s Technology and Business University sought to determine the molecular mechanism behind the anti-–obesity effects of blackberry and blueberry anthocyanin intake in mice on a high-fat diet.
After 12 weeks, the researchers observed the consumption of blackberry and blueberry anthocyanins had inhibited weight gain in the supplemented mice by respective 40.5% and 55.4%. The anthocyanin had also significantly lowered serum and hepatic lipid levels, and raised hepatic superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activities, both of which have important antioxidant actions.
In the current study the researchers noticed that consuming blackberry and blueberry anthocyanins did not alter the mice’s daily food intake but significantly lowered the weight of adipose tissue and retroperitoneal fat.
Author: Cheryl Tay: 20 August 2018: William Reed Business Media Ltd.
Suntory states it has taken a big step towards a 100% bio-based plastic bottle.
Beverage giant Suntory says it has taken another big step towards achieving a 100% bio-based plastic bottle for its drink products. This comes after the firm’s technology partner, Anellotech, stated that it had successfully produced a collection of renewable chemicals identical to fossil-based counterparts. The use of Bio-Thermal Catalytic (Bio-TCat) technology converts biomass feed stocks such as wood, sawdust and sugar cane bagasse and other non-food materials into BTX aromatics - benzene, toluene and xylene - which can be purified.
The two companies constructed the development and testing plant, which is currently being used, in Texas, USA in early 2016. In addition Suntory added that its 2R+B (Reduce/Recycle +Bio) approach also sought to reduce the use of resin in PET bottles while increasing the use of recycled materials. Reduction does not pertain only to the number of plastic bottles produced but also a ‘weight reduction’ programme that seeks to cut the amount of material used in bottles and caps.
Author: Lester Wan: 13 August 2018: William Reed Business Media Ltd.
‘The weak link is Enforcement’: Study finds inflated health statements ‘rarely clamped down on’
Nutrition and Health claims regulation is not adequately enforced, a new UK study concludes.
Researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University found that trading standards and environmental health officers are ‘Acting more like advisors than prosecutors’ when it comes to enforcing the existing regulations governing health and nutrition claims. The study, published in PLOS ONE, looked at the role of regulation enforcers. It focused on claims like ‘high in fibre’ or ‘heart healthy’. Many of the officers interviewed in the study reported being subjected to increasing demands and additional pressures. This meant enforcing health claims was found to be low on the priority list of environmental health officers, whose responsibilities included consumer law for dangerous toys, fake alcohol, under age sales of tobacco and food hygiene. There has been a proliferation of health claims in the food industry – but very few examples of companies being prosecuted for breaching the rules. The failure of enforcement officials to prosecute food companies that make inflated health statements raises the food fraud concern of consumers, the researchers suggested.
Dr. Patel, lead researcher, senior lecturer in food regulation law at Manchester Metropolitan, said, “Of course, false claims don’t pose the same immediate risks such as death or illness from food borne illness but multiple low-level infractions present their own, often long-term and latent detriment to consumers. While the regulation provides strong protection with the requirement of scientific evidence for the claim, the weak link is enforcement. Such claims are low priority and local regulatory services have borne the brunt of austerity, so it’s not entirely surprising.”
Source: PLOS ONE: ‘A qualitative analysis of the enforcement of the regulation of nutrition and health claims made for food and its implication for health’.
Published online ahead of print: http//:journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0201178
Authors: Ajay Patel, Sumaiya Patel, Rebecca Gregg, Laura O’Connor
Author: Katy Askew: 16 August 2018: William Reed Business Media Pty. Ltd
Elaine’s Note: It would be interesting to know if a similar situation exists in Australia since Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is not responsible for enforcing food standards.
Note: For full content of the articles please check the references.
Recalls: Modere mineral liquid foundation
Mineral Liquid Foundation - natural
Item Code: 13600AU
Lot Numbers: 0903, 07272 and 0746
Mineral Liquid Foundation - nougat
Item Code: 13601AU
Lot Numbers: 0644 and 0716
Mineral Liquid Foundation - sand
Item Code: 13602AU
Lot Numbers: 0642 and 0725
Mineral Liquid Foundation - vanilla
Item Code: 13603AU
Lot Numbers: 0638 and 0731
What are the defects?
These products have an unacceptable level of bacterial contamination.
What are the hazards?
Bacterial contamination can cause infection and may cause vomiting in some users.
What should consumers do?
Consumers should cease using the product. Report adverse reaction (if any) using the attached Reaction and Customer Advice Form, attached below.
Return all affected products to Modere, along with the completed response form using the prepaid address provided. On receipt of the return, Modere will provide a full refund.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), faulty products continue to cause serious injury and harm to thousands of Australians, with more than 4.5 million items recalled by suppliers in the 2017-18 financial year.
New figures show at least 10 people a day are injured and require medical attention as a result of unsafe products, according to mandatory reports provided to the ACCC by manufacturers and retailers.
“Ten injuries a day due to defective products is alarming, but we suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg as many more consumers don’t report injuries to the product suppliers at all,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“Australians would be surprised to hear that it is not illegal to supply unsafe products in Australia, as it is in a range of places like the United Kingdom, European Union, Canada, Malaysia and Brazil. We think consumers should be able to expect the products they purchase aren’t going to cause them an injury.”
“The number of Australians being injured by unsafe products is far too high, and we encourage people to sign up to recalls information or follow us on social media so they can be alerted to any potential risks in their homes,” Ms Rickard said.
Latest in an occasional series of reports on food matters of interest to consumers, compiled by Consumers SA Executive member Elaine Attwood.
Boosting allergen information: FSANZ launches new portal with industry backing.
Food standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has launched a new look Food Allergen Portal, following collaboration between the food industry and consumer and government stakeholders. The Allergen Collaboration, first formed in 2011, seeks to use the portal to provide different sectors in the community with links to best practice food allergen resources and key messages to promote knowledge and safety.
“Food allergies can be a matter of life and death, so it is vital that each sector can easily find the best available information to help those living with food allergies. All sectors of the community need to be aware of their responsibilities and how they can help people who have a food allergy,” said Mark Booth, CEO of FSANZ. Each sector’s page has his own allergy information, key messages or best practices and links to more resources. The Food Allergen Portal also reminds food manufacturers, retailers and importers to ensure the proper labelling of imports and to provide clear, up-to-date and accurate information about the allergen status of their product.
Author: Lester Wan 07-Aug-2018: 201 - William Reed Business Media Ltd.
Australia/NZ regulator seeks to overhaul charging structure for amendments to food standards code
Food companies seeking to secure amendments to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand’s Code of Standards could face a revised set of costs, under plans put forward for consultation. Acting FSANZ CEO Peter May, said the new Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS) reflected the administrative costs associated with certain applications to amend the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
“In the past, FSANZ has developed and implemented a cost recovery model that was based on a blended hourly rate applicable to the entire agency rather than an hourly rate for each staff level. In this CRIS, in response to industry submissions, we propose a new model that provides a fixed rate for those elements of the work schedule that are generic for all procedures and a variable rate for the variable elements,”said the regulator.
Decisions by the FSANZ board to approve variations in the code are subject to consideration by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation whose members are ministers from the Australian State, Territory and New Zealand governments. Less than 2% of FSANZ’s total revenue is generated through cost recovery and only a small number of applications to amend the code incur costs.
Author: Lester Wan - 09-Jul-2018: 2018 - William Reed Business Media Ltd
Packaged foods in Australia: ultra – processed products making people “fat and sick”
Six out of ten Australian packaged foods are highly or ultra – processed, more than half are discretionary or junk foods, and just one third are healthy, according to a stark new analysis.
Researchers at the George Institute for Global Health, who published their findings in the journal Nutrients, warned that urgent action is needed to improve the nutritional make up of packaged foods. “Our research shows that Australia’s packaged food environment is full of foods laden in sugar, fat and salt that are also highly processed,” said lead researcher Michelle Crino.
Crino’s team examined more than 40,000 packaged food items ranging from breads to sauces, confectionery, canned foods, oils and dairy products.
Based on their analysis the researchers found that 53% of Australian package supermarket foods are comprised of energy-dense and nutrient-poor discretionary products, such as sweetened soft drinks, biscuits, chocolate, meat pies, butter and salty snacks. Of the products analysed just over one third had a health star rating of 3.5 or higher, which usually indicates a basic level of healthfulness.
“It’s a sad reflection of the state of our food industry that half of all packaged foods are essentially junk foods that we should only be eating occasionally. We have to find a way to make junk food less profitable, because what works for the industry’s bottom line is a disaster for the nation’s waistline,” Prof Neil said. “Australians haven’t chosen to be obese - they are obese because selling cheap, unhealthy food everywhere, all the time, is how industry profits are maximised.” He urged the government to step in and find a balance between supporting the food industry while looking after the nation’s health. To do so doesn’t mean putting companies out of business, but promoting healthier options and devising better labelling,’ he added.
Author: RJ Whitehead 24-Jul-2018: 2018 William Reed Business Media Ltd.
Encapsulated curcumin shows potential to rival tartrazine as yellow food colour.
With demand for natural food colours continuing to increase, supercritical anti-solvent (SAS) technology may allow for encapsulated curcumin to replace artificial tartrazine, according to a new study from scientists in Colombia and Spain.
The global food colours market is predicted to reach 3.75 billion in 2022, according to Markets and Markets, with a compound annual growth rate of over 8% between 2016 and 2022. Natural colours occupying the largest slice of the market, it added. Tartrazine is a synthetic yellow dye used in a variety of food and beverage products, but demand for natural alternatives has led to curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric (Curcuma longa L.)
Author: Stephen Daniells: 2018 William Reed Business Media Ltd
Ed. Note: Tartrazine (102) has long been associated with allergic response in some people and to find an alternative, particularly a natural alternative would be very welcome.
Sustainable sugar: Australia to employ blockchain to boost provenance and profitability.
The Australian sugar industry’s push for greater sustainability and traceability has received a shot in the arm, with its Coalition government providing an A$2.25 million grant to fund the Sustainable Sugar Project.
“The Sustainable Sugar Project aims to meet the needs of end-users who require sustainability-produced sugar and to develop transparency around the market for that sugar. By using Smartcane BMP and blockchain technology, Canegrowers is seeking to provide provenance for our product, increase our market access and provide greater value to growers and the market,” a spokeswoman from
Canegrowers told Foodnavigator–Asia. Australia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources said big sugar buyers are likely to pay more in the future for sustainably-grown and fully-traceable sugar as their customers ask for it. The encrypted data in the use of blockchain can clearly shows buyers where the sugarcane came from and prove provenance and sustainability of that farm, said the government.
Author:Lester Wan 31-Jul-2018: 2018 William Reed Business Media Ltd.
Billerudkorsnas & Uppsala University to create paper battery for smart packaging.
The above universities in Sweden are one step closer to making paper batteries, with pure cellulose from algae, for applications including smart packaging. The three-year project involves developing energy storage in fibre structures with electrically conductive polymers, that is the storage of electrical energy in a sheet of paper or cardboard. “Tomorrow’s packaging will offer consumers more functions than today. Electrical energy stored in the actual paper material opens up brand-new possibilities for creating these functions and we want to explore the conditions for this in collaboration with Uppsala University”, chief technology officer, Magnus Wikstrom of Billerudkorsnas said.
“Storing energy in paper instead of in lithium batteries allows for bio-based batteries than can form part of a circular system, which provides major sustainability benefits’, added Wikstrom.
Author: Jenny Eagle 02-Aug-2018: 2018 William Reed Business Media Ltd.
Note: Full texts of the articles may be found in the references.
The Winter 2018 Consumers SA Newsletter is being mailed out to all members this weekend. It includes:
A number of informative articles reprinted from CBS Connect and CHOICE on:
- ticket scalping
- tips for ride-share and short term rentals
- staying safe this winter
- travelling con men
- CBS Compliance update
- CBS Tenancies update
- safe food for our pets
- new Country of Origin Labelling Laws
More food related items in a new FOOD BITES collection
- electricity prices
- updated labelling rules for sports nutrition supplements
- a new Scam Watch Radar Alert – "Beware investment wolves knocking at the door"
Reports on the attendance by Consumers SA Executive Committee members at:
- the May 2018 ISO Unit Pricing Committee Meeting in Japan
- the June 2018 International Consumer Policy Committee meeting in Bali.
Click on the headings below to read more about these items from the Consumer Federation’s July newsletter:
According to the Consumer Policy Research Centre‘s (CPRC's) recent report Consumer data & the digital economy, Australians are spending more of their lives online. 87% were active internet users in 2017, more than 17 million use social networking sites, and 84% of Australians are now buying products online.
Significant benefit and innovation can flow from open data. To deliver sustainable growth of new technologies and industries, it’s crucial that we put consumers in the driver’s seat.
Consumer advocates have welcomed the findings of the ACCC's Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry Final Report.
A proposal to prevent credit cards becoming a lifelong debt sentence has been welcomed by Consumer Action Law Centre.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority invites applications from consumer organisations to join its key telco consumer advisory group by 25 July.
Australian consumers will have much greater certainty about the origins of the food they buy, due to the introduction of mandatory Country of Origin food labelling.
As consumers, we want a digital world that we can trust. The recently published ISO 20488 standard on Online consumer reviews is a great tool to help with this.
The small print sizes many businesses use to show the unit price of pre-packaged grocery and similar products is a major problem in Australia and other countries.
With China no longer willing to accept material from Australia for potential recycling, it is time for a national discussion about what can truthfully be labelled as “recyclable” going forward in Australia.
Dr Martin Gill reviews a solar installer's analysis suggesting a strata complex would recover the cost of investing in a solar system in “just over 4 years”.
CFA has developed a set of good practice principles to offer guidance to industry bodies and EDR schemes about good practice in ensuring effective consumer input, including good practice in involving the consumer sector.
Today, CHOICE released safety test results for cots and strollers showing that alarming numbers fail key safety tests. According to CHOICE:
"These failures show that we need stronger product safety laws, to make sure the things we buy for ourselves and our families are safe. You can see the full list of failed products here.
We deserve to be able to trust that when we buy something, it won’t hurt us or our loved ones. But right now there is no requirement in Australian consumer law that businesses make sure products are safe before they are sold.
We think this needs to change - and urgently.
We need to act now, while this is in the news and politicians are paying attention. Treasury is about to start consulting on options for making our product safety laws stronger. By joining the campaign, you can show our leaders that we expect strong rules that keep dangerous products off the shelves.
Other places, including Canada, the UK and the EU, have laws that say products must be safe in order to be sold. It's time we catch up, and make sure Australians aren't getting stuck with dodgy, dangerous goods.
P.S. If you'd like more information on the products that have failed CHOICE tests, you can read all about it here. "
Latest in an occasional series of reports on food matters of interest to consumers, compiled by Consumers SA Executive member Elaine Attwood.
Slashing sugar: Biggest Australian beverage companies to cut content by 20% over next seven years.
A 20% sugar reduction across non-alcoholic products will take place in Australia by 2025, the nation’s Beverages Council has announced. Around 80% of the non-alcoholic beverage industry, including Coca-Cola South Pacific, Coca-Cola Amatil, PepsiCo, Asahi Beverages and Frucor Suntory have pledged their commitment to the initiative.
The plan will be carried out in two phases, namely a 10% sugar reduction by 2020 from 2016 levels, which will then be followed by a total reduction of 20% by 2025. The sugar reduction plan will affect carbonated fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports and electrolyte drinks, frozen drinks, bottled and packaged waters, juice and fruit drinks, cordials, iced teas, ready to drink coffee’s, flavoured milk products and flavoured plant milks. The Council said the move is to promote healthier lifestyles and to tackle obesity in Australia.
“This commitment is the first example in Australia where an industry as a whole has self regulated its use of sugar in this manner,” said Geoff Parker, chief executive officer at the Australian Beverages Council. The companies’ progress in sugar reduction will be evaluated by an independent auditor, which will be appointed by the Council.
Bearing in mind the need for consumers’ choice, Mr Parker added that the high sugar versions of drinks such as Coke would “absolutely” still be available.
Author: Tingmin Koe: 2018 William Reed Pty. Ltd
Toothpaste and hand wash boost antibiotic resistance.
A common ingredient in toothpaste and hand wash could be contributing to antibiotic resistance, new research suggests. Scientists identified the chemical triclosan, a compound used in more than 2000 personal care products, which finds its way into the water system.
“Wastewater from residential areas has similar or even higher levels of antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistant genes compared to hospitals, where you would expect greater antibiotic concentrations,” Dr. Jianhu Guo of the University of Queensland’s Advanced Water Management Centre, who led the study, says.
Dr Guo said that few researchers have focused on non – antibiotic, antimicrobial chemicals in connection with antibiotic resistance. “These chemicals are used in much larger quantities at an everyday level, so you end up with high residual levels in the wider environment, which can induce multi – drug resistance.”
Advanced Water Management Centre Director, Professor Zhiguo Yuan, said the discovery should be a wake-up call to re-evaluate the potential impact of such chemicals.
Credit: 22/6/18 Australia’s Science Channel
Is Australia ready for a nationwide single – use plastics ban?
An Australian Senate Inquiry has recommended a nationwide ban on all single – use plastics, which will include plastic bags, takeaway containers, plastic – lined coffee cups and chip packets, by 2023. Separately, from July 1, single – use plastic bags have been banned in all but two Australian states, Victoria and New South Wales, while the top two supermarket chains, Coles and Woolworths, have also instituted a nationwide band.
The Senate’s comprehensive report into Australia’s ongoing recycling crisis called for the promotion of a national “circular economy”, in which all waste materials can be recovered and reused within the country. Vital to this is the recommended establishment of a National Deposit Container Scheme to collect waste and develop high – revenue streams.
Previously it has been reported that the Australian federal and state governments had set a target for all packaging in the country to be reusable, compostable or recyclable by 2025. About 35% of Australia’s recycled plastics and 30% of recyclable paper and cardboard have been affected by China refusing to take our recycled waste from January this year, and has resulted in a shortage of landfills and an excess in stockpiles in the country.
Dr Robert Crocker, Carbon Reduction Commitment researcher at the University of South Australia, commented, “We presently lack industrial experience and expertise in the kinds of high – tech recycling currently undertaken in Europe and China. We need to invest in developing or redeveloping these skills in Australia so that we can responsibly manage our own wastes and re- use our resources more profitably. This will mean funding research and education in “resource management” and not just pretending it’s all about just “recycling” a few cans. Most single – use plastics are now produced in billions. We need to develop legislation that can weed out these problem plastics from entering the market before they take hold and become a danger to the environment.”
According to a Parliament of Australia report in 2016, Australians use 3.92 billion light weight plastic grocery bags in the year, and it is estimated that approximately 80 million bags become litter each year.
Author: Lester Wan: William Reed Business Media Ltd
Health snippet: At last! We now know how this anti-cancer gene works.
Mutations in this gene are responsible for half of human cancers. Nearly 40 years ago a gene was discovered which laid the foundations of our understanding of how our own bodies stop rogue cells turning into cancerous ones. The gene, called p53 regulates how cells react to various stresses and instruct an out-of-control cell to stop multiplying or die.
For the first time, Melbourne scientists have found that a specific group of genes that work in the body’s normal DNA repair process, are vital to p53’s effectiveness in stopping cancer.
“It is defects (mutations) in this gene that actually causing 50% of human cancers,” says lead author Dr Ana Janic. “It’s really exciting because we’ve kind of opened the window for many new discoveries in this area.” The researchers meticulously screened more than 300 genes directly regulated by p53 to identify which ones were critical for its tumour – suppressing function. The research team discovered that the DNA repair gene MLH1 as well as other related genes are critical to p53’s ability to prevent the development of B – cell lymphomas.
Dr Janic says that while the results may take several years to translate into a treatment it provides a pathway for personalised treatment options for many types of cancer. “For instance, if a patient has lymphoma with a mutation that disables the DNA repair mechanism, doctors will now know to avoid certain DNA damaging treatments, like chemotherapy, that may only make the cancer more aggressive,” she said. The next steps will focus on understanding if the DNA repair process has the same cancer – blocking impact on cancers other than lymphoma, such as colon cancers in which 70% are caused by p53 mutations.
Source: Nature Medicine: https://australiascience.tv/at-last-we-now-know-how-thi-anti-cancer-gene-works/
Note: For full details of the above articles, please go to the reference provided.
Two years ago the government announced new Country of Origin laws. Industry was given two years to comply and - as of 1 July - the labelling is now mandatory.
There are four categories that can be identified for consumer benefit:
- Grown in...
- Produced in...
- Made in...
- Packed in...
Country of Origin must be identified, or if a mix of foods from different countries, a retailer can choose to state each Country of Origin in the mix, or label that it is a mix of of local and imported food or a mix of imported foods.
The new rules do not apply to the hospitality industry and therefore restaurants are free to import foods and not declare their origin.
The government has said it will be watching for non-compliance. Foods produced before 1 July 2018 are exempt.
For further information, visit the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission at: www.accc.gov.au
Graphic warning labels ‘most effective in reducing consumers’ tendencies to buy sugar-sweetened beverages.
Front of Pack (FOP) labels with graphic warnings are the most effective in reducing intended sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) purchases, according to researchers from Australia.
They argue that labels showing decayed teeth and warning text are able to reduce the number of SSB consumers by 36%. SSBs refer to any non-alcoholic drink with added sugar including soft drinks, flavoured waters, energy drinks, iced tea and fruit drinks (with added sugar).
The research conducted by the Global Obesity Centre, Monash University Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food, and the NSW Ministry of Health recruited 994 participants aged between 18 and 35 last year.
It was found that participants who were exposed to both graphic and text warnings were least likely to buy an SSB. Only 28% of them will choose an SSB, as compared to the control group, where 64% of them will choose an SSB.
The study also suggested that the warning labels will raise the health awareness of the participants, influencing them to consider the healthiness of the drink, (HSR) before making the decision to buy the product. Of the four types of warning labelling, the HSR is the only existing FOP label in the Australian market, introduced by the government in 2014.
Source: Appetite DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2018.05.149
Natassja Billich, et al: ‘The effect of sugar-sweetened beverage front-of-pack labels on drink selection, health knowledge and awareness: an online randomised controlled trial.’ Foodnavigator 19/6/18, reported by Tingmin Koe: William Reed Business Media Ltd.
Ground-breaking food bacteria scanner in New Zealand will have ‘global impact’
A ‘game-changing’ scanner that can quickly identify harmful strains of bacteria in food has just arrived in New Zealand.
The scanner, called a BEAM device, was developed at Purdue University in the United States with an initial focus on the US market. The only device of its kind outside the US, it has since been offered free of charge to Associate Professor Stephen On of Lincoln University in Canterbury, NZ.. This initiative was a result of a partnership between Dr On, a taxonomy expert – specialising in classification, especially of organisms – and two senior US food safety researchers.
Dr On recently received an $80,000 catalyst grant from the New Zealand Royal Society Te Aparangi to use the scanner for locally focused research that will complement the studies already being undertaken in the US. Lincoln University said the resulting data will be pooled for “maximum global impact”.
The BEAM scanner is designed to better identify disease outbreak by providing a “specific fingerprint” of bacteria cultured on a standard agar media plate. This allows scientists to pinpoint strains of interest more quickly, with a particular focus on pathogens.
Dr. On said the economic and public health significance of pathogenic E. coli remained of critical importance and partners of the New Zealand Food Safety and Science Research Centre (including ESR and Plant and Food Research) had identified other bacterial pathogens of concern, such as Campylobacter and Listeria.
Author: Lester Wan: 2018: William Reed Business M:edia Ltd
WHO urges ban on industrial trans-fats by 2023.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called upon governments to eliminate industrially produced trans–fatty acids from the food supply by 2023. The agency estimates that every year trans- fat intake leads to more than 500,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease. Industrially produced trans – fats are found in hardened vegetable fats, such as margarine, and often in snacks, baked and fried foods. Manufacturers use them as they have a longer shelf life than other fats. Trans–fatty acids can also occur naturally in meat and dairy products from ruminant animals (e.g. cattle, sheep, goats et cetera).
The six step guide called REPLACE comes after WHO opened a consultation until 1 June to review draft guidelines on intake of trans–fats and saturated fats for adults and children. WHO recommend total trans–fat intake be limited to less than 1% of total energy intake, which is less than 2.2g a day with a 2000 calorie diet. It said diets high in trans–fat increase heart disease risk by 21% and deaths by 28%.
- REview dietary sources of industrially produced fats and the landscape for required policy change
- Promote replacement of industrially-produced trans-fats with healthier fats and oils.
- Legislate or enact regulatory actions to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats.
- Assess and monitor trans-fats content in food supply and changes in trans-fat consumption in the population.
- Create awareness of negative health impacts of trans-fats among policy makers, producers suppliers and the public.
- Enforce compliance of policies and regulations.
Author: Joseph James Whitworth: 2018 William Reed Business Media Ltd
France looks set to ban titanium dioxide.
As France looks poised to ban titanium dioxide by the end of 2018, the government has praised “pioneering” manufacturers for voluntarily removing the colouring from food products. “We want to ban the use of this food additive in France by the end of the year,” Sec of State to the Minister for Ecological and Solidarity Transition, Brune Poirson, told French national Le Parisien last week. French policymakers have already prepared an amendment to the draft law as part of the General States of the Food Industry that allows it, “if necessary”, to ban titanium dioxide and its use in food by the end of 2018. The additive has no nutritional value and “it’s only virtue is aesthetic”, the government said.
Listed as E 171 in Europe, titanium dioxide is a colouring, mainly used in sweets, chewing gum, bakery and sauces to give a white, opaque or cloudy effect. It is also a principal component in sunscreen because it reflects UV light, and is used in toothpaste and paint.
However, the UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified it as a possible human carcinogen.
Author: Niamh Michail : 2018 William Reed Business Media Ltd
Please check references for full reports of these articles.
As a member of SA Water’s Customer Advisory Group, Consumer SA’s Elaine Attwood received the following information from SA Water earlier this month:
"On 14 June 2018 the Minister for Environment and Water announced the 2018-19 water and sewerage prices.
SA Water has continued our commitment to keeping water and sewerage prices for South Australians as low and stable as possible, with 2018-19 price adjustments to be capped at 1.9 per cent on average, to reflect the Consumer Price Index (CPI).*
For the average metropolitan residential customer, this will mean a combined water and sewerage bill increase of around $23.**
We understand the importance of both being able to manage cost of living pressures and receiving a quality water and sewerage service.
Since economic regulation was introduced in 2013-14, the average household has seen a 5.5 per cent decrease – or a reduction of $73 – in combined water and sewerage bills.
This has been made possible through our continuous careful management of operating expenses and prioritisation of major works.
Our prices take into account a range of different factors, including the cost to provide, sustain and enhance the delivery of water and sewerage services across the state.
Under state-wide pricing, most of our customers pay the same price per kilolitre of water, regardless of where they live or the cost of providing the service to that location. Sewerage prices are also designed so average bills are as consistent as possible across the state.
We continue to perform favourably when compared to interstate counterparts.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s most recent National Performance Report (2016-17), which analyses the performance of water utilities across the country, our annual residential combined water and sewerage bill (based on 200 kilolitres) was eighth cheapest among 14 comparably-sized utilities, and mid-range when compared to all organisations that reported for this measure.
A full schedule of our current fees and charges is available at www.sawater.com.au. The 2018-19 prices will be available on our website before 1 July 2018.
*March Consumer Price Index, All Groups Index Number (weighted average of eight capital cities) published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, to align to ESCOSA’s 2016-20 revenue determination.
**Based on the average metropolitan residential water use of 184 kL and property value of $447,000."
Consumers International, the membership organisation for consumer groups around the world, has released a 60-second spoof advert ‘Huggy Bug Your Family’, highlighting some of the problems found in internet-connected children’s products.
The film was launched at the G20 Consumer Summit in Buenos Aires, bringing together governments, consumer advocates, digital experts and international businesses to address the issue of Internet of Things children’s toys, games, apps and products.
Testing by consumer rights organisations has uncovered weak security in many of these products as well as invasive data collection and privacy features. There is currently no effective regulation of these products, and little consumer understanding of how they function or their faults.
Consumers International is calling on the G20 countries to improve the security and data protection of children’s connected products and services over the next year and support greater international co-operation on the topic.
Consumers International believes in a world where everyone has access to safe and sustainable goods and services. It brings together over 200 member organisations in more than 100 countries to empower and champion the rights of consumers everywhere.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO
EU Member States back neonicotinoid ban.
European Union member states have voted in favour of Commission proposals for an almost total ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the EU.
In a vote on 27 April, countries representing 76.1% of the EU population backed the plan to clamp down on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, the use of which has been associated with declining bee populations. The move represents a major extension of an existing partial ban. Since 2013, three neonicotinoids - Bayer’s imidacloprid and clothianidin and Syngenta’s thiamethoxam - have been prohibited in the European Union. The proposal blocks the use of neonicotinoids to control pests in open fields but does not extend to permanent greenhouses.
Author: Katy Askew, 27 April 2018 - William Reed Business Media Ltd.
New form of DNA found in human cell
Even the smallest of packages can have the biggest surprises. Scientists have finally identified a twisted knot of DNA, the i- motif inside living cells. This new shape is a four stranded knot of DNA. DNA is known for its iconic double helix shape but DNA is not bound to just one configuration. While the DNA takes on its double helix form to efficiently store the genetic code, it also needs to adopt structural changes when that information needs to be accessed.
The i-motif forms, dissolves and forms again.
Scientists have known about i-motifs for some time but this is the first time that they have been seen inside a living cell. This resolves previous doubts about whether the i-motif could exist inside living cells.
“This new research reminds us that totally different DNA structures exist – and could well be important for ourselves,” says Daniel Christ, who co-led the research.
Author: Kelly Wong: Australia’s Science Channel, 26 April 2018. The research is published in Nature Chemistry.
Record plastic and other waste pollutes the Arctic
It’s depressing but probably not surprising to learn that there is more micro plastic in Arctic sea ice than ever before. Many of the particles of plastic in the Arctic sea ice are so small that they could easily be ingested by arctic microorganisms - and that has scientists particularly concerned.
“No one can say for certain how harmful these tiny plastic particles are for marine life, or ultimately also for human beings,” biologist Dr Ilka Peeken notes. Peeken and colleagues from the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research gathered ice samples from five regions during three expeditions over the spring and summer of 2014 – 15.
These samples were found to contain up to 12,000 microplastic particles per litre of ice. More than half of the particles were less than 1/20 of a millimetre wide. Two thirds belong to the smallest scale category of microplastic – “50 µm and smaller”. Microplastic refers to plastic particles, fibres, pellets and other fragments with a length, width or diameter ranging from a few micrometers to under 5 mm.
The researchers say the different types of plastic showed a unique footprint in the ice allowing them to trace them back to possible sources. For example the high percentage of paint and nylon particles pointed to the intensified shipping and fishing activities in some parts of the Arctic Ocean.
In all, the researchers found 17 different types of plastic in the sea ice, including packaging materials like polyethylene and polypropylene as well as paints, nylon polyester and cellulose.
Author: Nick Carne, Australia’s Science Channel, 26 April 2018
Note: Please check references for the complete article.