Click here to download a transcript of the keynote address presented by Fiona Guthrie AM, Chief Executive Officer of Financial Counselling Australia, to the ACCC 2019 National Consumer Congress.

Entitled “Reimagining the Corporation: Why we need to change the purpose of our biggest companies”. Ms Guthrie argues that:

“… the fundamental purpose of our marketplace economy is about the welfare of the community.

It isn’t to maximise the pay packets of CEOs. It isn’t to maximise shareholder value. And it isn’t to maximise the welfare of workers or consumers. It’s to maximise the welfare of all of us.”

(This transcript was originally posted on the Consumers’ Federation of Australia website.)

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) recently released its report on scam activity in 2018.

The report is available as a pdf here. It explains key trends in scam activity and highlights the impact of scams on the community.

It highlights the cooperative work of the ACCC, other regulators and law enforcement agencies to disrupt scams and educate consumers.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Australian Gas Networks recently advised Consumers SA’s representatives on their SA Consumer Reference Group that:

“On 17 April 2019, we submitted to the AER an annual tariff variation notice for AGN's South Australian (SA) Gas Distribution Network. The tariff variation notice sought to increase 2019-20 network charges for AGN's (SA) users from 1 July 2019. It waspublished on the AER website today.

This is a key part of our process within the current Access Arrangement period which is submitted annually. The AER’s decision (2016/2017 – 2020/2021) outlined a price path which included a 23% (or $144 for residential customers) cut (in real terms) in year one, followed by 4% increases in years 2 through to 5. This price path was designed to match tariffs with growth in our asset base. At the time the AER expected this to result in increases of 6.3% per annum in years 2 through 5 (more information here).

We are proposing an increase in our tariffs of 5.1%, or $26 on average for residential customers. It is important to note this is only the distribution component of the increase, not the retail price.

This 5.1% increase is slightly less than that approved by the regulator in 2016 because:

· our approved price increases are updated each year for our financing costs which were lower than forecast in the AER’s decision; and

· inflation has been lower than forecast in the AER’s decision.”

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Bettalife Distributors Pty Ltd — Celebrate Brand Frozen Desserts

2 May 2019

Product description

Mountain Mist Eclairs Chocolate Mini 365g (26 pieces)

Mountain Mist Profiteroles Tropical Fruit 645g (48 pieces)

Mountain Mist Profiteroles Classic with Chantilly Cream 325g (28 pieces)

Use By 01/02/20
Batch Code 199-0321

Identifying features

Use by date

1 February 2020

Other

APN/AEN 8858762720009, 8858762720047, 8858762720030

What are the defects?

The recall is due to potential microbial (Salmonella enteritidis)contamination.

What are the hazards?

Food products contaminated with Salmonella enteritidismay cause illness if consumed

What should consumers do?

Consumers should not eat these products.Products should be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice.

For further information, please contact Bettalife Distributors Pty Ltd on 08 8351 8455.

Supplier

Bettalife Distributors Pty Ltd

Traders who sold this product

Foodlands
Fruit and vegetable stores
Tony & Mark's
Chapley's
Romeo's

Where the product was sold

South Australia

Dates available for sale

  • 1 April 2019- 1 May 2019

Inghams Enterprises Pty Ltd — Ingham's Turkey Breast Roast 1kg

2 May 2019

Product description

Turkey breast marinated and rolled into a roast 1kg

Best Before Date: 01/10/2020

Identifying features

Best before date

1 October 2020

Other

APN/EAN 9310037100149

What are the defects?

The recall is due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (milk). This is due to incorrect packaging (Turkey Thigh Roast was packaged incorrectly in Turkey Breast Roast packaging).

What are the hazards?

Any consumers who have a milk allergy or intolerance may have a reaction if the product is consumed.

What should consumers do?

Consumers who have a dairy allergy or intolerance should not consume this product and should return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund.

For further information, please contact Ingham's Enterprises Pty Ltd on 1800 785 940 or by visiting www.inghams.com.au

Supplier

Inghams Enterprises Pty Ltd

Traders who sold this product

Woolworths stores (ACT, NSW, NT, SA, Victoria)

Dates available for sale

  • 19 March 2019- 30 April 2019

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Washed Rind Pty Ltd — St Simeon White Mould Cheese, Le Coulommiers, Coulommiers Truffe Cheese and Brie de Nangis

16 Apr 2019

Product description

White mould cheeses and Best Before dates:

  • St Simeon 200g
    18/02/19, 04/03/19, 26/03/19, 09/04/19, 23/04/19, 10/05/19, 17/05/19

  • Le Coulommiers 400g
    23/04/19, 17/05/19

  • Coulommiers Truffe 750g
    19/02/19, 26/03/19, 09/04/19, 23/04/19, 10/05/19, 17/05/19

  • Brie de Nangis 1kg
    18/02/19, 18/03/19, 04/03/19, 26/03/19

What are the defects?

The recall is due to potential microbial Listeria monocytogenescontamination.

What are the hazards?

Listeriamay cause illness in pregnant women and their unborn babies, the elderly and people with low immune systems.

What should consumers do?

Consumers should not eat these products. Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice and should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund.

For further information please contact Washed Rind Pty Ltd on 08 8321 5867.

Traders who sold this product

Delis, cheeserooms, restaurants, IGAs and independent stores in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, SA, WA

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Latest in an occasional series of articles on consumer food issues compiled by Consumers SA Executive Committee member Elaine Attwood.

 

Could PEF from sugarcane be more economical than PET at scale?

 Researchers in eastern Australia have started work on a three month pilot plant to prove the economic viability of turning sugarcane waste into other compounds, including plastic drinking bottles. The program is being run by Darryn Rackemann, a senior research fellow at Queensland University of Technology’s centre forTropical Crops and Biocommodities,  and will be carried out at Gladstone north of Brisbane. It is being undertaken in partnership with Mercurius Australia using a process patented by the start up’s U.S.-based parent Mercurius Biorefining. This has the potential to convert the fibre left over after sugarcane is pressed, known as bagasse, and other types of biomass into cost-effective biofuels and biochemicals. These include PEF, a material that many experts have touted as being a successor to BET.

“The science has been proven. The engineering now is trying to prove the economics. And once the economics are proven, we can roll out the technology further,” Dr. Rackemann, told Beverage Daily. Queensland has a substantial sugar cane industry, harvesting about 35 million tonnes each year and producing several million tonnes of potential bagasse. John Clark, director of Ant Packaging in northern New South Wales, a plastic bottle supplier, said the market was satisfied with PET but was always looking out for novel materials that are even more practical and sustainable than the global standard. PEF is lighter and stronger than PET. “It also has better barrier properties for oxygen and other gases. That’s why many people think it would be a good replacement for PET bottles and packaging”, said Dr Rackemann.

Credit: https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2019/04/10

Author: Richard Whitehead 10-April-2019

Source: © 2019 - William Reed Business Media Ltd.   

“Lack of evidence”: Researchers demand stricter FSANZ governance of food – health relationship claims

Australian researchers are calling for stricter governance over regulator FSANZ’s food–health relationship claims system, after arguing that 40.3% of product claims have not been proven with substantial evidence. “Food – health relationships” refer to general level health claims that suggest a relationship between the product and health, for example that it contained calcium for strong bones, or fibre for heart health. “There must be a nutrient mentioned, as well as a link to a health benefit,” Cancer Council Australian Nutrition Program Manager and co-researcher on the report, Wendy Watson told Foodnavigator– Asia. A total of 67 such food–health relationship claims were reported to the FSANZ notification website between the years of 2013 to 2017.

Of these, 27 (40.3%) were found to be ‘concerning” to Watson and her team after conducting their own independent assessments of relevant existing literature, and were flagged to the respective state enforcement agencies.

Of note is the fact that, at present, food manufacturers are allowed to print and market all food – health relationship claims that they have notified FSANZ of, provided the product is of a certain “healthiness” level (not high in fat, salt, sugar et cetera.) and the claim has been “self – substantiated”. At present there is no governing system in place to check on the quality of these reviews, so basically the claims do not need to be verified by any authority before these are publicised on product labels, advertisements and so on. “The lack of a more stringent process in place is not protecting the consumer, as these claims can influence their purchasing decisions”.

 Credit: http://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2019/04/10

Author: Pearly Neo 10-April-2019

Source:  © 2019 - William Reed Business mediaLtd.

The three diets researchers say are even more harmful than smoking

Diets high in salt are one of the main causes of diet–related death, a Lancet study shows. Poor diets are killing more people in the world than tobacco smoking, a large Lancet analysis recently showed. According to the global analysis – funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - one in five lives were cut short in 2017 due to “sub- optimal” eating habits. This resulted in 11 million deaths worldwide, the study authors estimated. Researchers said there were three main bad eating behaviours behind the deadly diet trends. These are high salt, not enough whole grains and not enough fruit. Diets containing too much sodium were linked to 3 million deaths worldwide, while diets lacking in whole grains and fruit contributed to another 5 million deaths combined. The causes of these diet–related deaths included cardiovascular disease (10 million global deaths), cancer (913,000), and type II diabetes (almost 339,000), the authors said.

According to the researchers, Australians are healthier eaters than many of our global counterparts. In 2017, 14.7% of Australian deaths was thought to be related to diet, compared to 22% of global deaths. Australia is doing much better than it was almost 3 decades ago – in 1990, 25.2% of Australian deaths were linked to diet. (Global Burden of Disease study 2019)  Globally the main foods lacking in many diets were nuts and seeds, whole grains and milk, the authors said. The study also found that many Australians and New Zealanders eat far too much red meat, processed meat, soft drinks, and foods high in trans-fats and sodium every day. In an accompanying editorial, University of Cambridge’s Prof. Nita Forouhi said the cost of some healthy foods are “prohibitive” for many people in lower income settings. Health groups in Australia have called for a national nutrition strategy. The Dietitians Association of Australia criticised the government for leaving out nutrition initiatives from the 2019 federal budget.

Credit and Source: https://thenewdaily.com.au/life/wellbeing/2019/04/05

Author: Mahsa Fratantoni 5th April 2019.

Behind the “most sustainable company in the world”: Chr. Hansen 

 The company, Chr. Hansen has divulged its own sustainable practices, covering water reduction, renewable energy, and use of plastics, having secured first place in Corporate Knights’ 2019 ranking. Last month, (January 2019) Danish bioscience company Chr. Hansen was ranked the most sustainable company in the world by media and research firm Corporate Knights. The ingredients supplier leverages the natural properties of good bacteria for use across a number of industries, including food, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture, which can help limit food waste, reduce the need for pesticides in farming, and increase yield. Besides encouraging sustainable practices in other industries, the ingredients supplier has integrated a sustainability message across its entire organisation. Chr. Hansen developed a system with accountancy firm Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) to map its products against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and document the impact that each of its products would have on the subgoals. ‘Initially, we weren’t sure how we would (document) it. It was a big task that took one year. However after that year, Chr. Hansen could say with certainty that 82% of its revenue supported certain UN goals.

‘One of the most crucial things (to do) is to set targets, because what you measure gets done. (It also ensures) that changes happen in the smaller sites, away from corporate headquarters. They simply have to have ownership of that target; otherwise (change) isn’t going to happen,” said Hansen’s head of sustainability, Annmarie Meisling.

 Credit: https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2019/02/15

Author: Flora Southey

Source: © 2019 - William Reed Business media Ltd.

Note: For full details of all articles, please check the references.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

JFA Purple Orange would like to hear from people living with disability and families about their experiences of having high water usage. Purple Orange is an NGO that deals with financial issues and societal issues for disadvantaged consumers  With Consumers SA, they are members of the SACOSS Essential services Group.

They want to find out the impacts of high water usage, how water use is managed and recommendations for improving water service for people living with disability.

They can then tell the SA Government and SA Water what would assist.

Participation in this project would involve taking part in a one hour interview. This can be in person or on the phone.

A $50 Coles/Myer gift card will be provided to participants.

 If you are interested please contact Kathryn Mills on (08) 8373 8311

or email:  kathrynm@purpleorange.org.au

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

La Famiglia Traditional Garlic Slices 9 pack 270g

Batch code: 9317755000232

EAN: 9317755000232, TUN: 19317755001236

Use by: 13 MAY 2019, 16 MAY 2019, 17 MAY 2019, 18 MAY 2019, 19 MAY 2019, 20 MAY 2019

What are the defects?

The recall is due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (dairy). This is due to a printing error on some packaging.

What are the hazards?

Any consumers who have a dairy allergy or intolerance may have a reaction if the product is consumed.

What should consumers do?

Consumers who have a dairy allergy or intolerance should not consume this product and should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund.

For further information please contact Goodman Fielder Limited on 1800 459 152 or via www.goodmanfielder.com

Traders who sold this product

Coles, Woolworths, IGA and independent stores

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

The following article was posted on the Consumers Federation of Australia website on 3 April 2019:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most transformative forces of our time, and is bound to alter the fabric of society.  Over the last decade, major advances were realised due to the availability of vast amounts of digital data, powerful computing architectures, and advances in AI techniques such as machine learning. To ensure that we stay on the right track, a human-centric approach to AI is needed, forcing us to keep in mind that the development and use of AI should not be seen as a means in itself, but as having the goal to increase human well-being. Read more in the European Commission’s Draft Ethic Guidelines for Trustworthy AI

CSIRO’s Data61, IAG and the University of Sydney are the founding partners of the Gradient Institute: The Science of Ethical AI, an independent not-for-profit research institute whose purpose is to progress the research, design, development and adoption of ethical AI systems in Australia. In 2018 the Australian government committed $29.9 million over four years into artificial (AI) funding, and is developing an ethics framework in partnership with industry and research organisations around the use of data, with a focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning, read more here.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

In its March 2019 submission to the Independent Review of the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) Code of Practice a coalition of consumer organisations strongly argues that, while customer-owned banks have avoided much of the public criticism directed in the wake of the banking royal commission at the banking, finance and insurance industries (which “continue to be perceived to be the least ethical sectors of Australia’s economy”) ‘customer owned’ status doesn’t always translate into the fair treatment of customers.

In fact, the submission argues, “this sector is at risk of complacency, and failing to recognise the need for adequate regulation including a strong code”.  Further, the sector appears to be “… more focussed on the “cost of compliance” than the consumer interest, the substantive issues raised in the Royal Commission or increased community expectations”. 

The consumers’ coalition compiling the submission consists of:

  • NSW’s Financial Rights Legal Centre

  • Victoria’s Consumer Action Law Centre  

  • Victoria’s Financial and Consumer Rights Council Inc

  • Financial Counselling Australia.

In their submission consumer representatives expressed their disappointment that the customer-owned banking sector has “advocated loudly that they should be considered separate to the ‘big banks’ and that different, lower standards for regulation should apply [to it]”. 

The submission takes the new Banking Code as a reference and in numerous instances recommends that the COBA Code at least match the commitments made by the ABA. It further identifies a number of areas where customer owned banks can work harder to improve their practices. These include: 

  • developing expansive commitments for engaging inclusively and appropriately with customers who may experience financial exclusion, or who may be in financial hardship or other vulnerable circumstances; 

  • committing to stronger and more comprehensive responsible lending obligations; 

  • addressing issues with third party products, particularly add-on insurance, and the use of finance brokers; 

  • significantly improving compliance with obligations to cancel direct debit arrangements;

  • offering increased protections for guarantors and co-borrowers; and 

  • increasing compliance with the Code, including boosting sanction powers for COBA Code breaches, and increasing obligations which allow compliance to be measured (such as increased obligations to report). 

Click here to download a full copy of the submission.


Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Last week SA Power Networks lodged its tariff proposal for 2019/20 with the Australian Energy Regulator. It is now available on the AER website.

On average, in 2019/20, distribution charges are propsed to rise by $46 for residential customers and $179 for small to medium-sized business customers (20MWh per annum).

The increase in 2019/20 reflects revenue and price-path decisions made by the Regulator in 2015. It includes a catch-up for a shortfall in revenue collected in 2018/19 due to lower than forecast energy consumption, and finalisation of payments under the Regulator’s reliability incentive scheme for the 2015-20 period.

Distribution charges are then proposed to fall in 2020-21 by an average of $40 for residential customers and $111 for small to medium-sized business customers (20MWh per annum), reflecting SA Power Networks’ plans for managing the network for the next five-year period (2020-25).

Click here to read a media release relating to the proposal.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Read about the following recalls by clicking on the links below

Mobility Plus Wheelchairs — Malte, Malte-Outdoor and Marcy Walkers

The handle grip on Malte, Malte Outdoor and Marcy wallkers can fail if overloaded. The handle grip is the central connection between the handle itself and the base of the walker frame.

If the handle unexpectedly breaks, the user may fall and suffer an injury.

Inghams Enterprises Pty Ltd — Ingham's Chicken Breast Schnitzel Gluten Free 440g

The recall is due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (gluten) in chicken sold in Victoria.

Defect was caused by incorrect packaging and labelling (Southern Style Tenders were packaged incorrectly in Gluten Free Schnitzel labelled tray).

Consumers who have a gluten allergy or intolerance may have a reaction if the product is consumed.

Bailey Beau Pty Ltd — Australian Superfood Company - Raw Bars 40g

The recall is due to the presence of foreign matter plastic and mould in bars sold interstate and online.

Food products containing plastic may cause injury if consumed. Food products contaminated with mould may cause illness if consumed.

Great Grand Care Pty Ltd — Dang Gui Yin Zi (Tangkuei & Tribulus Combination)

This product does not display the required liver warning on the label: 'Fallopia multifloramay harm the liver in some people. Use under the supervision of a healthcare professional.'

Users are not warned that they may experience damage to their liver from consumption of the product.

Chobani Pty Ltd — Chobani Flip Almond Coco Loco 140g

The recall is due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (almond), caused by incorrect packaging and labelling (Lemon Meringue Tang tub, with Almond Coco Loco foil and Almond Coco Loco ingredients).

Consumers who have an almond allergy or intolerance may have a reaction if the product is consumed.



Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

On Wednesday 27 March, Consumers SA Executive Committee members Brian and Elaine Attwood attended a meeting called by SA Power Networks (SAPN) to discuss how their reference groups had performed over the last two reset periods and what their future would be.  Membership of the various groups comes to an end in March/April this year. 

Brian and Elaine report:

”SAPN made it clear that they wanted to retain the services of the groups but was keen to know whether the groups felt they had been useful, and what they had got out of the consultations. It was a two way process.  To that end SAPN had earlier in the week held an internal meeting to answer the same questions themselves. Regardless of whether the groups were successful or not, the AER now demands that entities like SAPN must consult with consumers and put them at the centre of their business. It was how that might be done that SAPN were seeking input.

We were asked a series of questions such as to why we had become involved, why we wanted to continue to be involved , what our organisation(s)  got from being on the various groups and what we provided to the groups as well as how we saw our role, and whether we thought we had been listened to in SAPN's decisions.

Melanie Lambert was the facilitator and we had a group of 4-5 at each table. SAPN work to the Customer Engagement Guidelines for Network Service Providers issued by the AER in November 2013.  Also to the IAP2 guidelines for consultation. 

The meeting was a working one and at the conclusion it was pleasing to see that the Draft Guideline Principles that SAPN's internal workshop came up with were very similar to those that the present meeting felt was important.   In other words the key engagement was broadly representative of the SAPN customer base. 

There was a large number of people present, representing SAPN’s various groups. They also offered a revised structure for consideration of how the groups (now 8) would sit under the Customer Consultative Panel. This will need more discussion later.

SAPN submitted their 2020-25 Regulatory Business Proposal on 31 January 2019. The AER now has an issues paper out (28 March). There will be a public forum in Adelaide on 4 April followed by the AER draft proposal on 30 September.

Engagement on this revised proposal will  be sought during October and November 2019 and the AER’s final determination will come down on 30 April 2020.

SAPN wants consumers to use the ’time of use’ tariff to help manage the solar trough. There will be a changing role for the distribution network up to 2030.   One in 3 customers now have solar and potentially there could be 100,000 batteries in use within the next 2-3 years.  The network has to change from a one-way flow to a two-way flow.

There should be a $37-40 reduction in residential power bills and between $111-114 for small business in 2020-21.”

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Consumer SA Executive Committee member Elaine Attwood recently returned from the 2019 National Consumer Conference and the Ruby Hutchison Lecture held in Melbourne in March.

Click here to read Elaine’s comprehensive and informative report on the lecture (delivered by the Human Rights Commissioner on of Artificial Intelligence and human rights) and her summary of the speeches and discussions at the conference sessions, including:

  • Opening address by the Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation on ‘Trusted Smart Products’

  • Address by the Assistant Treasurer on recent Commonwealth consumer protection legislation

  • ACCC Chairman’s address on ACCC enforcement priorities

  • Keynote address by Fiona Guthrie, CEO Financial Counselling Australia on re-imaging corporations

  • Panel discussion: Misconduct in financial services: What will the Royal Commission change for Vulnerable consumers. 

  • Panel discussion: General Product Safety Provisions:

  • Presentation by the ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court on the new Consumer Data Right (CDR)

  • Debate: Is data working for or against consumers?

  • Panel discussion: Emerging issues in data and technology (consumer data, AI machine learning and algorithms)

  • Keynote address by Gerard Brody, CEO Consumer Action Law Centre on how to deliver better outcomes for vulnerable consumers in regulated markets.

  • Showcasing advocacy for vulnerable consumers session with Gordon Renouf, Deputy Chair, Consumers Federation of Australia.

 

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

As part of their customer engagement strategy before submitting their Regulatory Business Plan to the Essential Services Commission, SA Water is inviting customers to provide their views on a range of possible service upgrades.

The email below, introducing the survey, was sent to Consumers SA as a member of the corporation’s residential consumer advisory group:

In just 15 minutes have your say on the water and sewerage service upgrades we are considering investing in.

Every four years, we need to submit a business plan to the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) who then determines the total revenue we can raise from our customers in order to deliver water and sewerage services.

Our Plan 2020-24 will outline how we’ll operate and deliver services for our customers in this year four-year period. It is due to ESCOSA later this year.

We have five initiatives that our customers have told us they value based on previous conversation with the community. Now we need to check you’re willing to pay for them. Each initiative will add to the price services everyone pays for. 

This is an important opportunity, because if enough customers support them, then we will include them in Our Plan 2020-24. 

Participating is easy, simply answer the questions here in our Would You Invest in This? survey. 

Based on your response to each initiative, the survey will provide you with a cost estimate change to your quarterly billed water and sewerage services.

Please tell us what you support before 5pm, Monday 22 April 2019 and help shape water services for South Australia.
If you have any questions, please contact us at watertalks@sawater.com.au or call Andris Versteeg, Manager Customer Research and Insights, on 08 7424 2037. 

Anna Jackson
GM Customer, Strategy and Innovation

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

The following overview of consumer policy issues comes from the most recent Consumer Federation of Australia members’newsetter. 

Reimagining the Corporation: Fiona Guthrie’s speech to the National Consumer Congress

Fiona Guthrie AM, CEO of Financial Counselling Australia, gave an inspiring keynote address at the ACCC 2019 National Consumer Congress.
Read More

2019 CFA Advocacy Prizewinner announced

The 2019 CFA Advocacy Prize was awarded to Financial Counselling Australia for the National Online Gambling Consumer Protection Framework. 
Read More

Button battery safety failures

CHOICE says children’s lives are being jeopardised by business ignoring button battery risk.
Read More

Payment demanded by gift card? It’s a scam

Gift cards are increasingly the payment method of choice for scammers. 

Read More

Telcos warned about disability information failures

The ACMA has formally warned telcos for failing to provide information to consumers with a disability.
Read More

Ban on vendor term and rent-to-buy transactions to make buying a home fairer for all Victorians

The Sale of Land Amendment Bill 2019 has been introduced to Parliament.

Read More

No interest loan plan puts roof-top solar within reach of struggling households

NSW Government to provide no-interest loans for solar and batteries.
Read More

ACCC 2019 focus on consumer guarantees and anti-competitive practices

Large retailers supplying electrical appliances and whitegoods will be a key enforcement priority for the ACCC in 2019.
Read More

Renters must be at centre of reforms, CPRC report finds

Latest research report The Renter’s Journey launched at CPRC Policy Connect Series Forum #1.
Read More

Systemic Insight Report: Sales Practices Driving Consumer Debt

Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman's report recommends that providers improve selling practices to reduce consumer financial over-commitment and debt.
Read More

Trusted Internet of Things service or product

A new set of principles cover the key areas that must be taken into account to create a trusted consumer Internet of Things service or product.
Read More

Going further with a financial counselling review

Following the Royal Commission’s Final Report, The Coalition Government is conducting an immediate review of financial counselling services.
Read more

Know Your Rights When Moving House

The Victorian Government is urging people to be vigilant when hiring a furniture removal company, following an increase in reports about removal and freight services. 
Read more

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Latest in an occasional series of articles from Elaine Attwood about food matters of interest to consumers.

Extending the shelf-life of a product and keeping it fresh is a contradiction in consumers’ minds.

 “Active food packaging” offers increased food safety, improved freshness and reduced food waste, but the idea of a product with a long shelf–life still being fresh is a contradiction to some, according to researchers.

A team working on NanoPack, an EU– funded project under its Horizon 2020 Research and innovation program, has published the results of a study designed to find out what consumers and retailers think about active food packaging technologies.

NanoPack food packaging films can extend the shelf–life of foods by inhibiting microbial growth, improving food safety and reducing food waste. The team is working on a pilot line to “manufacture functional polymer nanocomposites from natural halloysite nanotubes (HNTs); demonstrating controlled-release of antimicrobials in food packaging applications”.

Active food packaging, or nanotechnology, includes anything from antimicrobial polymer films, HNTs, retardation in oxidation, hindered respiratory process, prevention of microbial attack, prevention of moisture infusion, use of CO2 scavengers/emitters, ethylene scavengers, aroma emitters, time–temperature sensors, ripeness indicators, biosensors and sustained release of antioxidants during storage. NanoPack organised 10 focus groups and 10 interviews with consumers and retail managers in China, Spain, Italy, Denmark and Ireland to conduct the survey.

 Source: https://www.foodnavigator.com/News/Food-Safety-Quality/Exten….campaign=27-Feb-2019

Author: Jenny Eagle 27-Feb-2019

Credit:  © 2019 - William Reed Business Media Ltd

 

FoodTech start-up creates portable scanner that detects chemical contamination in food.

 FoodTech start up Inspecto, has developed a portable scanner that detects chemical contamination in food in real-time. It is expected to be commercially available in 2020.

The device, called Inspectro, can detect contaminants at concentration levels as required by regulators, guaranteeing traceability and complete transparency. The scan can be conducted outdoors or indoors, any time to ensure responsible sourcing.

The firm claims the portable scanner brings lab testing to farmers, food manufacturers, and retailers without time-consuming, high cost lab testing. It will be initially introduced in Italy, Spain and France, followed by the US.

Speaking to Avner Avidan, CEO, Inspectro, he said the scanner has the potential to enable for the very first time mass tests for contaminants, which can have a significant impact on our health. “The World Health Organisation released a report in 2017 stating 1 in 10 people become sick from contaminated food. One of the reasons behind this statistic is the industry’s incapability to perform mass testing. This was our vision and drive for launching Inspectro’, he added. “Another impact mass testing will enable is better management around food waste.

Because supply chains will be better managed, we will see less recalls and destruction of disqualified food.”  Avidan said one of the advantages of Inspectro is the ability to tailor its device to the needs of the customer. “Food manufacturers can use it to cut out expensive lab costs and better control the supply chain in terms of quality assurance and traceability,” he said. “Farmers on the other hand may wish to use Inspectro to check the level of pesticides they used to ensure they meet with the regulator’s maximum residue limit. As for retailers, the objective is mostly from a PR point of view.

 Source:  https://www.foodnavigator.com/News/Food-Safety-Quality/Food

Author:  Jenny Eagle

credit:  © 2019 - William Reed Business Media Ltd.

From aged care to mainstream: Flavour Creations’ no–melt ice cream looks to shake up the market.

 Australian food manufacturer and innovator Flavour Creations is looking to cause a stir in the food industry with its no–melt ice cream, which originally formed part of its medical nutrition line.

 “Our main market at home is (currently) residential aged care and hospitals (with) many of our products being found in pharmacies, but with our ice cream, we are looking to go mainstream,” founder and CEO Bernadette Eriksen told FoodNavigator-Asia.

Trends boosting ice cream’s mainstream market suitability

Eriksen explained that one of the major trends supporting the product’s move into mainstream F&B was that of sustainability. “The cost of running cold chain, the environmental impact, is enormous, so we’ve taken that away (and don’t use)  refrigerated trucks or refrigerated containers. We don’t have any cold chain, so it definitely reduces the impact that frozen products generally have,” she said. Additionally, the convenience factor that it promises is appealing to consumers so that “they can bring the ice cream with them wherever they go without worrying about it melting (unlike conventional ice cream)”.

The technology behind this product also ensures that, there is no form of ice crystallisation that occurs even after freezing, (which tends to happen with regular ice cream). This ensures that it stays smooth and creamy even after it is frozen and taken out, and even if frozen again it will still (be that way).” With a good deal of their existing customers being hospital patients or elderly consumers, Eriksen added that nutrition was also a big consideration for the company. “People love ice cream, even (recuperating) patients with poor appetite – but (regular) ice cream isn’t that nutritious, (With that in mind), our ice cream is really energy–dense, it’s got 2.5 g of protein per serving, and it’s gluten–free and nut–free as are all our products,” she said.

 Source:  https://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2019/03/20

Author: Pearly Neo

Credit:  © 2019 - William Reed Business Media Ltd

Note:  For the complete text of these articles please refer to the references provided.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Herbal International Pty Ltd — Complementary Medicines containing Fallopia multiflora

22 Mar 2019

Four complementary medicines containing Fallopia multiflora

An Shen Ding Zhi Wan
ARTG: 79348

Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin
ARTG: 79456

Jiang Zhi Jiao Nang
ARTG: 134445

Shou Wu Sheng Fa
ARTG: 122369

All batch numbers and expiry dates

What are the defects?

These products do not display the required liver warning on the label: 'Fallopia multiflora may harm the liver in some people. Use under the supervision of a healthcare professional.'

In addition, Fallopia multiflora is an undeclared ingredient for An Shen Ding Zhi Wan

What are the hazards?

Users are not warned that they may experience damage to their liver from consumption of the product.

What should consumers do?

Consumers should immediately return the products to their place of purchase.

For more information, contact Herbal International on 02 9212 2498.

Supplier

Herbal International Pty Ltd

Where the product was sold

Nationally

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) Chair Rod Sims yesterday (13 March 2019) addressed the National Consumer Congress and formally announced the Commission’s 2019 Product Safety Priorities.

Mr Sims also spoke about the importance of a general safety provision in Australia to make it illegal to sell unsafe goods; detailed the work the ACCC is doing to protect vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers; and discussed emerging issues in online consumer safety.

Read more

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis