Latest in an occasional series of reports on food matters of interest to consumers, compiled by Consumers SA Executive member Elaine Attwood.
THE PRIME MINISTER’S REPLY TO THE HEALTH COALITION PUSH FOR A SUGAR TAX
Following the recent report from ‘In Daily’ that the Health Coalition were renewing their call for a sugar tax (20/9/17) in Australia, the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, joined the Food and Beverage Industry in rejecting the idea.
Mr. Turnbull said, ‘Australian consumers already pay enough taxes at the supermarket and should not be forced to pay an extra 20% for sweetened drinks.' He further suggested that it (the tax) should not be seen as the solution to Australia’s obesity crisis.
It is estimated that 63% of Australian adults are either overweight or obese. This translates to an estimated annual cost to the health budget of about A$8.6bn.
However, the Prime Minister said the strategy for turning around the situation should centre oneducations, awareness and action. He also said that ‘Labelling is very important, health messages through the media… but also exercise. Get up and walk.’
A statement issued by Australia’s Food and Beverages industry also opposed a sugar tax and stated that a broader approach is needed.
‘We believe there is no single cause or quick fix solution,’ a joint statement released by eight major food and drinks groups led by the Australian Food Grocery Council said.
Source: Free newsletter - Breaking News on Food and Beverage Development and Technology - Asia Pacific 22/9/17: Author: RJ Whitehead : William Reed Business Media .
AUSTRALIAN START-UP WINS FUNDING TO MAKE COFFEE CUPS FROM COFFEE HUSKS
Australian start-up company Huskee has raised more than $114 million via a kickstarter campaign to produce coffee cups and lids made from coffee husks, the layer of cells that coat a coffee bean. The idea for the Huskee cup came from the problems surrounding waste disposal from coffee processing and it is expected to be available from February 2018. At the end of a harvest, coffee farmers manage hundreds of tonnes of husk waste where it has previously been used as a fertiliser supplement and carbonised fuel source.
Saxon Wright, co-founder, HuskeeCup, says as demand for the product increases, he expects the network of farms will have to increase regionally and then internationally. At present the husks are sourced from coffee farms in China in Yunnan province, a special coffee region where members of his team have been working in partnership with local farmers for the last decade.
Wright said, ‘We wanted to create a closed loop system, so we thought if we could use waste from farming to create a cup we could solve problems both at the café and farm level”. Annually 1.35 million tonnes of husk waste is generated globally while the average coffee drinker contributes about 3 kg of husk waste each year.
The design was not without its challenges such as the thermal qualities of the cup during production because it has no handle. The team is already working on a more eco-friendly version of the cup. “We have been researching all kinds of polymers – we want to use CO2 capturing microbes to produce our base biopolymer to blend with our husk” said Wright.
Source: Free Newsletter, breaking news on beverage technology and markets, 25/8/17: Author: Jenny Eagle: William Reed Business Media SAS
SCIENTISTS DEVELOP COOKING OIL TO COMBAT MERCURY POLLUTION
Waste cooking oil from café’s and fast food outlets is being used to capture mercury pollution from Australian mining sites and industrial plants. The technology, developed at Flinders University, is being trialled at mine sites as plans for commercial production take shape.
Mercury leaching into the environment through mining and burning fossil fuel can be a biological disaster, and will soon be regulated by United Nations Convention to prevent harm to humans. Flinders team of scientists, led by Justin Chalker, developed a polymer called sulphur – limonene poly sulphide (S LP) from orange oil in 2015 to tackle the issue. However, the relatively high cost of SLP, its limited application and lack of durability to handle a serious field trial meant the team needed alternatives.
The new polymer has only two ingredients, a second-hand canola oil and sulphur – a common, low-cost byproduct from petroleum production. It can be used in remediation of soil, water and air. After absorbing mercury pollution the rubber like polymer changes colour from brown to black to indicate the job is done. The mercury remains permanently bound in the polymer and can be safely stored without further environmental risk.
“In any industry where mercury is omitted or used intentionally they will most likely be obligated legally to have a clear plan for controlling those admissions and in cases where there is no technology that can be feasibly used at a reasonable price, they will be forced to find other alternatives and we are hoping we can fill that gap,’ Dr Chalker said.
Source: Free Newsletter - Breaking News on Food & Beverage Industry and Technology - Asia Pacific 19/9/17: Author: R.J. Whitehead: William Reed Business Media SAS
‘THE NEXT BIG DISRUPTOR’: PERSONALISED NUTRITION KEY TO AUSSIE SUCCESS AMID INTENSE GLOBAL COMPETITION.
Creating products based on personalised nutrition and sustainable functional foods from waste products, along with improving shelf life by using new technology, offer the biggest growth opportunities for Australian nutrition and food firms in an increasingly competitive global market. That’s the view of James Deverell, director of CSIRO Futures – the national science agency’s strategy and advise division. He recently revealed the organisation had identified these core areas in light of five global trends it saw as shaping nutrition and food industry.
Speaking at the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST) convention in Sydney, he elaborated on the five trends: growing sources of international competition, consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated as global incomes rise, the increase in non-communicable diseases and ageing populations, threats to natural resources, and the need for greater supply chain efficiency.
Deverell then suggested that devising products for particular population groups based on age, weight, sleep patterns or fitness objectives could reap big rewards, while the falling cost of genetic testing could lead to individual solutions for digestive health. “We also know we have many people who are elderly and have a problem with swallowing. They need to increase protein and zinc intake, and we could actually do this through 3D – printed food”, he added.
The second opportunity is creating new functional foods from waste products.
Source: Free newsletter - Breaking News on Supplements, Health and Nutrition - Asia Pacific 22/9/17: Author: Gary Scattergood: William Reed Business Media SAS
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