At the end of February Consumers SA made a detailed submission to the Federal Government’s Review of the Retail Grocery Industry (Unit Pricing) Code of Conduct.

The submission was prepared by John Furbank, the Association’s Honorary Secretary.

John is a compliance consultant specialising in advising industry on compliance with consumer protection legislation and technical standards, Chair, ISO PC 297 Guidance on unit pricing and and Chair, Standards Australia Committee CS-116 Guidance on unit pricing.

Our submission points out that consumers have an enormous number of choices to make when deciding what to buy. These choices are influenced by a range of factors including taste, food preferences, health, social or environmental impact considerations, but also and especially, price. Price transparency is also one way of gaining consumer trust by making purchasing choices easier. Unit pricing assists consumers to get the best value for their money.

The market share of packaged food in Australia is high with supermarkets holding between 30,000 and 50,000 stock-keeping units. Together with the multitude of pack sizes for grocery items, the sheer volume of available products makes it difficult for consumers (particularly vulnerable consumers) to assess and compare their real price and value.

Unit pricing can assist consumers in forming an opinion as to which purchase to make by providing consumers with a base price with which to compare like items (e.g. different sizes and brands of pre-packed goods) and substitute or alternative items (e.g. frozen/canned/loose vegetables).

Our submission makes a number of recommendations designed to ensure compliance with the Code and to make it easier to use, including:

· increasing pro-active enforcement including using the new international standard ISO 21041:2018, Guidance on unit pricing to define prominence and legibility

· increasing consumer education by ACCC and retailers on how to use unit pricing effectively

· placing emphasis on font type and size, colour and contrast, white space, angled shelving for low and high shelves on shelf displays and on-line so that the unit price could be more easily read by consumers particularly the elderly and those with disabilities

· expanding the code to include pharmacies, hardware stores and grocery area of service stations

· providing the ACCC with the power to issue infringement notices for non-compliance.

Download a copy of the full submission here.




Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Bio Living — Nature's Path Envirokidz Gorilla Munch Cereal 284g 

Product description

Nature's Path Envirokidz Gorilla Munch Cereal 284g

Best Before dates 24/08/2019 and 21/09/2019

Identifying features

Batch code 0 58449 86002 0 is above the Best Before date on the pack

What are the defects?

The recall is due to the presence of an undeclared allergen - gluten.

What are the hazards?

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

What should consumers do?

Consumers who have a gluten allergy or intolerance should not consume this product.

Customers should return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund.

For further information, contact Bio Living on (03) 9357 7161 or visit www.bioliving.com.au

Supplier

Bio Living

Traders who sold this product

Independent supermarkets including IGA supermarkets, health food and online retailers

Where the product was sold

Nationally online

Dates available for sale

  • 26 October 2018- 22 February 2019

Janssen-Cilag Pty Ltd — Jurnista Hydromorphone Hydrochloride 8 mg Prolonged Release Tablet Blister Pack

Product description

Jurnista hydromorphone hydrochloride 8 mg prolonged release
14 tablet blister pack
AUST R: 141508
Product Number: AN412056

Batch Number: IALS400
Expiry date: Dec 2019

Jurnista is prescribed for patients with chronic, constant pain that is moderate to severe and expected to be long-lasting. It can only be prescribed by a doctor.

Identifying features

Batch IALS400, Expiry Date Dec 2019

What are the defects?

A manufacturing issue with some blister packs has resulted in damage to the outer coating of some tablets.

What are the hazards?

Damage to the outer coating of the tablets may affect the release rate or dosage of the medicine.

What should consumers do?

Check your Jurnista packaging to see if you have any tablets from batch number IALS400. If so, check the blister packs and tablets for any signs of damage (do not remove tablets from the packaging unless they are going to be consumed straight away). If the blister pack or tablets are damaged do not consume them. Return the entire Jurnista box to your dispensing pharmacy to discuss replacement options.

In the likely event that the blister pack and tablets are not damaged, you should continue to take the medication as prescribed by your doctor.

If you have any questions or concerns about this issue, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. You may also contact Janssen's Medical Information Department on 1800 226 334 or email medinfo@janau.jnj.com

Supplier

Janssen-Cilag Pty Ltd

Where the product was sold

Nationally

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Consumers SA recently received this email from CHOICE:

“You know that unit pricing is crucial to help you compare like for like when you're shopping for groceries. Unfortunately, supermarket errors and inconsistencies mean that the system doesn’t always work.

The good news is, the government is paying attention. They're looking for feedback on the unit pricing system and have opened a public survey. By taking the survey today, you can show the government that thousands of people like you want unit pricing improved and expanded to more stores.

With every response, we can push to strengthen our rights at the supermarket – can you add your voice now?

Take the survey

This link will take you to a government survey hosted by the Treasury, not CHOICE.

When you’re filling out the survey, make sure to watch out for Question 10. This is an opportunity for you to give some longer feedback – you can voice your concerns, share your stories and make suggestions for improving the system. To help you do this, we’ve prepared a guide at the bottom of this email that outlines some of the key issues you can raise.

Thanks for championing better unit pricing,

Linda Przhedetsky
CHOICE

Our guide for Question 10

Here are some pointers and ideas to think about when you get to Question 10. In your response, you don’t have to address every point and you’re welcome to share your personal experiences. The more individual your response, the more likely it will be read and taken on board by the people looking at this survey.

Unit pricing is inconsistent

You might find variations in layout and presentation which make it difficult to scan for unit prices when you’re shopping: some canned foods show the unit prices for drained weight, while others use the total weight as a reference.

When you’re filling out question 10, think: What inconsistencies have I seen while shopping?

Labels aren't always clear and visible

The unit price shown here is far too small to see when you're scanning supermarket shelves. Sometimes unit pricing uses colours, font sizes, language and placement that is difficult to see or interpret, and sometimes it's missing altogether!

Last year, Aldi even went so far as to shrink its unit prices. What standards would you like to see introduced to make unit pricing more visible?

It's not always easy to use unit pricing online

A lack of clear, consistent unit pricing is a problem for those of us who shop for groceries online – you’re unable to see the physical products and compare their sizes.

Sometimes it’s also difficult to accurately sort groceries online according to unit prices. How could using unit pricing online be easier?

Unit pricing isn't available where you shop

Your local Woolworths and Coles have to comply with unit pricing but many smaller stores don’t, like this pharmacy. Do you want to see unit pricing in pharmacies, hardware stores and smaller groceries?

It's hard to raise issues when you find them

Like knowing whether you should speak up at the store or call head office. Would you like to see a simpler way to register complaints about unit pricing?”

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Latest in an occasional series of articles about food issues of concern to consumers from CASA Executive Committee member Elaine Attwood.

Potato chip tongs, ‘drinkable’ chips and selfie cereal spoons: Snack makers are upping the ante in convenience to attract dedicated snackers.

 According to Nielsen, the snacking scenario is a rare global growth story, growing to $3.4 billion business in 2017. Below are a couple of these innovative ideas.

 When eating Doritos, it is inevitable that the snacker’s fingers will get covered in oil and crumbs. Thankfully, Doritos Israel has devised a solution to cope with this problem: the Doritos towel bag, made out of 100% Terry Towel cloth. It is machine washable, making it reusable and sustainable. The towel bag doesn’t replace regular Doritos bags but serves as a novel pouch that suits Doritos bags of various sizes.

 Potato chips and mobile phones are not the best of mates, putting a big divide between snacking and scrolling social media. Aware of the concern among today’s social media mavens of how to scroll through Instagram and snack without greasing up their phones is Japanese snack giant Calbee Inc, which has developed the Chip Tongs. The tongs are designed for one – handed eating, freeing the other to swipe.

 Also aware of the concern among young lovebirds of being able to enjoy a snack without having to relinquish their lover’s hand is another snack producer. Tokyo – based Koike-ya has devised a method that requires only a single hand to consume – essentially by “drinking” the chips. One-Handed Chips come pre-smashed into small pieces that can be easily tumbled into the mouth. The company told the Wall Street Journal the intention was to make it easier for snackers to get the crumbs at the bottom of the bag.

 in 2010 Japanese toymaker Takara Tomy launched the Potechi No. Te, or Potato Chip Hand, a plastic stick with pincers which mimic Mickey Mouse’s iconic white gloves – that can grab hold of a potato chip. At the time the company said it were targeting heavy computer users who were fed up with potato chip oil all over the keyboard and mice.

According to General Mills, breakfast snackers shouldn’t have to choose between eating a bowl of the “good stuff” and posting selfies. The Cinnamon Toast Crunch maker launched the Selfie Spoon in 2015 so it’s “awesome fans” who ‘love to share their obsession with our cereal on social media’. the selfie stick has a spoon at the end and extends up to 30 inches so cereal eaters can take pics of themselves while eating cereal.

 Source: hhtp://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2019/02/08

Author: Gill Hyslop  08-Feb-2019

Credit: © 2019 - William Reed Business Media Ltd

Gluten-free combats bloating but whole grains deliver health benefits.

 A six-year large – scale research study has concluded that gluten – free diets may be good at dealing with bloating but for health benefits such as a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes you should look to whole grains.

 For six years the interdisciplinary Centre for Gut, Grains and Greens, 3G, has examined the effects of either an increased intake of whole grains or a reduced intake of gluten – containing foods. The researchers studied the impact on human health and intestinal bacteria. Central to the 3G collaboration are two comprehensive human studies looking at the effect of eating a diet that is rich in whole grains or low in gluten – containing foods. The first study shows that when people replace refined grain products with whole-grain varieties, the body’s level of inflammation decreases. This lowers the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes.) In particular it has a positive effect on the level of inflammation, the researchers revealed. In contrast, a diet in which refined grain products are replaced with low in gluten food does not provide a detectable change in the body’s content of inflammatory markers. “As such, our studies help to strengthen the scientific evidence behind the dietary advice about using whole grain products for your health, pasta and others cereal – based foods,” noted 3G centre project manager Tine Task Licht, who is a professor at National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark.

 Study participants who switched to a whole-grain diet did not exhibit a “significant” change in the composition of the gut bacteria. However, the low gluten diet resulted in a “drastic” change in the intestinal microbial population. The bifidobacteria bacteria – associated with a healthy gut – disappeared when the diet was low in gluten, researchers found.

 Source: https://www.foodnavigator/Article/2019/02/05

Author: Katy Askew

Credit: © 2019- William Reed Business Media Ltd.

  

Screening for truth: Aussie regulators and experts flagged dubious claims about “sunscreen supplements”

 

Australian regulators and healthcare professionals have called out manufacturers of “sunscreen pills”, saying they are ineffective and possibly even harmful when ingested. Sunscreen pills appeared on the market sometime last year and the makers claim they are able to protect consumers from UV rays and sun damage, implying they are suitable substitutes for the traditional cream, gel and liquid sunscreen formats. The pills are marketed as rich in antioxidants and natural plant extracts that “protect skin from excessive sun exposure and its harmful effects” and “help limit the damage caused by the sun’s rays”. Other claims include the reduction of inflammation and prevention of premature skin ageing.

 

At present, several US – based brands of sunscreen pills are sold in Australia on vitamin websites, though none of these products are listed on the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) ARTG (Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods). in fact, one of the brands had already been flagged in May 2018 by the US FDA for allegedly making “misleading claims”, with FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb saying the manufacturers of sunscreen pills were risking consumers’ health by giving them a “false sense of security”.

 

A TGA spokesperson said that while all supplements and medicines sold in Australia, including sunscreen, were “rigorously monitored for safety”, such products sold on the Internet may not be subject to similar levels of quality control, and could even contain “little or no active ingredients, or ingredients different to those advertised”. In addition to these regulatory measures, experts have disputed the claims made by sunscreen pill makers and strongly advise consumers to rely on traditional sunscreen for sufficient UV protection. For added assurance, Australian Cancer Council spokeswoman, Justine  Osborne advised consumers to purchase only Australian – made sunscreen products.

 

Source:  https://www.nutraingredients-asia.com/Article/2019/01/29

Author: Cheryl Tay 29-Jan-2019

Credit:  © 2019 - William Reed Business media Ltd.

Gluten alert: 3% of Australian on–shelf gluten – free foods found to fail “no detectable gluten” standards.

 An Australian study has found that 3% of food products claimed to be gluten – free and sold on the shelves of common retail outlets contained detectable levels of gluten. The researchers identified 256 “gluten – free” items that were most commonly purchased in Australia and were also obtainable from retail outlets via a consumer activity database, the Nielsen Company Homescan Online. Upon obtaining these items, these were homogenised and analysed for gluten presence. The limits set were 5 mg per kilogram (part per million, PPM) for quantification and one PPM for detection. The relevant manufacturers were quickly informed if  detectable gluten  was identified. Seven samples (3%) from six manufacturers contained detectable gluten levels of up to 49 PP M), said the report.

 Although three percent may seem like a small number, this could have long – term negative effects  for consumers with  gluten allergies, sensitivities or coeliac disease who need to stay away from gluten protein. Speaking to ABC news, researcher Jason Tye-Din said: ‘coeliac disease can cause multiple effects on the body apart from just a tummy upset – issues like anaemia, infertility, liver disease, some forms of cancer and osteoporosis. Even though the vast majority of products are very safe, there is a signal here that perhaps there could be an improvement in practices. People who require a strict gluten-free diet should be able to trust it conforms to the national standard and that it will be safe for them to eat.

Source: The Medical Journal of Australia

Study: Gluten in Gluten- free’ manufactured foods in Australia: a cross-sectional study.

Authors: Halmos, EP. et al

http://dx.doi.org/10,5694/mja18.00457

 Source: https;//www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2019/01/17

Author: Pearly neo 17-Jan-2019

Credit:  © 2019 - William Reed Business Media Ltd.

CRISPR for coeliacs? Gene-Editing tech makes ‘wheat with safe gluten’

 Gene – editing technology can be used to remove epitopes – the molecules responsible for inducing coeliac disease in susceptible individuals – from wheat, according to recent research.

Research conducted at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands and at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany  (NIAB) in the UK has found that gene technology 

CRISPR-Cas9 can be used to remove epitopes from gliadin protein in Gluten. Gluten, which is found in wheat grains, contains a mixture of glutenin and gliadin proteins. A majority of gliadins and a number of glutenins contain certain immunogenic epitopes that cause the allergic reaction responsible for coeliac disease in susceptible individuals.

In her PhD thesis, researcher Aurelie Jiouanin identified that CRISPR-Cas9 technology, which can make precise changes in a plant’s genome,  can edit out certain immunogenic epitopes. Not all gliadins were edited out, and as a result the wheat plants were not classified “safe” for celiacs  but Jouanin developed methods to identify which genes had changed, and which ones still required modification. Jouanin’s research does not suggest that all gluten be removed from wheat, just the epitopes that can induce coeliac disease, she continued. “If the epitopes are taken out, or changed, then the gluten proteins will not trigger the immunogenic response and people suffering from the disease could eat all kinds of products containing this safe gluten,” said Visser. (Richard Visser is the chair and head of plant breeding at the Wageningen University and Research.)

Source:  https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2019/01/29

Author: Flora Southey 29-Jan-2019

Credit:  © 2019 - William Reed Business Media Ltd.

Note:  For full transcript of all articles please refer to the references.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

The ACCC’s Scamwatch is warning members of the public about a spate of text messages asking for emergency assistance. These messages are coming from phone numbers not in your mobile contacts. For example, the text message might read, ‘Please call me back right away. It is an Emergency I need your help!’

People who have called the number back report being verbally abused by a recording on the other end. This is a new and emerging issue. While people have not yet reported losing money as a result of these calls, you may find the content of the recording distressing. Scamwatch therefore advises that you exercise caution or do not respond to these text messages.


Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

A personal perspective from Pam Moore, Consumer Health Advocate and Consumers SA Executive Committee member .

I am person who was in favour of Electronic Health Records, now known as My Health Record (MHR), and attended some early implementation meetings as a consumer representative prior to their role out in 2012.  In early 2017 as a person with several health conditions who was travelling around Australia, I asked my GP to link me into the MHR system.  

Prior to MHR when travelling I always carried a letter from my GP which included all my medical conditions, medications, immunisations and specialists contact details.  This letter also contained a copy of my most recent blood tests.  As I travelled around and had more blood tests I would obtain a copy of the blood test results and keep that with the letter, so I had an accurate complete record.  

Whilst travelling in early 2017 I did have an incident which made me wonder about the benefits of MHR.  I went to a rural GP explaining I had MHR.  The response was “I believe you but would prefer you to tell me your history yourself”.  This seems the reverse of the purpose of MHR.

In November I was asked by CASA to write an article about “My Health Record” to assist consumers decide whether to opt in or out.  

As research for the article I went on to my own “MHR” which highlighted a number of significant concerns and made me question the benefits. 

Concerns included:

  • wrong information

A locum visited me, told me to go immediately to hospital emergency department (ED).  The locum’s suspected diagnosis was incorrect but was recorded in MHR.  Had I not checked and removed the information, this would have be taken as fact. Travel Insurance doctors can access MHR, and had they seen that I had X when I had stated I hadn’t had this, it could void travel insurance. (The ED diagnosis was not uploaded.)

  • incomplete information

The Clinical Records page has several subcategories – 

Diagnostic Imaging Reports: only contained Public Hospital Reports from 1 hospital, the Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH) - an August 2017 admission.  I have had other diagnostic imaging, over the 2 year period, but from private providers. These were not recorded.

Discharge Summaries: only contained summaries from RDH from August 2017. I had discharges from 2 Adelaide private hospitals which were not recorded.

E-Referrals: none recorded, even though my Adelaide GP had done these.  

Event Summaries: nothing recorded.

Pathology Reports: only contain pathology from RDH for August 2017, even though I have had blood tests at least 12 times over the 2 year period, many as a public patient in Adelaide and rurally, as well as a private patient.

Shared Health Summaries: only the initial January 2017 Shared Health Summary. There have been 3 GP Management Plan updates since this time. For people who have these plans, they would be a far more reliable source of information.

Specialist Letters: none recorded even though I have 3 regular specialists, 1 as a public patient and 2 as a private patient.   

  •  misleading information (also has incomplete information)

Medications: Lists all prescriptions written by my GP, (but none from RDH, where I was prescribed strong painkillers) or from my 3 specialists who had also written scripts. 

As a person with a compromised immune system I need to travel with 4 different types of antibiotics and have repeats of all of these.  

However MHR only shows the number of scripts written, with many of these not being dispensed. The MHR prescribing/dispensing page states dispensing records -not available. The information available could lead other medical practitioners to come to the conclusion that I continually take antibiotics.

  • immunisation record

No information – I phoned MHR regarding some of my concerns, including having no immunisation records.  The person suggested I contact the Australian Immunisation Register to have this information included.

  •  The major flaw with MHR

The MHR system records uploaded files from different health facilities, but the information in these files isn’t transposed  into the relevant summary areas within MHR, which in many cases remains blank. Therefore the information is recorded in a disparate and disorganised way that makes the MHR unclear and useless.

  •  In summary

The only part of my MHR that was up to date and complete was my Allergy and Adverse Reaction page which stated I have 1 allergy.  Everything else was either out of date or absent.  In principal the concept of MHR is of benefit, but such a system has to be accurate and up to-date otherwise incorrect information can result in detrimental outcomes.  So should you stay in the MHR system or opt out (which you can do at any time).  Unless people opted out by 1 February, their medical records will be uploaded to MHR.

 I understand that I can add to the MHR information but feel far more comfortable with my GPs letter, which spells out all my conditions, my current medications, the list of my specialists, their contact details and the most recent blood tests. As I travel I can obtain copies of blood tests and put in my file.  This does have shortcomings, namely should both my husband and myself be unconscious people might not be aware that I carry an accurate medical summary.

 consumers Before deciding what to do I also suggest visit the Australian Privacy Foundation at https://privacy.org.au/campaigns/myhr/.  They report MHR has cost in excess of $2 billion, with an annual running cost of $500 million.  (This report suggests if I want it to be accurate I need to do it myself. I was never aware of this.  Is this information correct?) 

MHR was introduced in 2012 and the problems I have found with MHR personally lead me to question its benefits.  Having MHR gave me a false sense of security that my accurate medical information was readily available to any medico I may seek treatment from.  I suggest consumers think carefully before allowing their medical records to be uploaded onto MHR.  

I believe there are benefits for health consumers who do not carry their own personal health care summaries to opt in to MHR, but suggest for consumers who have complex and constantly changing health factors they consider annually obtaining health summaries from their GP and making their own record.

 

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

There has been some recent publicity on the possibility of lead contamination from brass taps so we thought some more information on this issue would be helpful.

Brass is an alloy of predominately copper and zinc with small additions of lead (1.5 – 3.5%) which are added to the alloy to improve the properties of the material so it can be cast and readily machined into the taps we all know. Brass and other alloys can corrode and release very small amounts of metals when they are in contact with drinking water. Lead particles in the brass can dissolve into the water but the rate of dissolution or leaching depends on the brass alloy and the corrosivity of the water. The extent of the metal dissolution will depend on factors such as water quality, temperature and time of stagnation and can result in minute amounts of metals being leached into the water. Certainly for brass alloys very small amounts of lead can be leached into the water.

All components used in both water utility and domestic applications are required to conform to the requirements of the Australian- New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4020 - Testing of products for use in contact with drinking water. This is a very comprehensive standard and involves a series of seven tests which are carried out in both hot and cold water. One of the tests is for assessing the leachability of metals where sample of the metal are left in contact with water for various lengths of time up to 72 hours after which the water is analysed for the presence of metals.

The standard recognises that plumbing and water supply systems are made up with different materials so the assessment of an individual component needs to be carefully considered in the context that it may be only a small part of the system. From a practical point of view the Standard adopts the use of scaling factors to ensure that the results are relevant and representative of real life situations and still safe to ensure the materials do not have any detrimental impacts to consumers’ health. The scaling factor determination can be quite complicated but for illustration purposes let’s consider a standard garden tap. The tap when closed has approximately 8-10 ml of water in contact with the brass and over time there may be some small amounts of lead which leach into that small volume of water. The maximum limits for lead in Australia and the rest of the world are 10 parts per billion (ppb) so let’s assume there was 20 ppb in that little bit of water in the tap. There’s no lead in any of the connecting pipe materials. If you run a glass of water (approx. 200 ml) from the tap, the water that was in contact with the brass will be diluted by 20 to 25 times so the amount of lead in that full glass of water would be less than 1 ppb – well below the 10 ppb maximum. This simple analogy is used for all products that are approved to be used in the water supply systems and ensures that there are no harmful materials that can contaminate the water to the detriment of consumers.

The water agencies and standards ensure that products used in the water supply do not contaminate drinking water. It’s unfortunate that the issue of lead leaching from brass wasn’t reported correctly causing unnecessary concern for consumers.

Greg Moore,

B App Science, Metallurgy. CMatp

ACA Corrosion Technologist

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Standards Australia recently announced that it had won the right to move beyond exclusive distribution arrangements with SAI Global after an independent arbitration determined that any extended distribution agreement with SAI Global will be non-exclusive.

The exclusive distribution arrangements have been in place with SAI Global since 2003.

A process is continuing in relation to how the arbitrator's decision will be implemented. Standards Australia is committed to getting to the end of this process as quickly as it can, sometime later this year.

In the meantime, Australian Standards® will continue to be distributed through SAI Global.

Richard Brooks, Standards Australia’s Chairman, said the arbitration decision was an exciting step towards delivering greater value and improving access to Australian Standards®, while building capability and external partnerships to deliver new methods of distribution to end users.

“Standards Australia has been aiming to make Australian communities safer, help our economy grow and connect our nation to the world for almost 100 years,” Mr Brooks said.

“Improving every aspect of our work – from how we connect with contributors, to how we foster innovation and how we distribute our content has been a major part of our agenda.”

“However, as the world of publishing changes, we must also change to continue our strong, positive contribution to the community and empower those who use our content.”

Standards Australia is exploring additional distribution channels as the first stage of its transition.

The second stage of transition will start with an open process of consultation with stakeholders to understand how the current and future distribution models can deliver easier access for those who use Standards Australia’s content.

Bronwyn Evans, Standards Australia’s Chief Executive Officer emphasised the importance of stakeholder engagement as part of the transition.

“Operating an open and transparent process is our core business. This is an opportunity to design a Standards Australia of the future that relies on all interested stakeholders, whose support and contribution will be vital in the improvement and innovation in the distribution of Australian Standards®,” Dr Evans said.

“We strongly believe we can deliver better solutions by working together.”

Standards Australia will be providing details on its consultation over the coming months.


Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

BlueSkyGreenEarth Herbs Pty Ltd — OA/RA Capsules

4 Feb 2019

Product description

OA/RA capsules
Batch No: 17098003

OA/RA is an Ayurvedic product that is indicated for temporary pain relief of osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Identifying features

Use by date: 1 August 2020

What are the defects?

A single batch (Batch 17098003) of OA/RA Capsules are being recalled due to contamination with a substance that poses an unacceptable risk to health. This product has also been withdrawn from the Australian market and will no longer be available for supply.

TGA testing has found that the currently available batch of the product is contaminated with very low levels of aristolochic acid.

What are the hazards?

Aristolochic acid is included in Schedule 10 to the Poisons Standard, which lists substances considered to pose an unacceptable risk to health. There is no established safe exposure level to aristolochic acids, which have been linked to kidney problems and urinary tract cancers.

What should consumers do?

If you or someone you provide care for takes OA/RA capsules, please be alert to this issue and discontinue use immediately. The product should not be consumed.

If you have any OA/RA capsules, the remaining product can be returned to the place of purchase for a refund.

If you have any questions or concerns about this issue, talk to your health professional or contact 1300 133 807.

Supplier

BlueSkyGreenEarth Herbs Pty Ltd

Traders who sold this product

Various herbalists, practitioners and health stores - including in South Australia

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

In releasing a Disussion Paper entitled, Turning the Tide on Single Use Plastic Products, the Minister for Environment and Water, David Spiers MP said recently:

“I am committed to keeping South Australia at the forefront of recycling and resource recovery while also increasing economic activity and creating jobs. Much of what we refer to as wastes are in fact resources that we should strive to keep circulating within the economy. South Australia is well placed to build on the success of existing legislation for beverage containers and singleuse plastic bags. A similar approach could be used for a wide range of other single-use plastic products, which, like plastic bags, are largely intended for disposal after a single-use, and for many of these products there remains no feasible recycling pathway.

The Marshall Government is seeking your ideas and eedback on how we as a state can better protectour natural resources and environment from impacts associated with single-use or throwaway plastic products.

Additionally, ten years on from the last change to the popular Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), it is time to consider opportunities to further improve the scheme, including in terms of its contribution to recycling. We are seeking your feedback on the issues and opportunities to be considered in a review of the CDS.

Continuing to find innovative solutions that reduce waste, improve our environment and benefit our community is critical to ensuring South Australia continues to lead the nation in waste management.

I welcome your feedback on these important issues.”

Comments on the paper can be provided in writing or online, including by undertaking a short survey, at: yoursay.sa.gov.au.

Download a copy of the discussion paper by clicking here.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Latest in an occasional series of articles about food issues of concern to consumers from CASA Executive Committee member Elaine Attwood.

‘Protein Glue’ processing  aids could trigger coeliac disease, say UK researchers. 

A bacterial enzyme used to improve food quality and extend a product’s shelf life in processed foods may be a cause of coeliac disease, says report.

Microbial transglutaminase is a processing aid used in the industrial manufacture of meat, dairy, and baked products. According to a recent review published in Frontiers in Paediatrics,the bacterial enzyme could be a trigger of paediatric coeliac disease. “Microbial transglutaminase  can glue together proteins, so it is used to improve food texture, palatability and shelf life,” explained co-author Aaron Lerner in a statement. The enzyme functions like the endogenous tissue transglutaminse - an “undisputable” key trigger in coeliac disease initiation and development.

While transglutaminase is produced naturally by our own gut microbes, the scale of the bacterial enzyme used in processed foods can affect the body’s response, Lerner explained. Our own transglutaminase has a different structure to the microbial sort, which allows its activity to be tightly controlled. Lerner highlighted that more research is required before definite links can be made between the enzyme and paediatric disease. This raises an interesting question regarding processing aids and labelling protocol in Europe:  Under EU law, food manufacturers are not required to list processing aids such as microbial transglutaminase, on food labels.

 Source: Frontiers in Pediatrics, published online: 3 January, 2019

‘Microbial Transglutaminase is immunogenic and Potentially Pathogenic in Pediatric Celiac Disease’

DOI: https://doio.org/10.3389/fped.2018.00389

Authors: Matthias Torsten, Aaron Lerner

 Source:  https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article2019/01/07

Author: Flora Southey

Credit: 2019 - William Reed Business Media Ltd.

‘Purposeful packaging’:  Mineral coating keeps food fresh and reduces waste.

Coating the packaging of fresh fruit and vegetables with a blend of minerals and clay can extend the shelf life by up to two to four days and reduce food waste, says UK company, It’s Fresh!

The additive, called Infinite, works by absorbing the natural ripening hormone, ethylene. It’s Fresh spent around four years developing the active ingredient - a proprietary blend of minerals and clay - while the ‘Infinite film’ delivery system took a further 3 years.  The active ingredient can be printed directly on to existing packaging for fruit, vegetables and flowers.  The coating is more efficient than other methods currently used because it is non-invasive and can be used in packs of ‘naked’; untreated or uncoated fruit, said It’s Fresh!, a division of chemical supplier Food Freshness Technology Holdings.  ‘It is genuinely trying to reduce food wastage and which will, in turn, reduce the amount of packaging needed coverall as the produce lasts longer’,  co-founder, Simon Lee said.  Packaging for fruit and vegetables tends to be plastic but Infinite active can be added to other substrates such as carton, paper, board and plastic substitutes.

 Source: https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2018/12/12

Author: Niamh Michail

Credit: 2018- William Reed Business Media Ltd.

Processed meat under fire over nitrate cancer risk

A coalition of scientists, medical professionals and politicians in the UK have called for nitrates to be removed from processed meats, insisting that consumption off the additives can be linked got the development of bowel cancer.  Leading the call are Queen’s University Belfast’s Professor Chris Elliot, who headed up the government’s horsemeat inquiry, and NHS consultant cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra. ‘There is a consensus of scientific opinion that nitrites in processed meats result in the production of carcinogenic nitrosamines - and therefore an increase cancer risk for those who regularly consume traditional bacon and ham’, the statement read. 

Sodium and potassium salts of nitrite and nitrate (E249-252) are used by food manufacturers as preservatives and colour fixing agents in meat products, and to prevent bacterial infections such as Clostridium Botulinum.  In 2015 the World Health Organisation published data linking processed meat consumption to 34,000 cases of colorectal cancer worldwide each year. The Who suggested that nitrites and nitrosamines are a likely cause.

 Source: https://www.foodnavigator.com.article/2019/01/03

Author: Katy Askew

Credit: 2019 - William Reed Business Media Pty.

Review finds no ‘compelling evidence’ to suggest  non-sugar sweetener health benefits.

Studies investigating the potential health benefits of non-sugar sweeteners have failed to reveal ‘compelling’ evidence linking the product with weight loss and improved health, say European researchers. Toews et al’s systematic review, published in the British Medical Journal today (January 3) analyses 56 reports comparing  o intake, or lower intake, of non-sugar sweeteners (NSS), with elevated co summation in both healthy adults and children. Weight, glycemic control, cancer, kidney disease, mood and behaviour were among the measures assessed.

‘There was no compelling evidence to indicate important health benefits of non-sugar sweetener use on a range of health outcomes,’ wrote the authors, adding that ‘potential harms from the consumption of non-sitar sweeteners could not be excluded.’

The Calorie Control Council and the International Sweeteners Association have discounted the review , the latter citing the review having ‘serious limitations’.

 Source: British Medical Journal published online 3 January 2019.

 ‘Association between intake of non-sugar sweeteners and health outcomes: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised and non-randomised controlled trials and observational studies’    

DOI:http//:doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k4718

Authors: Ingrid Toews, Szimonetta Lohner, Daniela Kullenberg de Gaudry, Harriet Sommer, Joerg J Meerpohl.

Source: http://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2019/01/03 

Author: Flora Southey

Credit:  2019 William Reed Business Media Pty. 

 Note:  Please check references for full articles.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Beijing Tong Ren Tang Australia Pty Ltd — Bronchi-cough Pill (Qiguanyan Kesou Tanchuanwan)

9 Jan 2019

Product description

Listed herbal product used for the relief of bronchial cough.

Batch Number: 4080015
Expiry: 31/03/2019
(300 pills per bottle)

Batch Number: 16080020
Expiry: 30/06/2021
(300 pills per bottle)

Identifying features

Use by date: 30 June 2021

What are the defects?

Traces of both Aristolochic Acid and Amygdalin have been found in one batch and only Amygdalin being found in another.

This issue does not affect any other batches of Bronchi-cough Pills (Qiguanyan Kesou Tanchuanwan) or any other products supplied by Beijing Tong Ren Tang.

What are the hazards?

Aristolochic Acid has been linked to serious adverse effects related to kidney function. Ingestion even in small amounts may be harmful.

Consumers who are concerned about the use of this product should seek medical attention.

What should consumers do?

Affected consumers should cease use of the product immediately and return the pills to the place of purchase for a refund.

Consumers can also phone Beijing Tong Ren Tang Australia Pty Ltd customer service line on 1300 287 828 to arrange the return of the affected products for a full refund.

Consumers should seek medical assistance should they have any concerns in relation to the pills.

Supplier

Beijing Tong Ren Tang Australia Pty Ltd

Traders who sold this product

Various independent pharmacies and herbal medicine stores

Where the product was sold

Nationally

Dates available for sale

  • 6 December 2016- 27 August 2018

  • 8 September 2014- 11 April 2017

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

 On Monday 17 December in Adelaide, Solar Citizens launched a report entitled ‘Australia’s Rooftop RealEstate.’  In this document it is claimed that Australia is a world-leader in the residential uptake of solar PV - but across the country we’ve only just begun tapping into the extraordinary potential for rooftop solar.

 The report was commissioned by Solar Citizens and depicts the progress that Australian households have made towards re-powering our nation with clean, affordable solar.

The report states that at present the capacity of residential PV currently installed is 6 GW but the potential of residential PV capacity is from 43- 61GW. In other words we have utilised less than 1/6 of our available residential rooftop real estate. This is because close to 80% of stand-alone houses are yet to get PV. ’Considering Australia’s largest coal-fired power station is 2.88GW, the findings of this report demonstrate the capacity that rooftop solar has to transform our energy system’ claims the Report.

 Some statistics from the report show:-

  •             21.6% of all stand-alone houses in Australia now have a PV system installed.

  •             residential PV accounts for 61% of installed PV capacity in Australia.

  •             electricity generated from distributed PV grew 33% year-on-year over the last ten years 

  •             the distributed PV saved the equivalent 7.4 millions tonnes of carbon dioxide from                     

    being produced by Australia’s electricity sector in just one year

  •             in the year to August 2018, distributed solar generated approximately 3% of Australia’s 

    total energy consumption.

 Further statistics show some individual local government areas with the percentage of households with solar PV.  Of interest to South Australians are the following Local Government areas:

  • Mallala - 47.4%

  • Light     - 42.5%

  • Alexandrina - 42.3%

  • Orroroo/Carrieton - 41.9%

  • Barossa - 41.8%

 The report acknowledges that there are barriers that block renters, people living in apartments and low-income households from accessing the cost and environmental benefits of rooftop PV and suggest that these barriers need to be broken down.

In view of the above, Solar Citizens have made the following policy recommendations:-

 1.         directly fund the the installation of solar on public and community housing stock

2.         provide rebates as well as no-interest loans to support low-income and vulnerable

            households access solar

3.         implement schemes that incentivise solar on rental properties and enable landlords

            and tenants to split the benefits

4.         offer small grants, rebates, low-interest or no-interest loans to body corporates

            to allow for the installation of solar PV on apartment blocks

5.         reduce unnecessary administrative and regulatory barriers to apartment residents

            sharing solar energy through embedded networks.

6.         reform electricity network tariffs to enable households to sell their excess solar generation

            to their neighbours

7.         support solar gardens for people whose rooftops can’t host a panel itself.   

 The report concludes that across Australia, various government programs are helping more households and businesses relieve their electricity bill stress with solar PV.

From Victoria’s Solar Homes program to Queensland’s initiative to provide no-interest loans for houses wanting to go solar, there is work being done to keep rolling out rooftop solar. But with so much sunny rooftop real estate left untapped, there are abundant opportunities left for all levels of government to smash through the roadblocks that are stopping households from producing their own sun-power.

The full report is publicly available from www.solarcitizens.org.auand shows the research behind the report.

Elaine Attwood 

21/12/18

 

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Lao Gan Ma Chilli Oil 280g, 275g, 210g

4 January 2019

Product description

Lao Gan Ma Chilli Oil 280g, 275g, 210g

Batch 19062018 with best before 181219,
Batch 19072018 with best before 1182018,
Batch 25042018 with best before 24062019

What are the defects?

The recall is due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (peanut).

What are the hazards?

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

What should consumers do?

Consumers who have a peanut 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 Kambow Wholesaler Pty Ltd on 03 9768 2068.

Supplier

Kambow Wholesaler Pty Ltd

Traders who sold this product

Asian supermarkets

Where the product was sold

South Australia

Tasmania

Victoria

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Latest in a regular series of reports on food matters of interest to consumers, compiled by Consumers SA Executive member Elaine Attwood.

Foodbank Australia CEO: Achieving UN goals a pipe dream amid “shameful” food waste and security woes.

 Australia has a multi – million food waste problem, alongside massive simultaneous food insecurity and hunger issues, meaning it is a long way off meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals the CEO of Foodbank Australia has told us. (Food Navigator)

 Brianna Casey said it was shameful that the country had an A$ 20 billion food waste problem at the same time that one in five Australian children had experienced food insecurity, said Casey. Food insecurity, defined by the United Nations as “a situation that exists when people lack secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life”, is surprisingly common in Australia. “Put in simple terms, it is not having the means by which to regularly and routinely put a meal on the table, or experiencing uncertainty about where your next meal might be coming from,” explained Casey. The 2017 Foodbank Hunger Report found that 3.6 million Australians experienced food insecurity in the last 12 months (and) Foodbank’s Rumbling Tummies report (..) found that more than one in five Australian children have experienced food insecurity in the last 12 months. This makes food insecurity one of the most significant social policy challenges facing Australian communities today,” she added.

According to Australia’s National Food Waste Strategy $A20b is lost to the Australian economy through food waste, with problems occurring all the way along the supply chain. This starts from the farm where up to 25% of all vegetables produced never making it off the premises, all through to households with 3.1 million tonnes of edible food disposed of yearly. “Australia produces enough food for at least 60 million people, so the issue is not so much that there is not enough food, but that the food isn’t getting to the right places in the right time to avoid waste and help address food insecurity,” said Casey.

Source:  https://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2018/10/23

Author: Pearl Neo

Credit:  2018 William Reed Business Media Ltd.

 

Several shortcomings or a solid start? Academics and industry disagree over Health Star Rating for Aussie beverages.

 A recent Australian study has identified the selective and partial uptake of the voluntary Health Star Rating (HSR) system for beverages as ‘shortcomings’, a finding that has received short shrift from the nation’s beverage sector.  The University of Adelaide study was conducted via a survey on the labels of 762 ready to drink (RTD) beverages of no more than 600 ml in volume, which were nondairy and non-alcoholic. Samples were collected from 17 Australian supermarkets in 2016, and the presence of the HSR star rating icon and/or energy only icon was measured. It was found that the HSR was used for only 35.3% of all beverages surveyed. Within these, only 6.8% displayed a star rating icon, and these were almost all five stars (94.2%) or 4.5 stars (5.8%) the majority of these drinks were found to be 100% juices (85.7%), despite the fact that had high or very high sugar content.

Under the Australian and New Zealand scheme, fruit juices can also be eligible to receive a five star rating, which is a shortcoming of the scheme. It was particularly concerning to find that the five-star rating is being used on juices high or very high in sugar.”  The HSR system is not compulsory in Australia as of yet, as system allows for beverages to display just the energy only icon, without displaying the star rating icon. Author Brownbill suggests that the current scoring - which allows juices high in sugar to score 5 stars - may work to mislead consumers. The five-star rating should be reserved only for water.” However the Australian Beverages Council is standing steadfastly behind the HSR’s current implementation and does not appear to agree with Brownbill’s findings. 

Source:  https://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2018/10/16

Author: Peary Neo

Credit: 2018 William Reed Business Media Ltd.

Health Star Ratings: Whats on the labels of Australian beverages?

Authors: Brownbill, A L. et al

https://doi.org/10.1002/hpja.197

Health promotion Journal of Australia 

 

ScanUp: The app that tells consumers if food is ‘ultra-processed’ and helps manufacturers reformulate.

 The developers of ScanUp, a French app that allows consumers to scan food products and see just how “processed” or “ultra processed” they are, are working with manufacturers to develop single products that score more highly. Founded by business strategist Camille Pechery and IT engineer Adrien Dumitresco, ScanUp is a free to use, consumer facing app that provides information on the degree of food processing and healthiness of a product, awarding a score ranging from “unprocessed” to “ultra processed”. The duo launched the app in 2017 so that consumers could“make the right food choices”. One year later, ScanUp launched a second service – a platform between consumers and brands so that consumers can find the unprocessed products they are looking for. ScanUp’s database currently has around 450,000 products listed with 70,000 active users. According to the co-founder the main goal of ScanUp is to encourage healthy reformulation. “We want to bring transparency to consumers on the degree of processing of products to enable them to choose the products of better quality. In parallel, we strongly encourage manufacturers to reformulate their products and we support them in this strategy.”

Source:  https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2018/12/04

Author: Niamh Michail

Credit:  2018 William Reed Business Media Ltd

 

Nestlé to create Institute of Packaging Sciences to tackle global waste problem.

 Nestlé says is going to address the growing packaging waste problem by creating a Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences, in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Institute will employ about 50 people and include a laboratory and facilities for rapid prototyping, with a focus on the “discovery and development of functional, safe and environmentally friendly packaging”.

 It says it will research recyclable, biodegradable and compostable polymers, functional paper, new packaging concepts and technologies to increase the recyclability of plastic packaging, which will be tested in different product categories before rolling out across its global portfolio. The Institute will be operational mid-2019. It will discover and examine new packaging materials in terms of safety, environmental impact and functionality, in close collaboration with other parts of Nestlé research, e.g. in the field of safety and analytics. It will work closely with academic partners, start-ups and suppliers. New materials will then be tested and applied across categories at Nestlé’s Product Technology Centres (around 30 worldwide), before rolling them out commercially,’a Nestlé spokesman said.

Source: https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2018/12/06

Author: Jenny Eagle

Credit:  2018 William Reed Business media Ltd.

NOTE:  For the full transcript of these articles please refer to the references provided.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Aldi Stores — Colway Real Mayonnaise 466g

6 Dec 2018

Product description

Colway Real Mayonnaise 466g
All Best Before dates are affected by this recall

Identifying features

SKU Barcodes 26212425 or 4088700023709

What are the defects?

The recall is due to faulty packaging and potential for glass breakage.

What are the hazards?

Faulty packaging could cause injury or result in glass contamination.

What should consumers do?

Consumers should not consume this product and should return the product to the place of purchase for a full cash refund. 

For further information, contact ALDI Food Recall Hotline on 1800 709 993.

Supplier

Aldi Stores

Traders who sold this product

All ALDI Stores in Australia

Patties Foods Ltd — Nanna's Family Apple Pie 600g

6 Dec 2018

Product description

Nanna's Family Apple Pie 600g

Best Before dates 21/10/2020 and 22/10/2020

What are the defects?

The recall is due to the potential presence of glass in an ingredient used in the 600g Nanna's Family Apple Pie. This is a result of an equipment failure with the supplier. No other Nanna's products are affected by this recall.

What are the hazards?

Food products containing glass may cause injury if consumed.

What should consumers do?

Consumers should not eat this product and should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

For further information contact 1800 650 069 or info@patties.com.au

Supplier

Patties Foods Ltd

Traders who sold this product

Coles
Woolworths
IGA
Franklins
Independent stores

Where the product was sold

Nationally

Dates available for sale

1 November 2018 - 27 November 2018

Charlesworth Nuts — Various Products with Dried Apricot as an Ingredient

5 Dec 2018

Product description

The following products are affected by this recall:

Diced Dried Apricots 500g
Best Before 10 June 2019 and 15 July 2019

Almond 'n' Apricot Cluster 500g
Best Before 10 June 2019

White Apricot 'n' Honey Peanut Cluster 500g
Best Before 15 July 2019

Cluster Collection 500g bag
Best Before 10 June 2019

Grandma Charlesworth's Christmas Cake 1605g
Best Before 02 June 2019

Jolly Little Puddin' Muffins 740g
Best Before 02 June 2019

Santa's Favourite Pudding 740g
Best Before 02 June 2019

Cluster Collection (gift pack) 430g
Best Before 02 June 2019

The Trendy Gourmet 1220g
Best Before 02 April 2019

What are the defects?

The recall is due to the presence of foreign matter (metal fragments).

What are the hazards?

Food products containing metal fragments may cause injury if consumed.

What should consumers do?

Consumers should not eat these products and should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund. 

For further information, consumers should contact Charlesworth Nuts on (08) 8296 8366.

Supplier

Charlesworth Nuts

Traders who sold this product

Charlesworth Nuts online store and retail stores, independent retailers, wineries and cafes in South Australia and Victoria.

Where the product was sold

Nationally



Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) today issued a press release warning people to be careful about being caught out by holiday season scams. The release reads:

“Scammers will take advantage of special days or major events like Christmas to fleece people of their money or personal information,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

Here are three common holiday season scams people should look out for:

Online shopping scams: scammers will set up fake online stores or post goods for sale in buy‑swap-sell groups or online classified sites to trick people into buying items that don’t exist. This scam has cost Australians nearly $3 million in 2018, with more than 8,700 reports.Travel scams: scammers trick people into believing they’ve won a holiday or scored a really good deal on a travel package, like a cruise. Unfortunately the prize or the cheap accommodation are phony. In 2018, nearly $135,000 has been lost to this scam.Parcel delivery scams: scammers may ask you to print off a label, do a survey, claim a prize, or view the status of your delivery by clicking on a link or downloading an attachment. Some scammers may even call or text with claims about an unsuccessful delivery. These scams are aimed at getting people to download malware onto their computer, or give up their personal information. People have lost about $31,000 to these scams in 2018.

“Scamwatch has also seen a massive influx of reports and money lost to tax scams. In November we received 7,500 reports of these scams and $400,000 was reported lost,” Ms Rickard said.

“This isn’t a usual holiday season scam, however a lot of people are getting calls from scammers pretending to be from the tax office or the police and threatening them with arrest over unpaid tax debts.”

“This is a scam. If you ever get a call or email containing threats like this, hang up the phone or delete the email,” Ms Rickard said.

Ms Rickard added that the key to avoiding a scammer’s con these holidays is a healthy dose of scepticism and research.

“We love snagging a great deal online for a loved one’s Christmas present and the idea of a bargain holiday is perfect for many after a long year. But don’t fall for it,” Ms Rickard said.

“Be sceptical about an online store you haven’t used before. Do some research to see if they’re legitimate and don’t be fooled by big discounts. With travel deals, call the accommodation provider directly, for example the cruise line or hotel, to check if the deal is legitimate.”

“If you see a seemingly great deal on an accommodation rental website like Airbnb, make sure you only communicate and pay through the official site to avoid getting stung by a fake listing,” Ms Rickard said.

“We’re all expecting parcels this time of year but be careful about online links and never download attachments. If you’re wondering if a delivery notice is legitimate, check the tracking number at the Australia Post or other delivery company website, or call them directly using a number you find from an online search or the phone book.”

“While with friends and family over the holidays, consider taking the opportunity to spread the warnings about these scams particularly to those loved ones who may be vulnerable.” Ms Rickard said.

Further information about holiday season scams is available at www.scamwatch.gov.au

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

This article by Bruce Mountain and Steven Percy (reprinted today on the InDaily website from The Conversation under a Creative Commons licence) notes that South Australia’s energy prices have gone up as more renewables have entered the market – but that prices would have gone up even more without them:

“Does renewable electricity raise or lower electricity prices? There is more to this question than meets the eye: are prices lower before or after renewable subsidies are recovered, how has variability been accounted for, how have changes in network costs been accounted for, and so on and on.

Faced with a complex problem, policy makers often turn to specialists who simulate the future using their assumptions of costs and investments and their characterisation of the power system and market. This sort of thing has a dismal track record in predicting prices and is susceptible to the perception, even if not the reality, that she who pays the piper picks the tune.

An alternative is a data-driven regression that analyses large quantities of historic market data to understand the factors that have driven energy prices in the past. This approach requires few assumptions, and the quality and predictive power of the model is objectively measured. Even if the future is uncertain, we might be able to get a better sense of it by looking carefully at the past.

My colleagues and I used this approach to analyse South Australia’s wholesale prices from July 2012 to July 2018, during which period the annual average wholesale price increased by more than 30%.

There are many potential explanations for this increase: the last coal-fired power station closed in South Australia and two coal-fired power stations closed in Victoria; a greenhouse gas emissions tax came and went; electricity generation from the wind and sun increased by around 70%; while the price of gas climbed by a similar amount.

However, our research found by far the biggest reason for higher wholesale electricity prices in South Australia is higher gas prices. It does not help that so much of South Australia’s gas-fired electricity generation is remarkably inefficient.

Displacing expensive gas that is inefficiently used with cheaper sources of electricity can be expected to reduce wholesale prices. And so it does. In fact we found that in 2018, wind and solar generation in South Australia reduced prices by A$38 per megawatt-hour from what they otherwise would have been. Consumers were charged A$11 per MWh to subsidise this production, suggesting the subsidy paid for itself more than three times over.

Yes, with the rise of variable renewable production in South Australia, spot market electricity prices are more variable in 2018 than 2013. But there is no evidence that the power system, properly operated, can’t cope with it. Indeed, prices have been far more volatile in the past, long before the wind and sun became significant sources of power in South Australia.

In the market, prices are providing incentives for the development of storage and its substitutes and market participants are responding to these signals with investment in batteries and their substitutes and complements.

We also considered whether customers would have been better off if the state government had stepped in to extend the life of the Northern coal fired power station. Northern’s closure in 2016 raised wholesale prices by A$13 per MWh, but by 2018 all of this was offset by price reductions attributable to higher production from the wind and sun.

If the government had stepped in to keep Northern operating, customers and/or taxpayers would have been charged for the foregone emission reductions needed to ensure that Australia meets its Paris Agreement commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Even before counting the public money needed to revive the plant and mine, Australians would have been worse off. We are now extending our research and expect to reach similar conclusions on coal generation closure and renewable subsidies in other parts of Australia.

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s excellent energy policy review popularised the concept of an energy “tri-lemma”, suggesting that electricity policy needed to address trade-offs between prices, reliability, and emissions reductions.

But our research finds, emphatically, that renewable electricity generation brought prices down from what they otherwise would have been – and is likely to continue to do so. In electricity there is no dilemma between decarbonisation and lower wholesale prices.

System reliability and security must be prioritised in the transition to cleaner sources of power. But whether there is a dilemma between reliability and a cleaner power system remains to be seen.

The “tri-lemma” concept is already past its prime. Policy makers of all persuasions need to reflect this in their thinking.”

Bruce Mountain is director of the Victoria Energy Policy Centre, Victoria Universityand Dr Steven Percyis a research fellow at Victoria University.

Read the original article.

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Al Mina — Almond Baklava Triangle 250g & Four Finger Baklava 200g

29 Nov 2018

Product description

Almond Baklava Triangle 250g
Best Before 25 April 2019

Four Finger Baklava 200g
All Best Before dates

What are the defects?

The recall is due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (pistachios).

What are the hazards?

Consumers who have a nut allergy or intolerance may have a reaction if they consume this product.

What should consumers do?

Consumers with a nut allergy or intolerance should not consume this product and should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice.

Consumers seeking further information can contact Al Mina on 0434 916 588

Supplier

Al Mina

Traders who sold this product

IGAs, Foodlands and independent grocery stores in South Australia

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis

Consumers have been equipped with a new tool making buying decisions easier with products now able to be compared on a fairer level, thanks to an international effort spearheaded by Australian experts.

The recently published International Standard, ISO 21041:2018, Guidance on unit pricing, provides a number of requirements to enable consumers to compare prices on similar items more accurately.

“This standard is directly aimed at empowering consumers, and enabling them to make informed purchasing decisions,” said CEO of Standards Australia, Dr Bronwyn Evans. “Unit price enables sellers to show the price of goods in relation to a standard unit of measure, such as the kilogram or litre. For example, for a 250 ml carton of orange juice offered at $2.95, the unit price would be $11.80 per litre.”

“Australia worked hard to lead the establishment of the relevant committee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) which has become ISO/PC 294Guidance on unit pricing, with the intent of delivering an international guidance standard,” said Dr Evans.

“This International Standard has now been published and consumers on a global scale may soon benefit from more information at the time of purchase thanks to the dedication of the international committee.”

“This standard will provide guidance in relation to products displayed on the shelf adjacent to the goods, on the package, in printed catalogues, in-store promotional material and when advertised on-line,” said Chair of the international Technical Committee, John Furbank. “For consumers some unit prices are not easy to read and in some countries there is no relevant legislation meaning unit pricing is not provided or it is provided in an ad hoc manner.

“Recent results of unit pricing research conducted by the Queensland University of Technology, Australia, revealed benefits for both consumers and retailers. The research, authored by Dr Clinton Weeks, suggests that effective provision of unit price information will not simply drive consumers to buy the cheapest product, but rather it allows them to make more informed choices – something that appears to reflect positively on retailers,” concluded Mr Furbank.

(Article by Scott McGrath republished from the Standards Australia website: 3 December 2018)

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis