We live by standards - for food, communication, products and medicine to name but a few, yet most of us are not aware of the part they play in our lives. They are crucial to our well being and safety.

From time to time Consumers SA informs its members of certain activities that their Executive Committee take part in. One of these activities is standard setting.

Through being a member of a project team working on a standard within Australia or being a member of a mirror committee to the International Standards Organisation, we can contribute to standards which in the end affect the end user, the consumer.

As an example, in the ever growing health industry which affects us all, articles covering standards for syringes, health data and the new dawn of disease control can be found in the ISO Focus magazine for March-April 2019 - ISSN 2226-1095, which has an emphasis on the anatomy of health care.

Access the magazine here: iso.org/isofocus

 Elaine Attwood AM

Consumers SA Executive Committee member

AuthorRay Dennis

Recently a member of Consumers SA’s Executive returned from travelling to Cape York, and in light of the recent (3 June) article on plastic waste in the Cocos island, wrote the following:-

In our travels we were at Cape York and did a beach drive and were totally overwhelmed by the plastic rubbish there. When we arrived at Cape York it was overwhelming so we just picked up a few really large pieces and took them away.

One thing we do when we travel is try to clean up an area, the WA govt had a fantastic rubbish collection pack for people to use. Long handled tongs, disposable gloves, leather gloves, hessian bag and large plastic bags to insert in the hessian bag. A mining company sponsored the pack. (I know the plastic bag seems counter to the plastic reduction, but when you are travelling this is the best way to collect quite large amounts of rubbish and dispose of it at a tip.)

I have spoken to someone high up in SA Tourism, showed him the pack which I know we do need to get rid of plastic, but the rest of the world does too. Not sure if the SA govt have taken up idea, as a sponsor is needed.

When we were on the south coast of WA we walked along a very isolated beach in a national park and were surprised by how much of the rubbish we picked up was of Chinese origin, or some other Asian country, food wrappings, toothpaste tubes, ….. anyway just something to think about.

AuthorRay Dennis

Mobu Enterprises Pty Ltd t/as OLÉ Mexican Foods (Australasia) — La Banderita White Corn Street Tacos

9 Jun 2019

Product description

Street taco - 4" white corn tortillas

Best Before 18/06/2019, 02/07/2019, 16/07/2019 and 29/07/2019

Identifying features


APN/EAN 2733100127

What are the defects?

The product contains presence of an undeclared allergen (gluten).

What are the hazards?

If the product is consumed, any consumers with a gluten allergy or intolerance may have a reaction.

What should consumers do?

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

For further information, contact OLÉ Mexican Foods (Australasia) on 07 3376 2712, email labanderita@mobu.com.auor via www.olemex.com


Mobu Enterprises Pty Ltd t/as OLÉ Mexican Foods (Australasia)

Traders who sold this product

Independent supermarkets and grocers in NSW, ACT, Qld, Vic, SA and WA

AuthorRay Dennis

A study recently published in Nature Research [see reference below] indicates that, ‘… one of Australia’s most remote paradise Island chains and home to our best beach’, has been covered with 400 million pieces of waste.

 Jennifer Lavers from the Institute of Marine and Antarctic studies (IMAS) says that despite the community of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands being small, the soft beaches are “inundated with plastic”.

The study looked at the rubbish accumulation across 25 beaches on seven of the islands. Taking samples reaching from the water’s edge to the line of vegetation and up to 10 cm deep, and additional surveys inside the vegetation line, the researchers extrapolated their findings to the islands as a whole – and the numbers are staggering. They estimate that around 414 million pieces of plastic have been washed onto the soft beaches, accounting for over 95% of the rubbish discovered. According to Lavers, the plastics were largely single use products. More than 60% of the rubbish was micro-debris – small pieces of larger items measuring 2 to 5 mm across. Micro-debris poses a particular risk to fish and other marine wildlife. Disposable items such as food packaging, drink bottles, straws and toothbrushes made up close to 25% of the waste.

Terrifyingly visible waste may just be the tip of the iceberg. The researchers estimate there may be nearly 314 million rubbish items buried 1 to 10 cm underground – significantly more rubbish than the 12.8 million items visible on the surface.

 The buried waste creates a further problem as it can’t be removed without creating major disturbance to the environment. This, in turn, would impact the local wildlife even more.

 Source:   https://australiascience.tv/plastic-waste-has-trashed-one-of-australias-most-remote-islands/

Credit: Australia’s Science Channel: last updated May 21, 2019.

Note:  The South Australia government, along with others, is seeking ways to curb the use of single use plastics.  Consumers SA has commented on the government’s discussion paper on this issue {see the 13 March article posted below].

As this latest article shows, this is an area which is greatly concerning for all dwellers on the planet.

AuthorRay Dennis

Latest in an occasional series of articles by Elaine Attwood about food issues affecting consumers

Food additives found in over 900 common food products increase risk of cancer and gut disease: study 

Researchers at the University of Sydney have discovered that the food additive E171 - commonly known as titanium dioxide and found in over 900 common food products - significantly increases the risk of gut disease and cancer. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles can be present in products including mayonnaise and chewing gum. It is normally found in ‘high quantities’ as it has a whitening function. ‘[This means that] E171 is consumed in high proportions everyday by the general population’, said the study’s official statement.

According to study co-lead author Associate Professor Wojciech Chrzanowski: ‘It is well established that dietary composition has an impact on physiology and health, yet the role of food additives is poorly understood. …This study presents pivotal evidence that consumption of food containing food additive E171 (titanium dioxide) affects our gut microbiota (and inflammation), which could lead to (various gut related) diseases.’

Co-lead author Associate professor Laurence Maria added that food regulatory bodies also needed to step up.

 Source: Frontiers in Nutrition

Study: Impact of the Food Additive Titanium Dioxide (E171) on Gut Microbiota-Host Interaction.


Authors: Pinget, G. et.al

Credit:    https://www.foodnavigator.com/article/2019/05/22

Author:  Pearly Neo

Nestlé seeks to lower minimum protein content in Australia and New Zealand follow-on formula.

Nestlé has applied to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to reduce the minimum protein requirement for milk-based follow-on formula in the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code.

 The application came specifically from Nestlé Australia and Nestlé New Zealand, which want to lower the minimum protein requirement in follow-on formula (designed as complementary food for children aged 6 to 12 months) from 0.45 g per 100 kJ to 0.38 g.

The company has supported this decision by referencing the Infant Feeding Guidelines by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), adding that the suggested protein levels are closer to those in breast milk, which tends to be naturally lower when the infant is between six and 12 months of age. FSANZ has responded by calling for industry comment on the matter, with CEO Mark Booth saying: [ FSANZ]  ‘…reviewed the best available scientific evidence to determine whether the reduced protein level protects the health and safety of formula-fed infants. We concluded that the requested minimum protein requirements (0.38 g/100kj) for milk-based follow-on formula is appropriate and safe’.

 Credit:   https:///www.nutraingredients-asia.com/News/Regulation    (30th May, 2019)

Author : Cheryl Tay

Source:  © 2019 - William Reed Business media Ltd 

Fresh evidence of links between ultra – processed food and health risks revealed

 Two pieces of research published in the British Medical Journal provide fresh evidence of the links between popular processed food and a range of health risks. The studies both tied consumption of  ‘ultra-proceeded foods with risk of cardiovascular diseases and death’, said the BMJ. In the first study researchers from the University of Paris monitored 105,159 people for five years looking for associations between intake of ultra processed foods and overall risk of cardiovascular, coronary heart and cerebrovascular diseases.  The participants’ diets were assessed twice a year using the NOVA classification system, which groups foods into four categories according to the extent and purpose of industrial processing involved. The ultra-processed foods category is defined by NOVA as: “formulations of food substances often modified by chemical processes and then assembled into ready to consume hyper-palatable food and drink products using flavours, colours, emulsifiers and… other cosmetic additives.”

There were 242 cases of cardiovascular disease per 100,000 people per year, rising to 277 among those eating the most ultra-processed food. There was also an increased risk of coronary heart (124 versus 109) and cerebral vascular diseases (163 cases versus 144).   They second study was carried out  by researchers from the University of Navarra in Spain also using NOVA.   “These findings add to growing evidence of an association between ultra processed food and adverse health outcomes that has important implications for dietary advice and food policies,” said the BMJ. “The dietary advice is relatively straightforward: eat less ultra-processed food and more unprocessed or minimally processed food.” The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said more studies were needed to account for the reason why studies reveal a link between ultra processed foods and health risks.


‘Ultra-processed food intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: prospective cohort study’

 British Medical Journal DOI:10.1136/bmj.l1451

‘Association between consumption of ultra-processed foods and all cause mortality: SUN prospective cohort study’ British Medical Journal DOI:10.1136/bmj.l1949

Credit:  https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2019/05/31 

Author: Oliver Morrison

Source:  © 2019 William Reed Business Media Ltd

From 3D printing to bioplastic, seaweed just keeps on giving.

 Green seaweed native to Australia could be used for anything from treatments for wounds to natural plastics, say scientists who are delving into the slimy super-plant.  Throughout history, cultures around the globe have enjoyed the merits of seaweed. However it is only been in more modern times that these plants’ diverse ecological properties have captured scientists’ attention.

Algae expert–turned–entrepreneur, Dr Pia Winberg, is one such scientist, exploring the qualities of a unique, endemic species of green Australian seaweed, genus ulva, unlocking not only its rich nutritional properties but also its medical potential for printing cartilage and wound healing. Seaweed fibres could be further used to create biodegradable plastic and sustainable cotton replacements. It all comes down to the plant’s complex glycogen sugars – specifically, sulphated polysaccharides.

Some of the advantages mentioned and explained in this article include: 

·      green seaweed molecules mimicking human connective tissue

·      a vital role in immune function

·      promotion of burn and wound healing

·      a new frontier of 3D fabrication.

This seaweed extract has also been made into fibres and woven.

This article was originally published on Forbes.

Credit:  https://australiascience.tv/from-3d-printing-to-bioplastic-seaweed-just-keeps-on-giving/

Source: Australia’s Science Channel   Last updated May 23, 2019.




AuthorRay Dennis

Sandoz Australia Pty Limited — Curam Duo 400/57 Powder for Oral Suspension

27 May 2019

Product description

Curam Duo is a prescription medicine that contains a type of antibiotic called amoxicillin, as well as a second active ingredient called potassium clavulanate. It is a powder for oral suspension (60 mL liquid when mixed) that is used to treat a wide range of infections caused by bacteria in adults and children.

Affected batches JC5418 and JC5419 only
Expiry date July 2021

ARTG: AUST R 147109

Identifying features

Barcode number




Use by date

31 July 2021


Batch Numbers JC5418 and JC5419 only

What are the defects?

During manufacture, the air tight seal in some units may have been compromised. This could allow the entry of moisture from the air.

What are the hazards?

Over time, this may result in the significant degradation of the active ingredients and the production of related impurities.

This may mean that the product has reduced effectiveness and patients may also be at risk of developing antimicrobial resistance.

The risk of adverse events is considered to be higher for children than for adults.

What should consumers do?

If you or someone you provide care for takes Curam Duo 400/57, check the batch number.

If your medicine has batch number JC5418 or JC5419 (both with expiry date July 2021), stop using it immediately and return it to your pharmacy for a refund. Alternatively, you can call Sandoz Australia on 1800 726 369 to arrange the return of the affected product and a refund.

You may need to discuss ongoing treatment with your doctor, particularly if you or your child have not completed the antibiotic course as prescribed.

If you have any further questions or concerns about this issue, talk to your health professional.


Sandoz Australia Pty Limited

Traders who sold this product

Pharmaceutical wholesalers
Hospital pharmacies

Where the product was sold


Dates available for sale

  • 26 October 2018 - 16 April 2019

AuthorRay Dennis

Global Therapeutics Pty Ltd — Fusion Hair Tonic and Oriental Botanicals Hairpro

Product description

Hair tonic

Fusion Hair Tonic- pack sizes 30, 60 & 120
AUST L 183418 & 300605

Oriental Botanicals Hairpro - pack sizes 30 & 60
AUSTL 18993 & 300621

What are the defects?

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.'

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 cease taking these products immediately and return any unused bottles to the place of purchase for a refund.

For further information, contact Global Therapeutics Pty Ltd on 1800 550 103 - Global Therapeutics or email health@globaltherapeutics.com.au

Traders who sold this product

Pharmacies and health food stores in Australia

Where the product was sold


Dates available for sale

  • 1 May 2016- 1 May 2019

AuthorRay Dennis

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.)

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.

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.”

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


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.


Bettalife Distributors Pty Ltd

Traders who sold this product

Fruit and vegetable stores
Tony & Mark'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


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


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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

AuthorRay Dennis