Food-focused business expo to address waste

The challenge of reducing food waste and the related costs will be tackled at the Bringing Your Business Idea to Life expo in Victoria.

Food technologist and UK academic Dr Ajay Shah will present new solutions to reducing the massive cost of wasted resources, which amounts to $8 billion worth of food every year.

In NSW, the average household throws out $1036 of edible food every year, according to state government research, while in 2012 a Victorian government report estimated that people threw away $2,000 worth of food each year.

“This equates to 20 per cent – one out of five bags – of groceries bought. Further, up to 40 per cent of the household bin is comprised of food,” Dr Shah said.

“What we propose in the mix of solutions is the need to address aspects such as food safety and packaging; for instance, modifying the gases used inside the packaging but not changing the food.”

Now in its second year, Bringing Your Business Idea to Life – The Expo in Moorabbin, southeast Melbourne, helps business builders to energise their enterprise and is a designated ‘featured event’ of the Small Business Festival Victoria.

Organiser Jane Del Rosso said the expo was designed to support emerging food and non-food businesses by facilitating and providing essential expert knowledge and advice from successful businesses that had a great deal of experience to share.

“The topic of food safety and longer shelf life is certainly one of the more critical challenges facing new and emerging enterprises, not just the business fundamentals such as cash flow, licencing or regulatory matters,” Del Rosso said.

“If we can help today’s entrepreneurs to tackle some of the bigger issues such as food safety, safe packaging and product longevity, then they stand a greater chance themselves of staying in business longer. Food and hospitality businesses are notorious for being challenging to set up and sustain.”

The Bringing Your Business Idea to Life expo will be held 19 August at Kingston City Hall, 985 Nepean Hwy Moorabbin.


Tyrrell’s Wines goes solar

Tyrrell’s Wines is nearing completion of a 350kW solar photovoltaic installation, one of Australia’s first commercial solar power purchase projects.

Managing Director of Tyrrell’s Wines, Bruce Tyrrell said “we are very happy to add another milestone to the Tyrrell’s history book with the installation of the solar power system at the vineyard. Renewable energy is something we feel very strongly about, and we are happy to be able to keep on producing award-winning wines, powered by the sun.”

Sunlease will own the 350kW solar array and will sell the output at a fixed cost directly to Tyrrell’s Wines for the term of the agreement.

Designed and constructed by Solgen Energy, the solar power system is expected to generate approximately 563 Megawatt hours each year and offset a significant portion of electricity for the operating infrastructure of the vineyard. Based on preliminary assumptions, Tyrrell’s Wines will realise savings of around 26 percent against the standard utility costs, otherwise payable for day-time electricity over the 20 year period.

The official opening of the solar power system will take place on Friday, 5 June 2015, at the Tyrrell’s Wines Vineyard in Pokolbin, NSW.


Australian Pork industry takes the lead for a cleaner environment

The Australian pork industry has become the only agricultural industry to be granted contracts under the federal governments Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).

The pork industry has had four successful projects recognised in the federal government’s first ERF auction which represents a commitment of 290,000 tonnes carbon dioxide (CO2) to be abated.

All piggery projects were focused on the capture of biogas which is produced by the anaerobic digestion of organic matter in effluent systems. Effluent is collected from pig sheds and conveyed to an anaerobic treatment system which could be a covered pond or a purpose built digester. The biogas can then be used to displace fossil fuel used for heating or for combined heat and power generation.

The participation of Australian pork producers in the ERF scheme demonstrates the industries proactive approach in adopting renewable energy technology, reducing resource use and the industry’s environmental footprint.

Credits generated through the ERF will assist producers significantly reduce payback periods for implementation of these biogas systems. Over the seven year life of these contracts the emissions reduction will be the equivalent of getting 11,571 houses (four person house) off the grid for one year or if averaged over the seven years, taking 1,653 homes off the grid each year.

Australian Pork Limited CEO Andrew Spencer said, “The results of this first auction highlights the innovative and progressive nature of Australian pork farmers as well as demonstrating the industry is walking the talk when taking responsibility for environmental stewardship and reducing its carbon footprint”.

“The pork industry in Australia only accounts for around 0.4 percent of Australia’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, however mitigation and utilisation of GHG’s not only minimises the industry’s environmental footprint but also acts to offset production costs. Additionally, it significantly assists in reducing odour issues around intensive animal production systems. A win, win situation all round,” Spencer said.

The BioSuck Project: Suctioning off waste materials and saving water

A method of waste management is being designed where non-edible waste is “vacuumed” up.

In the BioSuck project, Fraunhofer UMSICHT is jointly working with an international working group on redesigning waste management in the foodstuffs industry. By suctioning off the waste that occurs by means of vacuum technology, less wastewater is incurred, which reduces the disposal costs. At the same time, the waste that was transported hygienically and concentrated via the vacuum pipes can be utilized targetedly for bioenergy purposes or – in case of corresponding composition – it can be recycled.

Increasing sustainability, saving money

Through installation of vacuum lines for waste transport at companies, in addition to water, costs for wastewater disposal can be saved –­ in some cases up to 50 to 80 percent (depending on the sector of industry). In waste collection by means of negative pressure, foodstuffs residues reach a collection site hygienically and quickly via a pipe system that is in compliance with the requirements of the foodstuffs industry. Residual waste can be utilized via incineration, converted to biogas or bioethanol in fermentation plants, or valorized into a lignite coal-like product by means of hydro-thermal carbonization (HTC).

Furthermore, it is possible to feed the nutrients of concentrated organic wastes directly back into the industry or to utilize them as source material for nutrient-rich fertilizer instead. The thin vacuum lines can be installed in a space-saving way on the ceiling of technical shops; they prevent odour nuisance and can be adjusted to changes in the production process without major effort.

The system is closed off towards vermin and rodents, which represents another significant advantage, particularly within the foodstuffs industry.

Support system for decision-makers in the foodstuffs industry

The BioSuck project is not unilaterally focused on the economic dimension but strives to support customers with respect to a sustainable image. For this, the project team is developing guidelines and a system that supports decision-makers from the foodstuffs industry in strategic decisions and planning with respect to resource management.

In addition to data from literature, the waste streams of typical foodstuffs industries (beverages, dairy products, meat, fish, etc.) are inspected for nutrients by means of spectral analysis for the data base of the system. Additionally, practice-focused case studies are integrated into the decision support system. For this, Fraunhofer UMSICHT is designing a test pilot system for waste concentration by means of vacuum technology that will simulate the practical application on a small scale. The database to be realized from the values will indicate where exactly waste is incurred, how it can be collected best, and what a further utilization could look like. A sustainability analysis of the technologies and processes utilized in form of a life-cycle analysis is planned as well as an assessment of the environmental impacts. Based on this, the database will point out sustainable opportunities for improvement.

The BioSuck project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) until the end of August 2016. Fraunhofer UMSICHT is the coordinator of this project. Scientific partners are the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas (IETU) under the auspices of the Polish Ministry of the Environment. The industry is represented by IWR Ingenieurbüro für Wasserwirtschaft und Ressourcenmanagement GmbH (engineering office for water management and resource management) and Bilfinger Water Technologies GmbH.


Tartar products maker turns to bioenergy, saves $2 m in a year on gas

Australian Tartaric Products grape waste-powered biomass
reactor has saved the company over $2 million in power bills so far, according
to the company.

BRW reports that the reactor, which is fueled by winemaking
waste products – including grape marc (skins and pips), which was previously used as
compost – was completed last year at a cost of around $10 million.

ATP chairman Malcolm Taylor said that feasibility studies
began in 2008 as rising gas prices began to bite. Plans were put on hold due to
the Global Financial Crisis, but by 2011 it was important that action be taken.

“As the cost of gas went up and up, the cost of production
was going up and squeezing the margin considerably,” Taylor told BRW.

“All the indications were that it was going to potentially
become uneconomic to produce.”

The investment was assisted by grants worth $1.7 million from the federal government and $1.8 million from the Victorian government.

According to the company, in its first year of operation the
biomass reactor has saved around $2 million in gas costs as well as producing
60 per cent of the ATP’s electricity.

The Colignan (near Mildura) plant in north-west Victoria has
operated since 1991 and makes natural tartaric acid, natural cream of tartar and food grade spirit, supplied to the wine industry.

Egg producer turns chicken waste into power

Darling Downs Fresh Eggs in southern Queensland is the first egg producer in Australia to create power from 100 per cent poultry manure.

Geoff Sondergeld, chief executive officer of Darling Downs Fresh Eggs, said the rising cost of power, teamed with the need to do something with the poo produced by 250,000 chickens, made the choice to explore electricity production an easier one, ABC Southern Queensland reports.

95 percent of the farm’s energy consumption is from converting about 100 tonnes of bird waste a week into energy.

The conversion process

Liquid and solid waste is put into a "digestion" process which produces methane gas.

Once the methane is produced, a biogas generator converts the gas to electricity which powers the farm.

Chicken manure does not contain the natural bacteria needed to make methane, so it is added.

Sondergeld said the process is easier for piggeries, as pig manure has the naturally occurring bacteria that helps produce methane.

The facility on the farm has had to be registered as a separate power plant.

"There are a lot of approvals to obtain but it will be worth it in the fullness of time," Sondergeld said.

He expects the costs to be fully offset in five years.

"We are essentially turning a cost part of the business into a revenue generating part of the business," he said.


Oakey Beef to install green energy storage orb

Oakey Beef will extract green energy biogas (methane) from its waste water streams to replace natural gas currently consumed at the abattoir.

The 6000m3 capacity storage tank will collect biogas produced by the new Global Water Engineering COHRAL Covered High Rate Anaerobic Lagoon at Oakey Beef Exports on Queensland’s Darling Downs.

The 26m high flexible storage tank – one of the world’s largest of its type – features resilient flexible double membrane storage so that gas produced by the COHRAL plant can be safely stored separately from the gas generator.

Use of the separate flexible tank for gas storage provides security against leakage, with gas securely contained in the tank instead of being more loosely contained under lagoon covers.

The Sattler biogas storage design selected for Oakey Beef has been tested and proven over decades and now is an integral feature in the design of modern waste water treatment plants worldwide. They are engineered to be permanently gas-tight with high operational reliability and optimum safety.

“The safe, durable and environmentally harmonious COHRAL technology deployed at Oakey Beef can be widely applied worldwide to food, beverage and agricultural and primary processing plants,” said CST Wastewater Solutions Managing Director, Michael Bambridge, whose company represents the GWE COHRAL technology in Australia and New Zealand.

“Oakey Beef Processing and its owners Nippon Meat Packers have taken a far-sighted initiative that opens the way to cleaner, greener and more profitable industry performance.”

The COHRAL plant is expected to repay its cost of construction inside five years through gas purchase savings amounting to many millions of dollars – then continue to deliver benefits and profitability virtually in perpetuity, said Oakey Beef Exports Pty Ltd General Manager, Pat Gleeson.

In addition to lowering the plant’s dependence on increasingly expensive supplies of natural gas, the Global Water Engineering anaerobic digestion plant will simultaneously reduce the plant’s carbon footprint and produce waste water far cleaner than typical waste lagoons.

COHRAL technology – which is applicable to both livestock and cropping operations – uses concentrated anaerobic bacteria to digest 70 per cent of the organic matter (COD, or Chemical Oxygen demand) in Oakey Beef Exports’ waste water to produce effluent of far high quality than typical open lagoons.

Bambridge said Oakey’s initiative sets an outstanding precedent for agribusiness in Australia because the cost-effective technology can turn an environmental problem into profit by simultaneously enhancing water quality and lowering fuel bills.

“It also helps companies such as Oakey to guard against future price rises in the cost of energy and possible future imposts such as a carbon tax,” Bambridge said.


OceanWatch Australia increases traceability with QR codes

Marking an Australian fishing industry first, OceanWatch Australia has introduced unique QR codes for fresh seafood, providing wholesale buyers with a complete picture of where, how, and by who the catch was caught.

The codes are part of the OceanWatch Master Fisherman Program and were launched on World Fisheries Day, Friday 21 November. By scanning the code, buyers are able to access information relating to the fisher behind the catch, how the seafood was caught, which part of Australia the seafood comes from, and information about the characteristics of the species, migration patterns and population statistics.  

“These QR codes offer real transparency around the provenance of seafood. It’s important the community knows where their seafood comes from, and is confident the fisher is dedicated to responsible fishing and best-practice techniques to protect our marine environments,” said Brad Warren, executive chair OceanWatch Australia.

“The QR codes provide wholesale buyers with the tools to make informed purchasing decisions and ensure consumers, in turn, are eating a responsibly caught catch.”

In order to gain OceanWatch accreditation and be allocated a QR code, fisher must complete the Master Fisherman Program which is jointly funded with the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).

The program involves setting protocols and standards for everyday fishing practices; from assessing the equipment fishers use, to the steps they take in reducing bycatch. Fishers must also complete food safety training and hold a maritime competency qualification.

“OceanWatch has ensured its Master Fisherman Program aligns with the United Nation’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. To date, the accreditation and QR codes have already been allocated to over sixty NSW Estuary General fishers,” says Warren.

“The QR codes will be launched to the wholesale market on November 21, with a roll out to retailers to follow. In the meantime, the information from the QR code will be available to consumers on the OceanWatch Australia website and any store displaying the QR code.”  


Unilever commits to sourcing sustainable palm oil

Unilever Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) has announced its commitment to sourcing 100 percent traceable and certified sustainable palm oil.

From the first quarter of 2015, Unilever’s local food factories will begin using traceable and certified (RSPO segregated) palm oil, with the transition expected to be complete by the end of 2015. The announcement comes three years after Unilever ANZ confirmed all of its local palm oil use was covered through Green Palm certificates.

Clive Stiff, chairman and CEO of Unilever ANZ, said “The move to RSPO segregated palm oil for our locally produced foods products is an important step on our journey towards achieving full traceability and sustainability across our supply chain. While we know there is still more to do, I’m delighted we have made significant progress on our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan targets and remain at the forefront of businesses working to ensure the long term sustainability of the palm oil industry.”

Launched in 2010, the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan commits the company to reducing its environmental impact and sourcing 100 percent of agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020.

According to a statement issued by the company, Unilever is working with industry leaders and NGOs to find a solution to halt deforestation, protect peat land and drive positive economic and social impact for local communities. It’s also published its Sustainable Palm Oil Progress Report, highlighting significant steps forward in the global traceability of palm oil from known sources.

In Australasia, Unilever’s food brands include Flora, Lipton, Bushells, Continental and Streets.

Earlier this year, a number of global food and beverage manufacturers made similar commitments. US giants ConAgra, J.M. Smucker Co., Kellogg, General Mills, Mondelez, Panera and Safeway, which represent some of the top purchasers of the $44 billion palm oil industry, all committed to sourcing 100 percent fully traceable, responsibly produced palm oil.

Palm oil is a leading driver of global deforestation, which causes nearly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.


World first sustainability achievement for Tassal

Tasmanian salmon producer, Tassal, has gained Aquaculture Stewardship Council certification across all its farming operations – a first for any salmon company in the world.

Aquaculture is the fastest growing animal food producing sector in the world, seeking to meet the growing demand for seafood, while reducing pressure on wild capture fisheries.

Tassal has been moving towards reaching full ASC certification since 2012, working in partnership with WWF-Australia.

WWF recognises ASC certification as the highest global standard available internationally for responsibly farmed seafood; providing third-party validation for practices which reduce impacts on the marine environment, protecting local surroundings and wildlife, and supporting local communities.

To meet the ASC’s responsible Salmon Standard, Tassal implemented upgrades including:

  • Reducing reliance of fish meal and fish oil in feed; resulting in reduced pressure on wild fish stocks and less pressure on the environment through improved feed formulations.
  • Removing the last copper treated nets from the water in June this year, replacing them with Kikko nets, made from semi-rigid polyester monofilament.
  • Creation of a full ASC dashboard which reports in real time any antibiotic use, wildlife interactions or unexplained fish loss across all of Tassal’s marine sites. All reports are available publically online and are fully audited.
  • Development of a new fish health department, including onsite lab, two vets, a fish health field officer and lab technician, as well as the development of a zero harm fish welfare program.

According to head of sustainability at Tassal, Linda Sams, the Australian aquaculture industry performs well in setting and implementing environmental regulations, but lacks transparency.

“Transparency was a key focus for us and is why we created our annual sustainability report, our ASC dashboard, and why we ensure our data is fully audited before being put into the public domain. This level of transparency is one which we feel genuinely sets us apart from others in the industry.”

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), more than half of fish consumed globally by 2021 will be farmed seafood.


PepsiCo announces carbon pollution reductions

Global beverage manufacturer, PespiCo has announced new initiatives together with updated data on the progress its made to address climate change.

PepsiCo has announced that by reducing fuel consumption in its transportation fleet by 24 percent since 2010, the company has effectively prevented 55,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Pepsi has also announced that its looking to further reduce fuel consumption for its trucks and vehicles into the future.

In addition, Pepsi outlined several new initiatives to reduce the carbon intensity of its trucking fleet by working with suppliers to seek lower carbon fuel alternatives. 

“The transportation sector is a significant contributor to carbon emissions and Pepsi’s progress is welcome news for investors, consumers and the planet,” stated Leslie Samuelrich, president of Green Century Capital Management, which manages the first family of responsible and diversified fossil fuel free mutual funds—the Green Century Equity Fund and the Green Century Balanced Fund. 

“Pepsi is reducing its dependency on polluting fossil fuels, which we hope leads to more use of cleaner energy sources,” stated Samuelrich.

Pepsi’s plan includes implementing a formal Request for Proposal process seeking low carbon fuel alternatives from its suppliers. In addition, Pepsi will work through the Business for Social Responsibility’s (BSR) Future of Fuels program on finding ways to reduce the carbon intensity of its fleet. 

“As investors, we are encouraged that PepsiCo has signaled to the market and its suppliers the company’s aspiration to reduce the carbon intensity of its trucking fleet,” noted Lucia von Reusner, Shareholder Advocate for Green Century. “We urge PepsiCo to report on progress towards this goal, and set strong fuel efficiency goals moving forward.”


Barry Callebaut switches to RSPO fully segregated CBEs

The Barry Callebaut group has furthered its sustainable palm oil commitment by switching its European supply to RSPO fully segregated Cocoa Butter Equivalents (CBEs).

The chocolate manufacturer, which is a leading supplier in the foodservice sector and the parent company behind the Callebaut and Cocao Barry chocolate brands, will switch its sourcing of core CBEs from Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) mass balance, to RSPO fully segregated across its European operations as of 3 November, 2014.

CBEs contain a variety of oils such as palm and shea, and segregation ensures that certified palm is physically kept apart throughout the supply chain, and is fully present in the end product.

“The demand for food products produced in a responsible way continues to grow, and we’re seeing an increasing number of customers requesting sustainable and traceable ingredients,” said Massimo Garavaglia, president Barry Callebaut Western Europe.

“With this move to fully RSPO segregated CBEs, we are taking another pro-active step in meeting customers’ needs and at the same time supporting sustainable agriculture that safeguards the environment in equatorial regions.”


Commercial edible packaging developed to combat waste

A number of innovative engineers and designers have created various forms of edible packaging in an effort to reduce waste, and create functional packaging that has a symbiotic relationship with the food it holds.

WikiPearl, created by Harvard professor and biomedical engineer David Edwards is a durable but soft, water-resistant edible membrane that is made from natural food particles. The product is designed to protect the bite-sized portion of food encased within it The Guardian reports.

The company behind WikiPearl, Massachusetts based WikiFoods has joined forces with a US organic dairy business to create Frozen Yoghurt Pearls – a product that uses the WikiPearl technology to develop small ice cream scoop sized ‘pearls’ which are currently being sold at Whole Foods supermarkets.

“It’s important we don’t only look at this as a way to reduce plastics in packaging, but also in the context of how nature creates its own biodegradable packaging, like the skins of fruits,” Eric Freedman of WikiFoods told The Guardian.

Other innovative companies include Sweden's Tomorrow Machine who developed a series of packaging that dissolves with its contents, while New York based Loliware has created a range of edible cups made from agar – a vegetarian substitute for gelatine. Founders of Loliware, Chelsea Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker say that they were inspired to create the edible cups due to their love for jelly.

“Our solution is to eat the cup, because they’re fun and they taste great, or just compost them. Either way, you’re contributing to the solution, instead of the plastic problem,” says Briganti.

It all sounds great, but of course the industry is aware of the psychological barriers that edible packaging pose to consumers, especially in relation to aesthetics and hygiene. Freedman believes that it is simply a matter of education.

“I would politely ask [any concerned person] what they do with their apples and other produce when they take them home. I assume they wash them. Which is what you can do with a WikiPearl,” explains Freedman. “Or what do they do when they take bagels, scones or muffins from the bakery racks? They use tongs or a piece of wax paper to place it in a container.”


Oxfam to launch organic, Fairtrade and biodegradable coffee capsules

To coincide with International Coffee Day (29 September) Oxfam with be launching Fairtrade certified, organic and biodegradable coffee capsules.

Julia Sumner, Oxfam Australia’s trading general manager said that the new range was an exciting development for the Oxfam ‘fair’ brand, and that the capsules provide consumers with a convenient, ethical and environmentally friendly coffee option.

“Oxfam has been working hard to develop a range of capsules that are not only Fairtrade certified and organic, but also reduce the environmental and waste impacts often associated with capsules,” said Sumner.

“While most other brands use full aluminium capsules, Oxfam’s range is made using biodegradable plastic, meaning that even if the capsules are not recycled they will naturally break down in landfill.”

The capsules are compatible with Nespresso coffee machines and are roasted in Victoria. The capsules will be available in a #5 medium roast through to a #10 dark roast and a #12 intense roast.

The coffee is sourced from a number of Fairtrade cooperatives including Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (OCFCU) which works with 274 coffee farmers across Ethiopia. The Fairtrade premium received by OCFCU has resulted in the building of schools, kindergartens and health clinics in local communities.


Sealord attains BAP certification

Sealord has become the world’s first barramundi farm to be awarded the Best Aquaculture Practice (BAP) certification for its King Reef Barramundi.

Sealord’s King Reef Barramundi is farmed in Far North Queensland where the tropical climate creates is ideal for Barramundi.

To achieve the Best Aquaculture Practice accreditation, all aspects of Sealord’s operations were assessed including its environmental responsibility, community relations, employee safety, food safety, animal health and the care of wildlife, to ensure it is a world-class organisation.

“Being the first Barramundi farm world-wide to be certified with Best Aquaculture Practice, is a great achievement,” said Scott Hayward, Farm Manager Sealord King Reef Barramundi. “We pride ourselves on having a strong stance on sustainability through every aspect of our operation and this accreditation reflects all the hard work we put in on a daily basis.”

“We hope to set the standard world-wide for Barramundi farms and continue to be at the forefront of Best Aquaculture Practice,” Hayward said.


NZ hake and ling receives sustainable seafood tick from MSC

Global sustainable seafood certifier, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has officially certified New Zealand hake and New Zealand ling as sustainable seafood varieties.

The two species now join New Zealand hoki, albacore and southern blue whiting as sustainable varieties under the MSC’s strict criteria.

As only nine percent of the world’s fish harvest is certified as sustainable, MSC manger Australia and New Zealand, Patrick Caleo  says that the addition of hake and ling to the MSC certified list will provide greater choice for retailers and consumers.

“The MSC programme has credible standards for sustainable fishing and seafood which aims to increase the availability of certified sustainable seafood. It is great news for retailers and seafood lovers with both New Zealand ling and New Zealand hake being awarded the certification,” says Caleo.

Jason Plato, general manager consumer of global seafood enterprise, Sealord, says that the company along with its joint venture partner Westfleet will be able to supply over 330 tonnes of fresh certified sustainable fish annually.

“Australians love ling, it's an interesting pink-skinned fish with firm white flesh that is great for many different cooking methods. The MSC certification reinforces what most retailers and a growing number of consumers know – that New Zealand fish is sustainably caught and our fisheries are in good shape,” he said.


NZ fishing enterprise investigated for suspected fraud

New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries is investigating suspected fraudulent activity in the inshore commercial fishing sector.

Compliance officers have secured evidence that from a Hawkes Bay fishing enterprise and enquiries have indicated significant discrepancies between the company’s catch record and export documents, where more fish is being exported than is being reported as caught.

A Hawkes Bay family-based fishing entity involved in all facets of catching, processing and the sale of fish from nine vessels has been identified as potentially being involved.

“The investigation involves activity throughout the commercial supply chain – catching, landing, processing and exporting,” said Ministry for Primary Industries director of compliance, Dean Baigent.

Export documents show the company has exported substantial quantities of fresh chilled product over an 18 month period, while catch records show the company has landed considerably less.

The misreported figure is expected to grow with the inclusion of domestic sales that have occurred over the period in question.

“This looks like an example of a company side-stepping the regulations that ensure the sustainability of our fisheries in a very deliberate and calculated manner.  This type of behaviour undermines the Quota Management System, puts the fishery at risk and makes it more difficult for legitimate fishers to get their legitimate catch,” said Baigent.

He added that this is the largest “inshore fisheries” investigation of its type for many years.

“This morning (24 September) 88 MPI Compliance officers and investigators and New Zealand Police visited sites in the greater Hawkes Bay area, Wellington, Tauranga, Gisborne, Chatham Islands and Christchurch.”


Food supply management centre to be established

The University of Sydney will partner with brands including Coca-Cola Amatil and SunRice to establish a research centre focusing on maintaining a sustainable food supply to our domestic and export markets.

The Training Centre for Food and Beverage Supply Chain Optimisation will operate in cooperation with the University of Newcastle, the CSIRO, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the NSW Department of Primary Industry, and industry partners will include Coca-Cola Amatil, SunRice, the Batlow Fruit Co-operative and Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing.

The University of Sydney Business School’s Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies is establishing the centre, and its chief investigator, Associate Professor Behnam Fahimnia, said a cost effective supply chain is essential if the food industry is to become more sustainable and competitive on the world stage.

“The key to survival is logistics excellence with a focus on the delivery of products to the right customer at the right time,” Fahimnia said. “One of the big challenges is size. Coca Cola Amatil, for example, has 35 production lines, 14 primary distribution centres and over 125,000 delivery points.”

“The rice industry generates a large volume of waste products in the form of rice hulls which are either buried or burnt,” he said. “This waste could be converted into energy in the form of electricity.”

Fahimnia is now looking for three PhD students to join the centre and work on supply chain design and management projects in close collaboration Coco-Cola Amatil and SunRice.

The Training Centre for Food and Beverage Supply Chain Optimisation is being funded with a substantial grant from the Australian Research Council.


Campaign calls for clearer seafood labelling

Chef Matthew Evans has partnered with Greenpeace and the Australian Marine Conservation Society, to develop a campaign to reform Australia’s seafood labelling laws.

The campaign is designed to push for new Australian laws requiring complete and accurate information on seafood labels, in particular: what fish it is, where it’s from and how it was caught.

A significant launch pad for the campaign is an SBS TV series called ‘What’s the Catch?’ which is fronted by Evans and will screen for three weeks from 30 October 2014.

In the show Evans examines the problem of poor seafood labelling and campaigns for reform.

Other key components of the campaign include:

  • A PR, advertising, digital and media strategy, with on and offline actions.
  • A campaign launch, including release of a dossier of labelling ‘scandals’ flowing from current labelling practices.
  • A campaign website, to which SBS will also direct its viewers, highlighting the problem and the solution, and a petition to key government MPs.
  • Promotion of public support for reform from significant sustainable operators in the Australian fishing industry, top chefs, influential MPs and celebrities.
  • Drafting instructions for new federal laws, prepared by the NSW Environmental Defenders Office.

A Senate inquiry into seafood labelling laws, due to report on 27 October, may recommend reforms. Submissions currently indicate support for better labelling, including from influential sectors of the Australian seafood industry and large retailers.


Visy & Schweppes praised for 100 percent recycled bottle

A 100 percent recycled and recyclable water bottle has seen Visy and Schweppes be named the Coles Brand Packaging Supplier of the Year.

The Coles Brand water bottle was finalised in February this year, after 18 months of development.
Rather than being produced by new plastic, the lightweight water bottle is made in Australia from old bottles which have been ground down, cleaned and reformed.

All Coles brand 330ml, 600ml and 1.5ml water bottles are now 100 percent recycled PET. The bottles can continue being recycled through normal channels and are still strong and sustainable enough for reuse.
The development could save over 130 million bottles per annum from being produced from new plastic.

Coles managing director, John Durkan, said the partnership between Coles, Visy and Schweppes has been a huge success.

“Coles is proud to be the first Australian supermarket – and in fact one of only a few brands globally – to offer a 100 percent recycled and recyclable bottle,” he said.

“Operational trials were conducted over many months to perfect material specifications and these packed water bottles were then extensively tested to ensure they are safe and there was no compromise to the customer. We believe we have set a new standard in water bottle material for the Australian market.”

Visy assisted Coles and Schweppes in the technical, labelling and manufacturing developments and developed a unique labelling system for the promotion of the recycled content.

“Working closely with Coles and Schweppes to develop a 100 percent recycled PET water bottle was an exciting project that brought genuine innovation to the retail shelf,” Visy general manager insights & innovation, Richard Macchiesi, said.

The awards were presented at the Coles Brand Supplier Conference in Melbourne this month. Other category winners were:

  • Devondale Murray Goulburn at Laverton, Victoria and Erskine Park, NSW, who was winner of the dairy category, in recognition of its 10-year partnership with Coles, which has resulted in the $160 million investment in two new factories and improvement in milk quality and shelf life.
  • Norco at Lismore, NSW and Labrador, Qld, who was winner of the grocery category, in recognition of its innovation and the popularity of its Coles Brand peanut butter ice cream.
  • Tripod at Bacchus Marsh and Bairnsdale, who was winner of the fruit and veg category, in recognition of its investment in washing and drying technology to improve quality, reduce damage and increase shelf life of Coles Brand bagged salads.
  • Lifestyle Bakery at Adelaide, who was winner of the bakery category, in recognition of its quality Coles Brand gluten free bread.
  • Kailis Brothers and Pacific West, who were winners of responsible sourcing category, in recognition of its success in converting its entire Coles Brand bagged seafood range to certified sustainable sources.
  • Ross Cosmetics, who received a special award for best long-serving Coles Brand