Honey Scandal Rolls on: Almost 20 per cent of Australian Honey Samples Found to Not be Pure

As reported by this newsletter in September 2018, Australia’s honey is not always what is claimed on the label. Almost one in five Australian honey samples, including some expensive boutique honey, are fake, according to a ground-breaking study that tested samples of local and international branded honey. The study, conducted by a team of scientists at Macquarie University, used 100 samples of honey sourced globally, including 38 Australian-branded honey samples. Imported honey was widely known to be adulterated with grain sugars but the big shock was Australian honey. Of the 38 honey samples sourced from supermarkets and markets, 18 per cent, or almost one in five, showed adulteration.    Source: Ferguson & Gillett, ABC News Oz honey now funny

Fresh Stawberry Contamination – Fallout

Australia has experienced a rash of malicious tampering with fresh fruit in September, with over 100 reported cases of forign objects being placed in fresh fruit. This has resulted in damage to Australia's export trade and particular damage to the Australian Strawberry industry.The Prime Minister of Australia has increased the maximum jail term to 15 years from 10 years for anyone convicted of tampering with food and criminalized hoax claims. This attack on the strawberry industry with deliberate placing of needles in fruit is likely to see an increase in compliance requirements to manage vulnerability to such threats, across all industry sectors in 2019.

Source: Strawberry contamination ; SMH Supermarket strawberry reaction;, QLD Health update 6

Editor’s note: At time of this newsletter’s publication no arrests have been made and police are still investigating.

How to CSI your Tea: ‘Fingerprint’ Authenticity Technology Aims to Revolutionise Sector

As ‘food fraud’ becomes an ever increasing problem, new technology can ensure that what you pay for is what you get, at least when it comes down to buying your favourite tea. New Singaporean retail-tech startup, Teapasar, aims to use unique new ‘tea-fingerprinting’ technology revolutionise the way the world buys and consumes their tea.    Source: Pearly Neo, Food Navigator-Asia Real tea

Joint Food Regulation System Recommends Pregnancy Warning Labels on Packaged Alcoholic Beverages

The Australian and New Zealand joint food regulation system uses scientific evidence and expertise, to protect the health and safety of their consumers. It is a complex system that involves all levels of the Australian and New Zealand governments (The Forum). Different roles are met by local, state and national government, and international obligations are respected. In its latest communiqué, The Forum recognised that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a life-long disability which can be prevented if pregnant women do not consume alcohol. Pregnancy warning labels on packaged alcoholic beverages have been applied on a voluntary basis since late 2011. The Forum recently agreed that, based on the evidence, a mandatory labelling standard for pregnancy warning labels on packaged alcoholic beverages should be developed and should include a pictogram and relevant warning statement.    Source: Alcohol labelling

Sports Supplements Down-Under

Sports supplements are regulated through the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, or therapeutic goods regulations, depending on how they are presented in the market (either as a ‘food’ or as a ‘therapeutic product’). The Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum) has agreed to a plan which includes regulatory actions, targeted education and improved labelling to enhance the safety of consumers who choose to use sports supplements. As part of this action plan, Forum Ministers requested that FSANZ undertake a full review of Standard 2.9.4 – Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods as a matter of priority to modernise the Standard to capture the expanding sports supplement market. The Food Regulation Standing Committee will work with the Therapeutic Goods Administration on the implementation of the action plan due to the crossover of products in this area.   Source: Sports supplements

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.    Source: Pearly Neo, Food Navigator-Asia  Health star rating

September 2018 Failing Food Report

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources targets and monitors food determined to pose a high or medium risk to public health. Risk food is targeted at the rate of 100 per cent until a history of food safety compliance is established. When an emerging human health and safety hazard is identified in food, the department may temporarily increase monitoring and testing. This latest report details food that was found to fail under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme during the month of August. Among the pathogenic organisms detected in these imported foods were, Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio cholera, & Salmonella, as well as the toxins Aflatoxin, Lead, Dimethoate and more.  Source: Latest failed foods

FSANZ Notifications—

Application A1146 – Thermolysin (Protease) as a Processing Aid (Enzyme): ​​The purpose of this Application is to permit the use of thermolysin (protease) from Anoxybacillus caldiproteolyticus as a processing aid in protein, dairy, egg, meat and fish processing and flavour production.   Source: Thermolysin

Application A1149—Addition of Steviol Glycosides in Fruit Drinks: The purpose of the Application is to seek approval to include the addition of steviol glycosides in Fruit Drinks at a level of 200 mg/kg steviol equivalents.    Source: Steviol levels

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