Vanilla is one of the most popular and expensive flavoring ingredients, used in ice cream, dairy, beverages, baked goods and more. Its smooth, warm taste and ability to enhance other flavors make it a sought-after element in cooking and baking worldwide. Insufficient natural sources, impacted by adversary weather events, are unable to keep up with an increasing demand. As a result, what is labeled as “pure vanilla” is occasionally adulterated with ingredients that are not derived from vanilla beans, but either synthetic or made from other plant or even animal sources. In the case of on Australian retail company, the vanilla extract was mislabeled as “pure” with a picture of vanilla plant parts shown on the label, misleading consumers. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission issued a hefty fine after two infringement notices.
Australia’s agricultural and food sectors are significant contributors to the economy. To protect Australia’s reputation as a supplier of high-quality items, producers along the supply chain now have technologies and tools available to mitigate fraudulent food products. This report from Deakin University lists fraudulent practices, and in addition mentions technical solutions for all steps along the supply chain. The report suggests to improve fraud documentation, authenticity testing, DNA barcode reference databases and more, and points out an urgent need for a more concerted effort in the Australian food industry overall.
Organized crime in Eastern Europe has targeted a well-known top-level brand in Australia, shipping counterfeit rice to countries around the world under their brand. Rice grown and processed under uncontrolled conditions can bode a risk to human health due to unsanitary processing conditions and contamination from heavy metals. The affected company has initiated thorough investigations into this matter and indeed seized some counterfeit product in Saudi Arabia.
JBS USA Food Company is recalling about 4,860 pounds of imported raw and frozen boneless beef products over concern of contamination with E. coli O157:H7. The products were imported on or around November 10, 2020 and shipped to distributors and processors in New York and Pennsylvania.
The issue was uncovered during routine product sampling collected by FSIS, which confirmed positive for the presence of E. coli O157:H7, according to an FSIS announcement. “FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in cold storage at distributor or further processor locations,” the announcement stated. “Distributors and further processors who received these products are urged not to utilize them.”
No illnesses or adverse reactions have been reported.
China and Hong Kong are big markets for expensive high-end cherries from Tasmania in Australia, usually selling for $12–$3 per pound ($26–$39/kg), and especially popular during the Chinese New Year celebrations. It is estimated that fake fruit outsells the real Tasmanian cherries five-fold, in spite of tracking with specific serial numbers on the genuine cherries’ packaging. In the most recent fraud case, an arrest was made and the seized cherries are under investigation.
Sulfites and sulfur dioxide can make meats look fresher than they truly are, and therefore are banned by the FDA The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code also prohibits the addition of sulfites to raw meat. Not only is there a risk of meat past its prime getting into the food supply, sulfites may also pose a danger to allergy and asthma sufferers. More than 23 tons of ground beef were freshened up illegally with sulfites and sold in New Zealand to consumers. The manufacturer was recently sentenced to a fine in this two-year old case.
Gin usually consists of re-distillation or addition of a myriad of botanical ingredients to alcohol, but should certainly not contain glycerol and hydrogen peroxide like in this mislabeling case in Australia. This product poses a health risk for consumers, and is under recall for a full refund.
While the sale of raw milk is already banned for human consumption in all states and territories in the country, raw milk is still sold as ‘bath milk’ or ‘cosmetic milk’ with a disclaimer, but it is knowingly being consumed by people who argue the bacteria in raw milk are beneficial to health. Raw milk cheese gets a pass.
A national ban on the sale of raw milk is looming after state and territory leaders agreed consumers need protection from the dangers posed by unpasteurized milk.
The Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation, attended by ministers responsible for food regulation, raised their ‘extreme concern’ about the consumption of unpasteurized cow’s milk that is sold as ‘bath milk’ with a disclaimer ‘not for human consumption.’ The forum found urgent action was required at a national level and are asking for “a joint public health, food safety and consumer law solution that will deliver a consistent approach across all Australian jurisdictions,” Australian newspaper The Herald Sun reports.
Last month Premier Mike Baird vowed to work with other state and territory leaders to stop health food stores selling the potentially deadly product. His move followed Victoria’s tough action on producers of raw milk following the death of a Victorian child and the hospitalization of four other children in December. The children suffered severe complications as a result of food poisoning sourced to raw milk consumption.
The sale of raw milk is already banned for human consumption in all states and territories but raw milk is sold as ‘bath milk’ or ‘cosmetic milk’ with a disclaimer, but it is knowingly being consumed by people who argue the bacteria in raw milk are beneficial to health.
Now under new regulations, Victorians who give family members raw milk to drink face fines of $60,000.
As of Sunday, a strong bittering agent will be put into unpasteurized milk to deter people from consuming it, according to the state’s minister for consumer affairs, Jane Garrett. More than 100 protesters gathering outside Garrett’s Brunswick office and vowing they would continue drinking milk in what they describe as its “purest form.” Meanwhile, specialist cheese makers are welcoming a decision by the New Zealand and Australian health ministers to allow a wider range of cheeses to be made from raw milk. The decision was made at a meeting of the ministers in Auckland. The new rules require that the raw milk cheese does not support the growth of disease-causing bacteria, and that there is no rise in the level of those during processing.
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