Supreme Court expected to enforce end to Coles Warehouse strike

Despite predictions that striking workers at the Coles factory in Melbourne will lose their legal battle today, they have pledged to continue their industrial action.

After the 600 striking workers at the Sommerton factory won the right from Fair Work Australia to continue picketing on Friday, management of the warehouse then applied on Saturday for an emergency injunction to end the strike.

Toll Group lawyer Stuart Wood said the 600 striking workers need to be stopped to allow the 150 workers who want to go back to work, to do so.

'There are real-life individuals whose livelihoods are being impacted by the picket,' he told the court.

'It is having a deleterious impact on employees who wish to cross the picket and work at the Somerton site.'

The Toll Group have told the Victorian Supreme Court that stopping the strike by National Union of Workers (NUW) members is urgent because they have blocked trucks from entering or exiting the Somerton warehouse since Tuesday.

The matter was adjourned until today when union lawyers failed to appear in court.

They were not present because they had not been properly served with legal documents, which Wood said was a deliberate action intended to create significant tactical advantage by extending the blockade until today.

NUW state secretary Tim Kennedy told reporters at the picket line yesterday, that he is expecting the Supreme Court rule in favour of Toll’s application.

He said workers will continue to strike regardless.

The workers are calling for better pay and conditions.

Duck supplier headed for court over misleading ‘free range’ claims

Australia’s largest duck producer is being sued for misleading advertising which claimed the birds were raised in ‘open range’ farms.

Activists filmed the birds at Pepe’s Ducks, showing not only that they were crammed into metal crates, but also that some of them were covered in faeces and had their wings stuck in the metal grates, despite labelling claiming they were “grown nature’s way.”

The label also featured a duck walking across expansive land towards a pond, indicating the animals were raised in such environments.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has slammed the company for the false advertising, demanding correction notices be published and an injunction against Pepe’s Ducks using the free range labels again for the next three years.

In the writ filed in the Federal Court on Monday, it said Pepe's Ducks contravened trade laws by advertising their duck meat as ''Grown Nature's Way'' and indicating that the ducks ''were allowed to spend at least a substantial amount of their time with access to an outdoor body of water … foraging for food outdoors'', and were of better quality than barn-raised ducks when ''that was not the case''.

Animal Liberation’s Emma Hurst welcomed the suggestions from the ACCC and also called on the RSPCA to urgently investigate the welfare conditions at another leading Victorian supplier, Luv-a-Duck.

''There are equal concerns for the welfare of ducks that are kept at Luv-a-Duck,'' she said.

''We are seeing ducks on their backs, we're seeing ducks smattered with waste, and we are seeing issues such as crusty-eye, which is caused by the fact that the ducks can't dip their eyes in water, so the eye actually cakes over with dirt.

“They can't adequately clean themselves and that can lead to blindness.''

Pictures of ducks in distress, which Hurst said were taken at Luv-A-Duck's farms, should be taken seriously, she said.

But the company has hit back, saying it should be left alone because it does not claim its ducks are free-range.

The shocking conditions the animals are kept in were uncovered earlier this year when Animal Liberation sent footage to the ACCC.

Pepe's Ducks slaughters more than 70 000 birds every week and the founder was runner-up farmer of the year in the New South Wales Farmers Association in 2010.

The incident follows similar issues in the chicken industry earlier this year, when national suppliers were also accused of misleading consumers by claiming they were ‘free to roam.’

Farmers and suppliers who produce actual free range eggs called for a crackdown on the definitions of ‘free range, following the discovery of the false claims.

Image: Pepe Bonaccordo, founder of Pepe's Ducks.
NSW Farmers.

 

Campbell’s Soup buys produce company for $1.55 billion

Campbell Soup has acquired US fruit and vegetable company Bolthouse Farms for $1.55 billion in cash.

The famous soup company acquired Bolthouse Farms from a fund managed by Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, a private equity firm.

Bolthouse was founded in 1915, and is a vertically integrated food and beverage company offering fresh produce – primarily carrots – and vegetable-based premium beverages and a growing presence in refrigerated salad dressings.

The acquisition of the Californian-based company will give Campbell a new platform in packaged fresh foods, and add to Campbell’s V8 beverage business.

Campbell’s is looking to increase its healthy beverage sales to  $1.2 billion annually.

“Bolthouse is a great strategic fit with Campbell,” Denise Morrison, Campbell’s president and chief executive said.

“Its business platforms, capabilities and culture are well aligned with the core growth strategies we announced last year.

“Its strong position in the high-growth packaged fresh category complements our chilled soup business in North America, and offers exciting opportunities for expansion into adjacent packaged fresh segments that respond directly to powerful consumer trends.”

Campbell will operate Bolthouse Farms as a separate business unit and  Bolthouse’s senior management team, including President and chief executive Jeff Dunn, will remain with the company, reporting directly to Morrison.

The acquisition is expected to be finalised in late August.

Industry-sponsored self-regulation: it’s just not cricket

OBESE NATION: It’s time to admit it – Australia is becoming an obese nation. This series looks at how this has happened and more importantly, what we can do to stop the obesity epidemic.

Today Rob Moodie and Kate Taylor talk about how little the Australian government is doing to stop the epidemic while Kerin O'Dea considers measures that could work.


The world keeps getting fatter and no country has yet successfully managed to reduce adult rates of overweight and obesity. Rates are levelling in a few countries – sometimes at low levels as in Japan, Korea, and Switzerland and sometimes at levels comparable to Australia, as in Hungary and England. Australia has also seen instances of flattening in trends (but at high levels) in pre-school children, but adult rates continue to rise.

 

Country Year Prevalence %
USA 2008 33.8
Mexico 2006 30
Scotland 2008 27
New Zealand 2007 26.5
Ireland 2007 25
Australia 2007 24.5
Canada 2008 24.2
England 2009 23
Ranked rates of measured obesity 2010

 

Countering obesity should be a government priority, because excess weight creates a significant drag on countries’ health budgets and productivity. And the role governments can play was the focus of a recent report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter. The report outlines key policy actions to improve health and nutrition.

They include:

  • Taxing unhealthy food, including soft drink, and subsidising fruit and vegetables;

  • Regulating foods high in saturated fats, salt and sugar;

  • Regulating to reduce unhealthy food advertising to children, as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Interventions like these are important because they protect the most vulnerable in society – the poorest and the young.

Local efforts

In Australia, the Preventative Health Taskforce has provided a blueprint for action against obesity. It recognised governments' key role in reducing unhealthy food marketing to children, improving labelling, and investigating tax and pricing strategies.

 

Click here to open in new window or republish.

 

Sadly, such measures have yet to be implemented or seriously considered. Rather, the government has focused on elements such as policies in children’s settings around food supply and active play, funding for community interventions and social marketing campaigns – all softer options favoured in the political satire, The Hollowmen.

At the same time, there’s been a focus on partnership with industry. While this is important, it has also led to a clear reluctance to leverage regulatory and fiscal measures because of lobbying by the many industries that profit from high and growing consumption of their products.

This is a significant lost opportunity because tax and pricing measures result in the largest health gains in the shortest time frame. Australian research has shown that they are also the most cost-effective interventions, with a 10% tax resulting in large health gains, particularly for low-income groups. A number of countries – including Denmark, Hungary, Finland, and France – have legislated to tax fat or sugar.

Labelling of packaged food has also been considered. Former health minister Dr Neal Blewett led a review that recommended traffic-light labelling on the front of packs, among other things. In a surprising move, however, the Australian government argued that there was not enough evidence to justify this system.

 

A number of countries have legislated for a fat tax. Jun Seita

 

Instead, it has established a working group of food industry and public health organisations to develop options for an alternative scheme. Yes Minister, anyone? It appears we haven’t learnt anything from Europe, where industry spent more than one billion Euros fighting against traffic light labelling.

One of the key battlegrounds in Australia remains unhealthy food marketing to children, a major driver in normalising poor diets for life. With marketing becoming increasingly sophisticated and integrated over a range of platforms, direct targeting of children and adolescents is easier and cheaper than ever before. And social media makes it ever more effective. Advertisements masquerading as games, for instance, are increasingly popular, moving from television to the internet into mobile phone apps.

The dangers of self-regulation

This is what is happening under government-endorsed, industry-formulated self-regulation – marketers are way ahead of any weak, industry-sponsored controls. Despite calls for a national approach, the Australian Communications and Media Authority and Australian health ministers have treated the issue as a hot potato, currently vesting responsibility with the Australian National Preventative Health Agency. This group has been asked to do yet another review of the evidence, organise a seminar and undertake some monitoring. At best we might see stronger self-regulation.

All over the world, governments fear the power of the many industries associated with the obesity epidemic. It’s not just the producers, manufacturers and retail giants, but also the advertisers, public relations companies and media. All have major economic interests in marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages, including alcoholic drinks.

 

Numerous industries have economic interests in marketing unhealthy foods and beverages. Tom Lawrence

 

And, of course, a country as interested in sport as Australia also has to contend with powerful bodies, such as Cricket Australia, who benefit from the sponsorship of junk food companies and from the money made by leading players who relentlessly promote such products to Australian children. In this light, the recent move by the government working with a range of sporting groups to reduce the influence of alcohol should be welcomed and expanded.

We have a lot of experience in good public health policy we could build on. Successive Australian governments have strong records in tobacco control, particularly the current government. It must use these experiences in its efforts to drive down overweight and obesity. It’s unfortunate but unavoidable that the long-term benefits of managing obesity require taking a political stand in the short term. The action the government is taking on tobacco is tremendous. We need similar determination in the face of the obesity epidemic.

This is part fifteen of our series Obese Nation. To read the other instalments, follow the links below:

Part one: Mapping Australia’s collective weight gain

Part two: Explainer: overweight, obese, BMI – what does it all mean?

Part three: Explainer: how does excess weight cause disease?

Part four: Recipe for disaster: creating a food supply to suit the appetite

Part five: What’s economic growth got to do with expanding waistlines?

Part six: Preventing weight gain: the dilemma of effective regulation

Part seven: Filling the regulatory gap in chronic disease prevention

Part eight: Why a fat tax is not enough to tackle the obesity problem

Part nine: Education, wealth and the place you live can affect your weight

Part ten: Innovative strategies needed to address Indigenous obesity

Part eleven: Two books, one big issue: Why Calories Count and Weighing In

Part twelve: Putting health at the heart of sustainability policy

Part thirteen: Want to stop the obesity epidemic? Let’s get moving

Part fourteen: Fat of the land: how urban design can help curb obesity

Part sixteen: Regulation and legislation as tools in the battle against obesity

Rob Moodie receives funding from Department of Health and Ageing.

K Taylor declares no conflicts of interest.

The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.

Striking Coles workers reject offer, Fair Work expected to be called in

The dispute between workers at a Coles warehouse in Melbourne and their employer continues to escalate, with workers rejecting an offer from the company yesterday and expectations it will reach the industrial umpire today.

The strike began on Tuesday, over what workers say are conditions inferior to those at other Coles warehouses, and their decision to block trucks entering the site led to predictions that the action would soon impact Coles consumers.

The Toll Group, which manages the 600 staff at the Somerton warehouse on behalf of Coles, offered a boost of 0.5 per cent to workers' annual pay increases, bringing it to 4 per cent.

Other entitlements previously put forward, including payment of shift loading on annual leave, and the ability to earn rostered day’s off (RDO’s) were left out of the company’s offer, according to National Union of Workers (NUW) Victorian secretary, Tim Kennedy.

It is expected that the Toll Group will make an application to Fair Work Australia at 10:30 this morning to lift the picket, Kennedy said.

"The purpose of the application is to try and remove the picket," he told AAP.

But the union will contest the action, arguing that the industrial action is legal and peaceful.

"We believe and we're confident what we're doing out at Somerton is legal and within the bounds of protected action, and that it is safe and peaceful," he said.

"We feel we're on very strong grounds to defend that application."

He said the workers will continue to strike until they get the response they need from Coles.

"We prefer to be sitting down with Coles and Toll management to resolve the dispute rather than having these technical arguments" he said.

3% wage increase not enough, fight for 4%, union tells JBS workers

 

JBS meatworkers who have been fighting for better pay and working conditions have been urged by the union to reject the company’s latest offer.

The secret ballot will be conducted on Friday and Saturday, and will give workers the option to vote for or against a 3 per cent pay rise increase offered by the company.

The workers have been fighting for months to have a four per cent wage increase as part of their bargaining agreement, and the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union is advising workers to stick to their guns and not accept the three per cent offer.

After planned industrial action that was cancelled at the eleventh hour, the JBS meatworks in Rockhampton closed as workers walked off the job last Friday.

The union has accused JBS of treating the workers like second class citizens, and according to Rockhampton branch secretary, Brian Crawford, the company’s main competitors are increasing their employee’s wages by four per cent.

"A 'yes' vote will see these workers slip further and further behind the rest of the industry as well as slipping further behind employees working for the same company doing the same job, albeit at different locations," Crawford said.

JBS spokesman John Berry disagreed with the comments, saying comparisons are ineffective because bargaining agreements finished at different times.

The Electoral Commission will oversee the vote on Friday and Saturday.

Do you think JBS employees are justified to demand a four per cent payrise? 

 

Coles warehouse strike to impact supply

As a strike at a Coles warehouse enters its second day, experts have warned the impact will take less than a week to impact supply to supermarkets.

About 600 workers are striking at the Somerton warehouse in Melbourne’s north, calling for improvements to working conditions including shift lengths and the accumulating rostered days off (RDO’s).

The workers say their working conditions are worse than those at all other Coles warehouses.

Victorian supermarkets will start to see a decrease in the availability of products including toilet paper, beer and toothpaste.

"I think you will see an impact at about the six-day mark, there could be empty shelves," National Union of Workers state secretary Tim Kennedy told the Herald Sun 

"If they do run out of beer then they will probably start talking to us."

Imported beer brands including Heinekin, Corona and Becks could be affected, he said.

Coles, which has stood down hundreds of workers at the distribution centre, argues that the action is unlawful, and has lodged an application with Fair Work Australia this morning, The Age reports.

The supply impact of the strike will spread, Coles predicts in its application.

"The company believes that industrial action will spread to all three sites," Coles said in the application.

Coles has apparently spent millions of dollars on trying to lessen the impact of the strike by sending products to other warehouses, but workers at the Somerton warehouse say they are determined to continue the action until they get a response.

"Most consumers will not take the risk to go to a Coles supermarket now in the belief that things may not be there," Kennedy told reporters at the warehouse.

"They'll probably go to the competition, so it will have a significant effect on sales for Coles."

Workers began their strike outside the plant at 6am Tuesday and braved the rain and freezing conditions last night to continue their fight.

The union said it was set to speak with Toll management which manages workforce issues at the site later on Tuesday.

Christopher Whitefield , spokesman for Toll Management, which manages workforce issues at the site, said the company had offered a four per cent pay rise, which is higher than similar work sites.

"In order to keep attracting and retaining the best people, Toll will continue to balance the needs of the business to remain competitive within the industry," Whitefield said in a statement.

What do you think of the workers' strike? Is impacting the supply to stores the only way to get the attention they need?

Heir to TetraPak business arrested over wife’s death

The heir to the multibillion-dollar TetraPak packaging business has been arrested after his wife was found dead in their luxury London home.

Eva Rausing, 48, was found dead in the west London home she shared with her husband yesterday.

Hours earlier, 49-year-old father-of-four Hans Kristian Rausing, was arrested after he was found driving erratically in South London and found to be carrying Class A drugs.

Police then searched his home and found more illicit substances, as well as his wife’s body.

Scotland Yard has confirmed he is being questioned over the ‘unexplained death’ and that the body found was Eva Rausing's.

Further tests are being conducted after an autopsy failed to establish a formal cause of death.

Police confirmed to British media that Hans Rausing was receiving medical attention, but would not confirm whether he remained under police guard.

It’s not the first time the couple’s drug problems have reached the media, with Eva Rausing arrested outside the U.S. Embassy in London in 2008 for allegedly trying to bring crack cocaine and heroin into building in her handbag, leading to a police search of their $10 million London town house, which uncovered small amounts of cocaine, crack and heroin.

They were charged with drug possession but the charges were later dropped.

The Rausing family issued a statement at the time, saying relatives were "deeply saddened" by the couple's drug problems and they hoped they could overcome their addictions.

Hans Rausing's Swedish father helped transform the TetraPak business into the successful manufacturer of laminated cardboard drink containers it is today.

Image: The Daily Mail

Rocklea Road ahead: Darrell Lea in administration

The largest Australian confectionary retailer, Darrell Lea has gone into voluntary administration.

The company was founded in 1927 and employs about 700 people across its Sydney-based manufacturing facility and its retail network encompassing 1800 retail outlets and 69 licensed and owned stores across Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Mark Robinson, Jack Bournelis and Daniel Walley of PPB Advisory have been appointed as Voluntary Administrators of the business, following an ongoing review of the business by Directors over Darrell Lea’s ability to meet its ongoing financial obligations.

 “We are undertaking an urgent review of the business with a view to preparing Darrell Lea for sale as a going concern,” Robinson said.

“The owners of the business have agreed to provide some short term financial support whilst we undertake this process.

“We will work with all stakeholders including employees and their representatives, licensees, customers and suppliers to ensure the business continues to operate effectively.”

PPB Advisory says it will update stakeholders as soon as possible, and more information will become available at a press conference at 2:30pm this afternoon.

 

Accessing the market with innovation

Over 60 years ago, expert psychologist Abraham Maslow developed the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs, a crucial breakthrough for understanding human behaviour and requirements, and it is still used today.

The most important of the needs outlined in his pyramid are the ‘Basic,’ or ‘Physiological’ needs: food, water, shelter and warmth.

Basically, the things essential to keep you alive.

But why is this relevant to packaging? Because what we’re talking about here is how everyone gets some of these most important requirements.

If a person can’t open the package to consume food or water to keep them alive, it is more than a little problem.

Without being dramatic about this, it is a matter of life and death, or at the very least nutrition.

Even the most able-bodies and healthy people know the frustration of not being able to open a package, whether it be food or electronic goods or a packet of pens.

But for an increasing number of Australians, the ability to open many packages is impossible.

“In packaging, there has been a shift towards portion control items andsmaller pack sizes.

“Statistics show that there are 6.4 million people with arthritis or a disability in Australia, seven million people are 50-plus, 1.7 million have problems with their eyesight,” Fergal Barry from Arthritis Australia told Food Magazine.

“If you combine the over-50’s with the number of people with arthritis or a disability, that means one in two are facing some kind of restriction with opening packages.”

“When you to open a jar if pickles, for example, you’re actually performing several tasks at once.

“You’ve got to pick it up and hold it, so the weight and shape of the jar impacts that.

Then there’s the friction, if it’s damp for example, it might be more difficult to hold.

“Then there is the labelling and font size and the effectiveness with how messages are communicated.

“And then the lid!

“The width and the depth of the lid will come into play, as will breaking the seal and resealing it.

“So because it is a combination of tasks, it becomes more difficult.”

Dealing with an ageing population

Our ageing population is growing quicker than medical and assistance services can keep up with, and a recent report found that more than 40 per cent of older Australians living in community housing are “malnourished or at risk of malnourishment.”

Much of this malnourishment can be attributed to the quality of food elderly Australians have access to, how easily they can prepare it, but most importantly, if they can open the packaging it comes in.

And it’s not only in their homes that elderly people are struggling to open food packaging, with those in hospitals often not much better off, as Jacky Nordsvan, Packaging Specialist at Nestlé, told Food Magazine.

“The report by the health services basically showed that poor ease-of-use food packaging is a significant contributor to malnourished elderly in public hospitals,” she said.

“Particularly in public hospitals, where the food is bought in packaged meals, this obviously makes it more difficult for patients to feed themselves.

Nestlé is leading with way in accessible food packaging, to address the needs of not only elderly Australians, but everyone who has ever struggled to get a package opened.

“As they get older, people are less likely to want to ask people to do stuff for you, so it is a real problem we need to address.”

This is where a bunch of Maslow’s other needs on his hierarchy come into play, including safety needs on the rung up from the most basic of needs, all the way up through the self-esteem needs including achievement and respect, to self actualisation needs at the top of the pyramid, which includes talent and fulfilment.

When you look at it like this, and think that packaging is often overlooked by the majority of society, it makes you realise that more has to be done in this market.

1 in 2 Australians struggles to access packaging

“It’s not just focused on that [elderly] part of the population, anything that is hard to open that we can make easier is good for all consumers,” Nordsvan said.

“The reason we’re seen as leaders in the area is because at a packaging conference a couple of years ago, we laid out our packaging and asked people if they could open it and they could use their hands or a knife of hammer and we even had a little mannequin of a husband when it got that hopeless and I think that had our packaging reps been there they would have been mortified about how hard it was.”

Nestlé is one of the partners in Arthritis Australia’s mission to improve packaging accessibility, which Barry points out is about more than just getting a package opened.

“The British use the term ‘openability,’ but I think it suggests by its very nature that it is just about opening packaging, whereas the term we use, ‘accessibility’, is much broader than that,” he said.

“There is more to ‘accessibility,’ there is the openability requirement, which is about being able to open a package.

“There’s the labelling, and people’s ability to read messages and other communications, and lastly the cognitive elements, which is the ability for the consumer to understand messages.”

The collaboration of Arthritis Australia, NSW Health and a number of other manufacturers is a huge step forward for not only developing accessible packaging, but making consumers aware of the importance of doing so.

Fighting for a spot

With all the mandatory information, such as nutritional guides and ingredient lists, added to the essential marketing aspects, on packages which are frequently being cut down to create portion-sized offerings, it’s very crowded place these days.

Add to that the pressures of the high Australian dollar and its impact on exports as well as the strain placed on companies through the supermarket price wars, and you have a very competitive, difficult situation for manufacturers and suppliers.

But if companies are willing to innovate their packaging, like Nestlé has, they will find that they have an extra selling point in the market.

While there will be some costs to changing current packaging to make it accessible, Nordsvan explained that the most crucial way to cut those costs is to consider these needs in the design stages, not when it has been launched and problems identified.

“If you put the consumer in the front of your mind when designing packaging, it is a driver for innovation and when we compare designs, we come up with improvements,” Barry explained to Food Magazine.

“For manufacturers and brand owners in this country with private label increasing in the way that it is, how do you compete with China on cost in Australia?

“We have the Accessibility Benchmark Scale which ranks packaging from a plus eight to minus eight, so if a supermarket is trying to decide between two companies supplying private label packaging, and these isn’t much difference on food quality or price, but the packaging is higher on the accessibility scale, it could win the contract.”

“Now you can say ‘ours is a plus-six and there is a plus-two so ours is far easier to open and will make more sales because unlike us, they have already eliminated parts of the market.’

“It could be your brand that gets deleted from shelves.

“Failure to act when the competition is innovating will lose you the business.

“It will help win business for some, but it will lose it for others.

“And if anyone is sitting there saying ‘that won’t happen,’ well it already is.”

 

Toll sells refrigerated business for $6.5 million

Toll has sold its refrigerated business to Automotive Holdings Group Ltd, the owners of Rand Refrigerated Logistics for $6.5 million.

The sale was announced today on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), and will see about 100 staff transfer to the Automotive Holdings Group.

The revenue for Toll Refrigerated’s interstate and consolidated warehousing operations in the year to 30 June 2012 is around $75 million.

The move is part of a strategic review conducted by the company in May.

“Due to the challenging market conditions and margin pressure faced by this business, we concluded that, in this case, divestment was the best option,” Toll Group Managing Director, Brian Kruger, said in the statement.

“It is encouraging that we have been able to complete the review and conclude a positive result for both parties in such a short period of time.”

Other refrigerated transport and warehousing operations provided by other businesses within the group will be retained by Toll.

Fat of the land: how urban design can help curb obesity

OBESE NATION: It’s time to admit it – Australia is becoming an obese nation. This series looks at how this has happened and more importantly, what we can do to stop the obesity epidemic.

Here Billie Giles-Corti and Carolyn Whitzman discuss ways to change our obesogenic environment through urban design while Jo Salmon looks at the role physical activity and exercise play in healthy lifestyles.


Compared with our grandparents, feeding, clothing, and entertaining ourselves has never been easier: a one-stop weekly shopping centre trip in a car, facilitated by convenient parking and light-weight maneuverable shopping trolleys that allow us to whiz around the supermarket with ease.

In fact, these days people don’t even need to leave home to do their food shopping, order takeaway food, bank or pay bills, shop for clothing or household goods, “visit” with their friends, read the newspaper or amuse themselves. Using the internet or telephone, activities that used to involve some level of activity or a short walk, can be done with “anywhere, anytime” convenience.

 

The internet and telephone have made life easy but it's not all good news. teoruiz/Flickr

 

If we couple this lifestyle of convenience with a media environment that advertises and provides an attractive array of easily-accessed, low-cost and tasty, high-fat, high-sugar foods – it’s not surprising that obesity is such a huge problem.

Australia is one of the global leaders in the obesity epidemic, with two-thirds of Australian adults and a quarter of Australian children, overweight or obese. Alarm bells are ringing in health circles about the impact this will have on all the major preventable diseases: type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. These diseases will get worse unless we can help people maintain a consistent belt size throughout their life.

Poor diet, lack of physical activity and other sedentary behaviours are the main culprits in the obesity epidemic. People choose how active they are and what they eat. But their local environments – their neighbourhood, local parks and streets, as well as their homes, workplaces and schools – provide opportunities and barriers that affect those choices.

There’s widespread agreement that we’ve created obesogenic environments that encourage both inactivity and overeating. So what can be done about it?

 

People are more likely to walk and cycle if they live in safe, compact, pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods. Marionzetta/Flickr

 

For a start, we could improve neighbourhood design to get people out of their cars and onto the streets. People are more likely to walk and cycle if they live in safe, compact, pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods characterised by connected street networks, access to nearby destinations such as shops and parks, mixed uses of building such as housing above shops, and high population density.

People living in the suburban sprawl walk less, drive more, and spend more time in sedentary pursuits, such as watching television or cruising on the internet, than those living in compact, pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods. We need to plan services in new communities so that schools, shops, public transport, and parks arrive at the same time as housing – so that residents can develop good walking, cycling and public transport habits from the outset.

At the same time, we need to share the resources available in established suburbs closer to the city where there’s already good access to parks, jobs, and public transport. This means increasing the number of people who live in inner-city suburbs and giving more people access to existing shops and services.

We also need to think about quality and access to open space: parks, ovals, play grounds, and school grounds. The way open space is designed gives people cues about how it is to be used – is this open space simply for vandals and hoons, or does it say to local residents (regardless of age), “this space is open for active business, come and join in”?

 

The way open space is designed gives people cues about how it is to be used. Grant MacDonald

 

Similarly, we need to make the most of what’s called “blue space” – waterways, such as creeks, lakes, rivers and beach fronts. We know that in wealthy areas, blue spaces are opened up and invite the public to be active with walking and cycling paths, but is this true in lower-income areas?

There’s growing evidence that people who drive long distances to work are more likely to gain weight. Reducing commute times would not only be good for the environment, it would also be good for our waistlines – particularly if it involved walking or cycling to rapid public transport. This requires the right types of jobs to be available locally – what type of local business activation models could assist?

We need to give people choices so that healthy options are easy to pick – in neighbourhoods, schools and workplaces. Policies ensuring there’s plenty of fruit, water, and healthy take-away food – not just high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar alternatives – give people the opportunity to make healthier choices.

Providing access to community garden spaces encourages children and adults to develop a love of fresh food has the potential to have a positive impact on our waistlines too.

 

Community gardens encourage people to develop a love of fresh food. RDPixelShop/Flickr

 

And we need to think carefully, as a community, about how happy we are about the way unhealthy food is marketed and actively promoted so readily to children and young people. This normalises unhealthy food choices. We may need restrictions on the marketing of fast food to children in the mass media, at school and at sporting events.

These are choices to be made not only by individuals and families, but also by society. Planning and policy interventions are crucial to correct a serious market failure that is promoting unhealthy lifestyles, at the expense of the health and well-being of the nation and the future life expectancy of our children.

We have choices to make as a society. We know what we prefer – how about you?

This is part fourteen of our series Obese Nation. To read the other instalments, follow the links below:

Part one: Mapping Australia’s collective weight gain

Part two: Explainer: overweight, obese, BMI – what does it all mean?

Part three: Explainer: how does excess weight cause disease?

Part four: Recipe for disaster: creating a food supply to suit the appetite

Part five: What’s economic growth got to do with expanding waistlines?

Part six: Preventing weight gain: the dilemma of effective regulation

Part seven: Filling the regulatory gap in chronic disease prevention

Part eight: Why a fat tax is not enough to tackle the obesity problem

Part nine: Education, wealth and the place you live can affect your weight

Part ten: Innovative strat egies needed to address Indigenous obesity

Part eleven: Two books, one big issue: Why Calories Count and Weighing In

Part twelve: Putting health at the heart of sustainability policy

Part thirteen: Want to stop the obesity epidemic? Let’s get moving

Billie Giles-Corti receives funding from the NHMRC and Australian Urban Infrastructure Network. Professor Giles-Corti is a Fellow of the Public Health Association of Australia.

Carolyn Whitzman receives funding from Australian Urban Infrastructure Network and is a member of the Planning Institute of Australia.

The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.

Brumby’s apologises for telling outlets to blame price rises on carbon tax

 

National bakery chain, Brumby’s, has issues an apology, after internal documents were leaked to the media, showing the company instructed outlets to significantly raise prices of products and blame the carbon tax.

''We are doing an RRP [recommended retail price] review at present which is projected to be in line with CPI [consumer price index], but take the opportunity to make some moves in June and July,'' Brumby's managing director, Deane Priest, wrote to franchisees in the company’s internal publication, Backmix.

''Let the carbon tax take the blame, after all, your costs will be going up due to it.''

The federal government has slammed the ''reprehensible'' behaviour, while the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched an investigation over the comments in the memorandum to staff.

Brumby’s parent company, Retail Food Group, has taken full responsibility for the comments and apologised in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), saying the advice should not have been issued and that it was not representative of the company's policies or practices.

''We therefore express our genuine regret over this isolated incident and unreservedly apologise for this unacceptable error of judgment,'' it said.

While the Gillard government has slammed the comments, the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott said they was understandable.

''I can fully understand why every single business in this country is looking at its costs and thinking of how much its prices have got to go up, because that's what the carbon tax is going to do to them,'' he said.

The ACCC has pledged to catch any others doing the same, after it was given more power to issue fines to companies and individuals misleading others about the price impact of the tax.

Some food and beverage manufacturers have criticised the tax, saying the impact on their businesses will be significant, while others have been implementing changes to cope.

In April Bundaberg Sugar revealed it has invested $40 million on upgrading a mill in southern Queensland to avoid increases in financial payments when the carbon tax is officially introduced.

“Probably the biggest improvement is that the lower moisture bagasse means that the boilers burn more efficiently, which means there's les CO2 into the atmosphere and also less emissions generally from the boiler stacks," general manager David Pickering said.

"The carbon tax is coming in from the first of July, so we want to make sure that we're operating below the threshold.

“This will allow us to produce more bagasse, which is a renewable energy, rather than coal.

"That means that we, in the marketplace, can remain competitive with our product."

Australian Dairy Farmers Association president Chris Griffin told Food Magazine in February the that the dairy industry is not only losing workers, but will be further damaged by the carbon tax and Murray-Darling Basin plan.

“The carbon tax will also cause problems when it’s implemented on the 1st of July; we’ve done work to find the costs that will be incurred and they are largely electrical costs,” he said.

“The average increase for dairy operation will be between $5000- $7000, and that will be an overall direct increase in cost that will have to be passed on somewhere.”

The cost increase cause by the carbon tax will have to be absorbed by the farmers in the milk export market, Griffin told Food Magazine.

“It will have to be absorbed by the farmer because our price is governed by a royal export set price.

“Australia has come out ahead of the game in a way with implementing the carbon tax, but farmers can’t go to their overseas customers and saying ‘we need extra money because Julia has put on a carbon tax,’ the customers would just go elsewhere.”

The carbon price will be fixed at $23 a tonne for its first three years, and  applies to the 294 heaviest polluters in Australia.

The tax has been heavily scrutinised since it was first suggested, with opponents predicting a rise in living costs, as the expenses trickle down the supply chain.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has also copped immense criticism for introducing the tax, despite an earlier election promise that no such tax would be introduced under her leadership.

 

AIP recognises technologists

Packaging technologists who have made a significant contribution to their specific packaging field and to the wider packaging industry, were announced at the 2012 Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) National Conference.

Founders Award

The Founders Award has only been awarded six times in the last 50 years and is only presented to those who give outstanding performances which in a real way enhances the profession of Packaging Technology.

The 7th Awardee of the AIP Founders Award is Llewelyn Stephens, FAIP, Senior Packaging Technologist, LION.

The honour was awarded for Llew’s commitment and significant contribution to the promotion and application of packaging technology and education in industry.

AIP Life Member

Life Membership of the AIP is designed to recognise those long-standing members who have volunteered their time and passion to the continued growth of the Institute.

Life Members are people who continually go above and beyond for the AIP and for the betterment of the packaging industry.

This year the AIP has one Life Member, Richard Mason MAIP.

Richard continues to assist the NSW Division even in his retirement and has who worked in the packaging industry for over forty years.

He is on the national membership grading committee, the NSW branch committee and helps the national office on a continued basis.

AIP Fellows

The grade of Fellow is the highest professional recognition awarded to AIP Members by their peers and is designed to recognise the significant and sustained contribution these people have made to the technology, science or application to packaging in the industry. The AIP upgraded two members for 2012; Dr Roya Khalil, Senior Packaging Technologist, SPC Ardmona and Nola Porteus, Paper & Board Laboratory Manager, VISY Technology & Innovation Centre.

JBS locking workers out over industrial action

After planned industrial action last week that was cancelled at the eleventh hour, the JBS meatworks in Rockhampton will close as workers walk off the job this Friday.

Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union’s Lee Norris said the company decided to close the factory entirely for the day, rather than allowing workers to stop work for four hours.

"We regard this as a lock-out," he said.

The workers are fighting for a four per cent pay rise to be made part of their bargaining agreement.

Two weeks ago the same situation occurred, after workers announced plans to strike for four hours, and the company closed the factory for the day in response.

JBS has offered 3 per cent, which it has previously said is reasonable and fair, but workers want the company to agree to the AMIEU’s  four per cent wage increase claim.

Whispering sweet nothings: the evolution of the confectionary industry

Willy Wonka was really onto something with his candy factory.

Not only did he realise that making confectionary will bring a smile to the faces of those who eat it – hell, it will get a bedridden man dancing around like he’s Patrick Swayze at the mere idea of it – but he was also an innovator.

Yes, you read that right, this article is singing the praises of Willy Wonka (“If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it, anything you want to, do it…wanta change the world? There's nothing toooo it”) because confectionary is a beautiful thing.

It is one of the most innovative, creative and interesting industries, filled with people just like Willy Wonka, who unfortunately don’t have his chocolate factory, but on the upside do have his imagination and passion for invention.

“Australia has a very good confectionary industry, we have great products and some really good marketing and there are some fantastic smaller brands bubbling away which is a great thing,” Anne Barrington, Product Manager at Keith Harris Flavours & Colours, Bronson & Jacobs told Food Magazine.

“There are some really great gourmet items coming up through the really boutique brands.”

Three dimensional confectionary

The confectionary industry is always expanding, becoming more creative and experimenting with different flavours.

“The main trends we’re seeing are in the chocolate and gummy lolly markets at the moment, which are both pretty dynamic,” she told Food Magazine.

“We’re seeing a lot of sensory things coming through that give you multi dimensional textures and flavours, like the tingling cooling effect and fruit pieces coming through.

“Things that are giving the consumer almost a three dimensional experience with a products are certainly being seen in the chocolate market, which is really tapping into that gourmet part of the market and very much capitalising on very good media on antioxidants with the dark chocolate. 

Cadbury’s Marvellous Creations, which combines a number of different textures, flavours and experiences in one mouthful, launched this month, bringing home Barrington’s point about the increase in sensory experiences in the confectionary market.

“Marvellous Creations was developed in response to Australians telling us they want a chocolate experience to share as part of the family occasion, which is fun, magically exciting and unexpected,” Ben Wicks, General Manager Chocolate, Kraft Foods, told Food Magazine.

“We identified a real opportunity to create a product that is ideal for family sharing and brings everyone together at the end of the day.

“We know that families love the occasional surprise and delight in the unexpected. Marvellous Creations is the ideal way to bring a moment of unexpected joy in the everyday.”

The Marvellous Creations range offers consumers three variations, which may seem like strange combinations at first, but have been met with intrigue in the consumer market.

There’s the peanut, toffee and cookie combination, the jelly and Crunchie bits blend and the jelly, popping candy and beanies offering, all covered in famous Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate.

“We tested a number of different flavour combinations with consumers, and had overwhelming positive response to these,” Wicks explained.

“All three variants are performing extremely well, however Jelly Popping Candy Beanies is proving to be particularly popular after just four weeks on shelves,” Wicks told Food Magazine.

The strangest of combinations

Barrington explained that often, combinations of flavours that might sound odd or a little off-putting, in fact turn out to be very popular.

“Certainly the celebrity chef’s and the food shows are bringing a lot of interest into flavours and how they can work together, which means a lot of consumers are more willing to try new things,” she said.

“What we’re also seeing is a lot of different flavour trends coming through, we’re seeing savoury flavours coming into chocolate, thinks like bacon and lime and salt, salted caramel.

“We’re talking about pretty gourmet boutique brands here, but often what we see is that these things bubble away in the boutique market for a while and then it hits the mainstream once it has been accepted and received by consumers.

“It’s how the consumer accepts those new flavours, and often the gourmet boutique brands are the testing ground for new flavours.

“We’re seeing spices coming into chocolate and even into the gum lolly market, as well as some cinnamon and herbs even!

“Herbs and spices are pretty new, but people are familiar with new things coming into chocolate, we’ve seen some floral flavours, like rose. as well.

And while the confectionary industry often seems to stand on its own and march to the beat of its own drum, Barrington explained to Food Magazine that it is not actually as isolated you may think.

“There confectionary industry also often looks to the beverage markets to see some of the flavour trends going on there, because there is quite a lot of alignment,” she said.

“You might see a lot of berry flavours making their way into the beverage market and being very popular and them confectionary makers might try them in their products.

“One of the biggest trends is the expansion of berries of all types, cherry, blackberry, blueberry.

Food scientists and confectionary experts are always hard at work trying to perfect the flavours available to consumers, ensuring they are as realistic as possible.

“There will always be the favourite flavours, which are the basic flavours in confectionary; raspberry, vanilla, lime, but a lot of those flavours have gotten a  lot more sophisticated in their profiles and particular in the flavour experience, they are much truer to type nowadays,” Barrington said.

“Twenty years ago, mango flavour was what they determined mango to be, which was actually nothing like what a mango tasted like.

“Now that mangoes are so readily available and so popular here, the flavour is more true to the fruit, because it has to be.”

How flavours are changing

Beyond the creativity of the industry, and the seemingly endless combinations thought up by confectionary producers, Barrington told Food Magazine the biggest change has not been about adding things, but rather removing.

She’s talking about artificial colours and flavours, which have almost ceased to exist in not only the confectionary industry, but throughout much of the food sector.

“The biggest change across all sectors has been the natural flavours in products aimed at children,” she said.

“Twenty years ago I would say the bulk of flavours were artificial, or synthetic.

“So absolutely, the natural flavours have expanded.

“Back then, the availability to raw flavours was poor but over the last eight to 10 years, the situation has reversed and the major developments in the industry are focused on natural flavours.”

Barrington said greater understanding of the impacts of additives on health has led to widespread developments and improvements to how the flavours are colours are made.

“Now we have a lot more access to natural flavouring materials, whereas before it was very difficult.

“There is a code for how it is determined and there are very strict laws around natural flavouring and labelling your product as such.

“FSANZ [Food Standards Australia New Zealand]has changed the terminology so it is now referred to as a ‘synthetic’ flavour, rather than artificial.

The Australian confectionary industry follows the International Organisation of the Flavour Industry (IOFI) Code of Practice to ensure the health, quality and ingredients of products.

The health factor

While the enjoyment of confectionary cannot be understated, the industry is, understandably, scrutinised as the rates of obesity and obesity-related diseases rise.

In a move sure to upset chocoholics everywhere – but perhaps please their doctors – Mars announced plans in February to stop shipping chocolate bars that exceed 250 calories per portion.

It will mean the king sized chocolate bars made by the confectionary giant, including Snickers, M&M’s, Mars, Milky Way and Dove will effectively be unavailable by the end of 2013.

Even a regular sized Snickers contains 280 calories, but the company advises that it includes three serving sizes.

A king-sized Snickers contains 510 calories.

The family sized blocks of chocolate produced by the company will still be available, as they are intended to be shared.

Some critics came out swinging, accusing Mars of reducing chocolate size to save money on expensive cocoa, but the company said in a statement that it is another move by the company to create healthier products for its consumers.

The company has previously announced aims to reduce sodium levels in all Mars products by 25 per cent from 2007 levels, stop marketing chocolate products directly to children under 12 and it also started displaying calorie counts on the front of packages, eliminating trans fat and reducing saturated fat.

"Mars has a broad-based commitment to health and nutrition, and this includes a number of global initiatives," the company said in a statement.

Initiatives like Mars’ are increasing fast, but not as fast as people’s waistlines.

Of the most pressing concern is the rapidly increasing occurrences of childhood obesity, and as such, there have been calls from medical associations and parenting groups to have all advertising of junk food to children stopped.

A report in May found that children are seeing 60 per cent less junk food advertising during their television programs, following suggestions from the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) that the practise should be stopped, and calls from health groups to ban ads aimed at those under 12.

In 2009 the AFGC suggested that high sugar, fat and salt (HFSS) foods should not be advertised during television programs aimed at children.

Following the suggestion, however, HFSS advertisements aimed at children did not decrease, but rather in some instances actually increased.

The AFGC maintains this rise was the result of scheduling error, but health groups including the Cancer Council, Parents Jury, Australian Medical Association and the Australian Greens called on the government to step in and ban the practise.

The AFGC said the suggestion to ban cartoons in advertising HFSS foods to children was “unnecessary” last year.

The AFGC then released figures in May to support its suggestions, which found the advertising of HFSS foods during children’s programs has fallen to 0.7 per cent between March and May 2011, down 60 per cent from the previous year.

The independent research by the Australian advertising information service Media Monitors was revealed in the RCMI Activity Report 2011, monitored free-to-air television – including digital channels – across Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney 24/7 for 92 days.

The figures prove that the Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative (RCMI), which was started in 2009, is working, according to AFGC Acting Chief Executive Dr Geoffrey Annison.

Under the RCMI, 17 leading food manufacturers have committed to no advertise to children under 12, unless the ads are promoting healthy dietary choices and a healthy lifestyle.

 “The latest advertising figures confirm that adverts are not running during TV programs aimed at children,” Annison said.

Annison said the AFGC is pleased the food industry has made decisions to protect children with industry codes.

“Industry looks forward to continuing discussions with Government and public health advocates to ensure the RCMI is aligned with community expectations, remains practical for industry to implement and is successful in supporting better diets and health outcomes for all Australians.”

Barrington said that while the health and nutrition, particularly of children, is always of concern, confectionary should always be seen and marketed as a ‘sometimes’ food, and should be enjoyed at those times.

“Confectionary is a hard one because if people want chocolate, they want chocolate!

Certainly in that category, consumers won’t compromise on that.”

Well then, back to the factory for the Oompa Loompas!

 

Woollies denied liquor retail purchases

The consumer watchdog has ruled against Woolworths purchasing more liquor retailers, because it would lessen competition.

Traditionally known as a supermarket giant, Woolworths has also bought into everything from hardware, pokie machines and liquor over the years.

Earlier this year, the national secretary of the food and confectionary division of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), Jennifer Dowell, told Food Magazine that Woolworths and Coles have extended their reach to control more markets than most consumers realise.

“The mistake that most people make in these Inquiries and things is that they look at Coles and Woollies as retailers, but they are food processors and they control the market,” she said.

“If I control a market I can just put all my own products in it, and as I have said at the inquiry, if I am mother pushing a trolley through Woollies with three screaming kids, and all they have is their own brand, I am not going to pack my kids up into the car and drive around to find non-existent corner stores that stock the product I actually want.

“They try to say they’re allowing consumers to decide, but they are making all the decisions for us, and it’s time we opened our eyes and saw that.

“If a company like Nestle came out and said “we’re going to buy a stake in Coles, and dominate the shelves with our products,” there would be uproar, it would be a huge scandal, but when the supermarkets do it, it’s a non-issue.

“That just doesn’t make sense.”

It’s been accused of damaging competition in the supermarkets sector and various others it has a stake in.

Last month, the Master Grocers Australia accused the corporation of building enormous supermarkets in regional centres, wiping out local competition.

''Master Grocers Australia believes the strategy is conscious, deliberate and intended to bring about a substantial lessening of competition in those local markets where over-large stores are developed,'' a draft report said.

And amid accusations that Coles and Woolworths are intimidating food manufacturers and produce growers so much they are too scared to even speak up at a Senate Inquiry, a leading Australian wine body publically criticised the big two last month, saying they bully winemakers too.

The power is so overbearing that Stephen Strachan would only speak publically once he had finished his role as the chief executive of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia.

It wanted to buy a portfolio of New South Wales pubs from the Laundy Hotel Group, and while the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) ruled it could acquire 28 pubs yesterday, it has denied the plans to also purchase five takeaway liquor retail outlets.

According to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) announcement, Woolworths purchasing 28 pubs is unlikely to substantially affect competition, while the acquisition of the five takeaway packaged liquor retailers would likely substantially lessen competition in the relevant local markets.

The deal is reportedly worth about $500 million.


 

Industrial action cancelled at QLD meatworks

The planned industrial action that was set to close Ipswich’s largest meatworks has been cancelled at the last minute.

Workers at JBS Rockhampton abattoir announced plans to walk off the job for four hours today, as they call for a four per cent rise to be included in their bargaining agreement.

The employer responded by declaring the work stoppages would mean the meatworks would have to be closed all day, and workers participating in the strike would not be paid for the day.

Union members voted in favour of the four hour stoppage, which is not the first time workers have walked off the job over the dispute.

But late yesterday, all workers voted not to support the planned industrial action, overriding the union’s plans.

According to Australian Meat Industry Employees Union industrial officer, Lee Norris, further meetings will be held to discuss the issues.

Workers, union members and the employers say they will continue to negotiate in good faith.

 

Nuckin Futs approved for sale in Australia

It seems Australians do still have a sense of humour, after no official complaints were lodged against the “Nuckin Futs” brand name.

A spoof of “f***ing nuts,” the snack food’s name got plenty of publicity early this year, and many thought it to be in bad taste.

A three-month opposition period was then entered into, to allow any person who believed the item should not be sold in Australia, to say so.

But while many people were against the brand name, no formal complaints were made to the trademark examiner, so the name can go ahead.

“Nobody took five minutes out of their day to actually oppose it after all the [abusive] emails we received," Jamie White, the solicitor who submitted the application on behalf of his client, told News Ltd.

“So really do people think it’s that scandalous and really does it impact them at all?”

“People may have been shocked by the trademark but not offended enough to put a stop to it.”

The company argued that the f-word has become a part of the accepted Australian language and therefore the trademark should not be denied.

The trademark examiner has granted permission on the condition it will not market the product to children.

 

Injured meat worker wants $500 000

A Rockhampton meatworker injured when three knives plunged into his body is seeking more than $750 000 in damages.

Steven Charles Larson was working as a slaughterman at the JBS Nerimbera abattoir in 2009 when the freak accident occurred, leaving him with stabs to his neck, collarbone and hand.

The now 41-year-old wounds resulted in permanent damage and pain to his neck and left hand, and has also ruined his career possibilities, the court has heard.

Documents lodged with the Supreme Court in Rockhampton stated that at 5:45am on 14 July 2009, the Mount Morgan man was preparing for his shift by sharpening his knives in the "kill floor" anteroom.

The room was located directly below a set of stairs leading to the floor, and when a colleague was walking up the stairs, she dropped her knife kit.

Three knives fell and speared Larson, according to the claim.

Larson is suing for the loss of his weekly pay packet of $800 for the past three years and then for the next 25 years.

The total compensation will total over $500 000.

Larson is also seeking compensation for his medical expenses, both past and continuing, for the injuries sustained in the accident.

Larson has "endured and continues to endure pain, suffering and diminution of the enjoyment of the amenities of life,” according to the statements, which also say the company is "vicariously liable" for the actions of Larson's colleague.

They argue that JBS failed to provide a safe workplace by ensuring proper barricades would stop falling knives hitting employees.

It’s not been an enjoyable time of late for JBS, with news yesterday that it would be closing the Dinmore meatworks on Friday in response to workers walking off the job.

The move comes after a number of work stoppages, as workers fight for a four per cent annual pay rise to be included in a new enterprise bargaining agreement.

Management at JBS Australia’s Dinmore meatworks said the decision by workers to walk off the job for four hours on Friday will mean the entire plant will have to be closed all day.