Fire destroys $100k of livestock at a central QLD piggery

A piggery in central QLD has lost $100k of livestock in an early morning fire in a farrowing shed.

In Biloela, more than 60 sows and about 600 piglets died in the blaze, which was first reported to fire crews about 1:45am on Monday, The Morning Bulletin reports.

Australian Pork Limited's general manager of communications Emily Mackintosh said the fire had obliterated about one week's worth of production, however it was not expected to impact on the price of pork in the region.

"Any loss of a life of an animal in a fire is tragic," Mackintosh said. "There were no human injuries and they (staff) were able to get a lot of the rest of the pigs out before the fire took hold. You're not going to see an impact on pork prices."

Mackintosh said: "whilst it is under investigation, it isn't suspicious and potentially pointing to an electrical fault with one of the heat lamps."

Bettafields Piggery co-owner Laurie Brosnan said the toll could have been higher, had it not been for the fire starting in a complex set down for decommission.

"There was not many stock remaining in there at this point," he said. "Some (pigs) were saved; some have perished in the fire. It was a reasonably sized fire…we limited the damage as much as we could."

The fire was brought under control just before 3am yesterday.

Biloela Police officer in charge Senior Sergeant Nick Paton said a forensic investigation team would attend the scene; however the fire had not appeared to be suspicious.

 

Change border restrictions and Africa could feed itself: World Bank

Farmers in Africa could grow enough food to feed the continent and alleviate hunger, according to the World Bank.

A recent report by the World Bank made the prediction, but said it could only happen “if countries remove cross-border restrictions on the food trade within the region.”

Currently, 19 million people living in West Africa’s Sahel region already face hunger and malnutrition, the report found.

The African continent would also generate an extra US$20 billion in yearly earnings if African leaders dismantled “trade barriers that blunt more regional dynamism,” The Africa Can Help Feed Africa: Removing barriers to regional trade in food staples report said.

It continued that rapid urbanisation will provide challenges for African farmers trying to ship their cereals and other foods to consumers when the nearest trade market is just across a national border. 

Many African farmers are effectively cut off from the high-yield seeds, affordable fertilizers and pesticides to expand their crop production, which has led to the continent becoming reliant on foreign imports to meet its growing staple food needs.

“The key challenge for the continent is how to create a competitive environment in which governments embrace credible and stable policies that encourage private investors and businesses to boost food production across the region, so that farmers get the capital, the seeds, and the machinery they need to become more efficient, and families get enough good food at the right price.” Paul Brenton, the World Bank’s Lead Economist for Africa and principal author of the report said.

Last year Australian Foreign Minsiter Kevin Rudd announced a commitment from Australia to assist Africa improve economic growth through investment and trade.

Australia’s trade with African countries has grown steadily over the last decade at an annual average rate of just over 6 per cent, according to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 
Australia’s total merchandise trade with Africa was valued at $5.8 billion in 2009-10.

The government has it wrong on alcohol’s role in chronic diseases

The Commonwealth government looks set to lose its top position in preventative health measures. Despite its world-first efforts on tobacco control, when the government next steps onto the world stage, it will be not be as a leader – its position on alcohol is out of step with the World Health Organization and contrary to evidence.

It’s decision time in the global effort to prevent and control non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the leading cause of death in this country. The United Nations General Assembly reached an historic decision in September last year, when, for only the second time in its 67-year history, it met to discuss a health issue.

Member countries agreed on a 25% reduction in chronic diseases by 2025. And on 5 November, they will attend a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting to reach agreement on a global monitoring framework for these diseases.

Non-communicable or chronic diseases include cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic respiratory disease. They account for 60 million deaths a year worldwide, and share four main risk factors – unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption.

The WHO was given the task of designing and adopting a comprehensive global monitoring framework, including indicators and a set of voluntary global targets. It has published three discussion papers on the subject this year.

The latest discussion paper proposes to identify nine outcome and exposure targets, including alcohol, fat intake, obesity and tobacco, and eleven indicators of outcomes and exposure to risk factors, including adult per capita alcohol consumption.

The WHO meeting is still a couple of weeks away but the Australian government has already indicated its position on the issue of targets and indicators around alcohol.

Its response to the WHO papers (some dating back to February, but only now made available publicly) has been to oppose the adoption of per capita consumption as an indicator and not support adopting global alcohol consumption reduction targets.

 

The government’s position is at odds with the WHO. AAP

 

Excess alcohol consumption is one of the leading risk factors for death and disease globally and there’s a strong link between alcohol and chronic diseases. There’s also strong evidence to suggest a reduction in alcohol consumption at the population level will reduce the rates of health and social harms caused by alcohol misuse.

The government’s position is out of step with the Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol, which emphasises that the harmful use of alcohol and related public health problems are influenced by the general level of alcohol consumption in a population, drinking patterns and local contexts.

It’s also at odds with science. Its critique of an earlier WHO discussion paper claimed that per capita consumption “does not reflect risk of NCDs”, and added that adult per capita alcohol consumption is “not a target measure that focuses on the primary area of concern with alcohol, namely, long term harm”.

The latest WHO discussion paper directly responds to this, noting “the risk of most alcohol-attributable health conditions is correlated with the overall levels of alcohol consumption…. The available data indicate that the overall levels of alcohol consumption, measured as per capita alcohol consumption, correlate with major alcohol-related health outcomes”.

It would be difficult to find an alcohol researcher in Australia who would disagree with the WHO position and agree with the government.

The failure to support what the evidence shows and what experts agree on puts Australia in a ridiculous position. And it undermines the UN initiative and risks jeopardising Australia’s international reputation.

There’s less than two weeks between now and November 5 for the government to move to a defensible and forward-looking position – a position that supports a reduction in alcohol consumption in the suggested targets and the use of adult per capita alcohol consumption as a relevant indicator for progress.

Robin Room is a technical advisor to the World Health Organization.

The Conversation

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

Do energy drinks need warning labels? Teen’s death linked to Monster

The maker of energy drink Monster Energy are being sued by the family of a teenager who died from heart complications after consuming two cans of the product.

US teenager Anais Fournier, 14, consumed two of the energy drinks in two days and died less than a week later from heart arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity that complicated a diagnosed heart disorder.

The family argues that there was not sufficient warning about the impacts of consuming the drinks, which are particularly dangerous in large volumes or even in small amounts for those with pre-existing heart conditions.

The company has denied the drink was responsible for the teenager’s death but the US Food and Drug Administration is currently investigating five other deaths linked to Monster Energy.

Energy drinks including Mother, Red Bull, V and Monster, which have more than triple the amount of caffeine as standard cola, in addition to guarana, have been the subject of much debate over the last few years.

Early this year a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia found the number of people reporting heart problems, tremors and chest pains from drinking the beverages has increased dramatically and the poisons helpline received 65 calls in one year from people concerned about their consumption of energy drinks.

As the highest consumers of caffeinated energy drinks, teenagers experience the reactions most frequently and the authors of the study say the findings are a “warning call” for people who drink the beverages.

More than half the reported cases were teenage males.

The study lead to Australian medical experts calling for mandatory warning labels on all high-energy drinks and this year a working group was established to review the guidelines surrounding the addition of caffeine to food.

"The review of the policy guideline on caffeine has been and will continue to consider global developments in information relating to caffeinated products, including energy drinks, and regulatory approaches being taken in similar countries,"  a Department of Health and Ageing spokesperson said in a statement.

The working group's paper will be made available for public comment early 2013.

Do you think energy drinks need warning labels? Should there be an age restriction on them similar to alcohol?

Man’s arm trapped in machine at meat processing plant

A man had his arm trapped in a machine at a meat processing plant in New Zealand this morning.

Emergency services were called to the Te Kuiti Meat Processors, south of Hamilton, in the North Island this morning about 11.45am.

The man’s arm was freed and he was flown to Waikato Hospital with severe injuries, according to a St John Ambulance spokesman.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is making preliminary inquiries into the incident and Te Kuiti Meat Processors' has not yet commented on the incident.

Blaze at QLD Capilano factory

A fire on the Capilano honey premises in Queensland this morning has not caused any injuries or impacted honey packing.

The fire on the Richlands premises in Brisbane occurred in a corner of the property, damaging a secondary honey holding and decanting sheds.

There was no damage to the main factory building, and Capilano said the fire will not impact decanting, production of bottled or packing of honey in there.

Some stored honey has been lost and damage sustained to other buildings, but the company’s main honey stocks are unaffected and it will still be able to process and pack honey to meet demand.

Capilano also has a second plant in Maryborough, Victoria as a backup for such emergencies.

The alarm was raised when the fire started and the premises evacuated, but no injuries have been reported.

Capilano has thanked the Queensland Fire and Rescue and Service for their speedy arrival to the premises and quick containment of the fire.

Fire Investigation teams remained on site to monitor the area for the following 24 hours.

Image: The Courier Mail

U.N. Food Chief: G20 must act on worries around rising food prices

The head of the U.N.’s food agency has called on the Group of 20 nations to coordinate action and address rising global food prices as concerns grow that we are headed towards another food crisis.

Between 85 and 95 percent of the crops most affected by the rises – wheat and corn – are produced by the G20 countries.

U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Jose Graziano Da Silva has been careful to state that the current rises are not a crisis, however he warns that it could reach that level if upcoming harvests in the southern hemisphere were disappointing.

These warnings and concerns come as Australia continues to debate the future and sustainability of our current agriculture practices and our role in supplying food for other nations, particularly South-East Asia.

Da Silva also noted that current price rises are not as critical as during 2007/08, when price rises resulted in violent protests and conflicts in countries including Egypt, Camaroon and Haiti.

"There is no crisis," he told Reuters. "This kind of panic buying is what we need to avoid at the moment."

Da Silva and other experts at the conference said that there was also a massive waste of food in the world, an issue that needed to be resolved in order better to harness resources.

Reports coming out the US last week stated that Americans waste as much as 40% of their food each year, leading to calls for greater action to prevent food waste.

Man killed at Perth packaging factory

A man was killed at a packaging factory in Perth when he got caught in a robotoc pallet loader.

The incident, which occurred at the Richgro Garden Products factory in Jandakot, in Perth’s south on Saturday, is being investigated by WorkSafe.

No further information on the incident or the deceased is currently available.

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

Victoria failing on alcohol policies: Auditor-General

The number of alcohol-related assaults in Victoria have risen rose by almost since 2001, while the number of ambulance attendances to deal with incidents related to alcohol more than tripled.

The state’s Auditor-General, Dr Peter Frost, has called on the government to act on alcohol-related harm, as he releases the findings.

The Effectiveness of Justice Strategies in Preventing and Reducing Alcohol-Related Harm report compared data from 2000-01 to 2010-11, and the shocking statistics have revealed the current government policies are not working.

According to the report, the Department of Justice had put $67 million towards the problem of alcohol abuse in Victoria since 2008, but with very little impact.

Frost believes there is a lack of whole‑of‑government policy for the treatment of alcohol and its position in society.

He said poorly chosen and evaluated initiatives have resulted in inconsistent liquor licensing processes and legislation in the state, and labelled the Department of Justice’s alcohol policy initiatives “largely fragmented, superficial, and reactive”.

Frost wants significant changes made to how the government approaches strategy development, licensing and enforcement, and says that without such changes, the chances of making any noticeable impact on reducing alcohol-related harm is unlikely.

“Unfortunately, steps taken to date in developing the new alcohol and drug strategy, which is currently still in draft, suggest that opportunities for meaningful change may again be missed,” Frost said in the report.

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.

How does excess weight cause disease?

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

We start by setting the scene with a map illustrating the extent of the problem and some tools to understand what this means: how we measure obesity and here, an explanation of how excess weight affects our body and causes disease.

When you consider the potential for a shortened lifespan and increased risk of a long list of diseases, it’s no wonder Australia’s obesity epidemic is causing so much concern. According to the National Health and Medical Research Council, obesity causes, worsens, or increases your risk of a raft of diseases, including:

  • diabetes,
  • obstructive sleep apnoea,
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome,
  • hypertension,
  • abnormal lipids,
  • heart attack and stroke,
  • some cancers,
  • fatty liver.

So how does obesity cause or contribute to these problems? The answer is complex, as there are multiple mechanisms. But the most important factor is that fat causes resistance to insulin, the hormone responsible for regulating metabolism.

When the body accumulates excess fat, it’s either stored in fat cells, where it’s relatively safe, or deposited in tissues, such as the liver and muscles.

In the liver, fat drives the increased production of glucose (sugar). In muscles, excess fat impairs the action of insulin to stimulate the body’s cells to use this glucose as a source of energy. The resulting insulin resistance forces the pancreas to overproduce insulin, in an effort to maintain normal blood glucose levels.

This is dramatically demonstrated in patients who have lipodystrophy, a genetic or autoimmune disorder in which there is a deficiency of fat cells. These people have nowhere to store fat, except in liver and muscle, and develop severe insulin resistance, diabetes and fatty liver.

Diabetes

Obesity affects the body’s ability to produce insulin. This is caused by stress on the insulin-producing pancreatic islet (β) cells and excess fat directly damaging these islet cells.

In people with a genetic predisposition to diabetes, the combination of insulin resistance, direct fat toxicity and genetic predisposition leads to the failure and death of islet cells. The result is a relative deficiency of insulin and the development of type 2 diabetes.

Obstructive sleep apnoea

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) occurs when there is an excess of fat around the neck which increases the collapsibility of the air passage to the lung, particularly during sleep. The resulting reduction of blood oxygen tells the sleeper’s brain to wake up and take a deep breath. This happens repeatedly during the night, preventing the individual from getting enough sleep.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome

The high insulin levels resulting from insulin resistance stimulate the ovary to make an excess of male-type hormones (normally produced in small amounts in women). This over-production of hormones can lead to acne, facial hair and the production of ovarian cysts. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is also a common cause of infertility.

Hypertension

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, means the heart has to work harder than usual to pump blood to the arteries.

Insulin has been shown to increase blood pressure by causing the kidney to retain salt and by activating the sympathetic (adrenaline) nervous system. Salt increases the amount of water that is retained (and therefore the volume of the blood), while the increased sympathetic activity narrows some blood vessels. The increased fluid and decreased vessel volume combine to increase blood pressure.

Abnormal lipids (high cholesterol)

The body produces cholesterol, a type of fat, to perform a number of metabolic processes such as creating hormones and bile.

The typical lipid abnormalities seen in people with obesity are elevated triglyceride (known as a “storage fat”) and a low HDL-cholesterol (or good cholesterol). While still under investigation, there is some evidence to suggest that elevated triglycerides are caused by fat-induced insulin resistance.

Low HDL-cholesterol is bad because its role is to take cholesterol from the blood vessels to the liver for removal. Low HDL means that this cleaning function doesn’t occur, leaving harmful cholesterol to remain in the blood vessels.

Increased risk of heart attack and stroke

As described above, obesity causes multiple cardiovascular risk factors such as impaired glucose tolerance, high blood pressure and abnormal lipids. These lead to excess fat deposition in the blood vessels, including those supplying the heart muscle and the brain.

When these fatty plaques rupture, a clot forms over them, blocking the vessel and resulting in a heart attack or a stroke, depending on which artery the clot forms in.

Increased incidence of cancer

The increased risk of cancer, particularly of the breast and bowel, with obesity has been documented in several large surveys. The mechanisms of this link are not yet fully understood and are currently the subject of much research.

Fatty liver

Excess fat accumulation in the liver can cause damage leading to liver-cell death, and in genetically susceptible people, can even cause cirrhosis (end-stage liver disease which requires a liver transplant).

The high prevalence of obesity means that fat-induced cirrhosis is overtaking excess alcohol or viral hepatitis as the commonest cause of cirrhosis.

Researchers are still investigating the mechanisms underpinning the links between obesity and various chronic diseases, but there’s no doubt excess weight poses a serious health risk. Urgent action is needed to halt Australia’s obesity epidemic.

This is part three 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?

Joseph Proietto received funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council to investigate the link between obesity and abnormal lipids.

The Conversation

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

4 million Aussies struggle to open packaging: how the industry is improving

Evolving lifestyles and an ageing population will force packaging to innovate, as they attempt to meet changing household demographics and more educated consumers.

“The average household has two occupants,” Paul Curtis, chief executive of the Packaging Council of Australia told the AIP National Conference.

“We’re all seeing increased demand for sealable packages to reduce wastage, portion controlled packaging to meet our diet needs, as well as on-the-go packaging to eat when out and about,” he said.

“Packaging will get more and more attention in the future.”

A collaboration between NSW Health, Arthritis Australia and companies including Nestle, is already making significant changes to the packaging industry, particularly with accessibility.

Accessible packaging is a crucial component in packaging nowadays, with a rapidly ageing population, who mostly want to stay at home rather than going into aged care.

But it’s not just older Australians who struggle to open packaging, as Wendy Favorito, Director and Consumer Representative, Arthritis Australia said.

After being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at a young age, Favorito is finds opening a lot of packaging an impossible task.

“When I look at a picture of a jar, you might as well show me a picture of Mount Everest, because it is basically that impossible to me,” she said.

Favorito explained that the impossible task of opening jars, cans and other kinds of packaging takes an emotional toll on the person.

“Every day I struggle to open something and that has a huge emotional toll in trying to live independently and maintain self esteem,” she said.

“I feel angry, I feel frustrated, I feel disappointed and I am not alone.

“I am privileged to tell my story on behalf of about 4 million Australians who are living with some form of arthritis.”

NSW Health has committed to supplying hospitals with easily opened packaging, and Nestle is also working towards improving its standards, as determined by the Accessibility Scale created by Arthritis Australia.

“Accessibility is a key area of development for the NSW Minister for Health,” NSW Health’s Carmen Rechbauer said.

“The issue for food service people is not to go backwards, but to improve the safety of meals delivered to patients.

“They are portion-controlled to ensure patient are their getting their nutrients, but people can’t open the stuff to eat it.

“And I’m not just talking about patients, but staff as well.

“ If you think about hospital patients, they are just the general population, who pass though there.

“It’s exciting to see accessibility is being taken seriously now.”
 

Make sure to check out the in-depths feature on accessible packaging in the June edition of Food Magazine.

Reliance on transported foods could leave entire towns starving: govt report

A new report from the federal government has found that Australia’s growing reliance on foods transported long distances could be deadly in the case of natural disasters or other crises.

The Resilience in the Australian Food Supply Chain report, by the Department of Agriculture, found that the increasing dependence on perishables including milk and produce being transported thousands of kilometres would spell disaster, particularly for smaller towns, if a disaster occurred.

''The key question is whether, following a natural disaster or other major disruptive event, Australians in affected regions would go hungry,” the report says.

“The risk that this could happen is growing, especially if separate events in Australia's eastern states were to coincide.”

Over 75,000 truck trips are conducted each week across Australia to deliver more than 40 million cases of food, which is then sold from about 80,000 retail outlets including supermarkets, shops and restaurants.

Late last month the Transport Workers Union (TWU) accused Coles and Woolworths of contributing to road deaths by placing unrealistic demands on truck drivers, and the DAFF report also pointed to the increasingly complicated distribution networks created by the supermarkets as a contributing factor in the potentially dangerous situation.

''Longer supply chains expose transport routes to more points of potential vulnerability from such events as flood, fire and earthquake,'' the report states.

The Queensland floods in late 2010 and early 2011 highlighted some of the major issues with the current supply chain, with Rockhampton cut off by road, rail and air for more than two weeks and Brisbane coming within one day of running out of bread completely.

While nobody starved during the floods, it did highlight the potential risk of larger disasters, or more than one occurring at the same time.

If the Queensland floods had occurred at the same time as the bushfires of 2009, it would have been impossible for food to be delivered to far north Queensland, the report found.

As global warming increases, weather extremities increase and it becomes almost impossible to predict seasons, the possibility of two such disasters occurring simultaneously, or close enough to, is not unrealistic.

''If we had multiple emergency experiences happening around the same time – flood in Queensland, fire events in Victoria and another event in, say, South Australia – then the national system would struggle.,” Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary Allen Grant told the current Senate inquiry into food processing.

Last week it was revealed the one in four products currently sold in Australia’s major supermarkets is private label and of those, one in two is imported.

The reliance on imports and lower quality foods to reduce costs in the cut-throat supermarket price war has led to countless Australian farmers, growers, processors and manufacturers being pushed out of work, but the current Senate Inquiry is struggling to get anyone to publically criticise the big two, for fear of punishment.

The departing chief executive of the Winemakers Federation of Australia, who would only speak out because he was leaving the representative body, came out swinging over the weekend, saying the supermarkets are also bullying winemakers, as well as food producers.

Hundreds of sheep strewn across Melbourne highways when truck rolls

A truck carrying about 400 sheep overturned on a Melbourne highway last night, scattering the animals across the road and onto oncoming vehicles.

Crews worked thorough the night to clean up the incident, which occurred on the Metropolitan Ring Road above the Princes Freeway at Laverton North just before 9pm.

Animals were thrown from the truck, off the side of the overpass onto the freeway below, and other cars.

One motorist said it looked liked a mountain of dirt as they approached, while another commented, “it’s not every day it rains sheep,”

An ambulance spokesperson said the scene was an “unusual finding”.

"We have one car that's rolled four times, three other cars that are extensively damaged from livestock falling through their windscreens and a truck hanging off the edge of a bridge," the spokesperson said.

"We are very fortunate we don't have far more human casualties out of this event.

We do however have a large number of casualties in the sheep fraternity."

Council rangers were forced to put some of the animals down and rangers worked through the night and into the morning to clean up the scene.

No motorists, including the driver of the truck, were injured in the crash.

Image: 7 News

Arrests made over bombings of PepsiCo subsidiary

A drug cartel lieutenant and several other alleged gang members have been arrested over a series of firebomb attacks on a Mexican snack company owned by PepsiCo.

Dozens of Sabritas delivery trucks were burned and buildings damaged at five distribution centers in Michoacan and the neighboring state of Guanajuato.

Mexican police are providing heightened security for the PepsiCo subsidiary, with about a hundred state and federal police standing guard at distribution centres, according to Julio Hernandez, a spokesman for western Michoacan state.

He said the attacks will further impact investment in the state.

“There will be effects on investment,” Hernandez said.

“In fact, private investment, both foreign and domestic, has been stalled in recent years.

“There hasn’t been any.”

It’s believed the attacks could be linked to the company’s refusal to hand over protection money to the gangs, who have terrorised locals and businesses throughout the drug war which has gone on more than five years.

The bombings are believed to be the first time a multinational company has been targeted by drug gangs in Mexico.

Guanajuato state attorney general Carlos Zamarripa four alleged members of the Knights Templar cartel in connection with the attacks.

Vice president of Sabritas-PepsiCo, Francisco Merino, told local media earlier this week that company officials were not aware of any demands for protection payments, which drug gangs frequently use to control areas and bring in extra income for illegal activities.

Prosecutors say the four men arrested have carried out murders, kidnappings, drug sales, extortion and loan sharking, along with demanding payments from street vendors and vendors of pirated goods.

Image: The Daily Mail

Company behind deadly listeria outbreak files for bankruptcy

A US company linked to a listeria outbreak which infected 146 people and killed at least 30, has filed for bankruptcy.

In September and October, rock melons (known as cantaloupes in the US) from Jensen Farms were found to contain the deadly bacteria, which the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said was likely spread by inadequate food safety procedures at the company’s packaging facility.

Jensen Farms filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on 25 May, estimating it has up to 99 creditors.

It is estimated the company’s assets are between US$1 million and US$10 million and its liabilities are between US$10 million to US$50 million.

It listed income between May 2011 and May 2012 of US$4.78 million.

In filing for bankruptcy, Jensen Farms says twelve wrongful death lawsuits and seven personal injury lawsuits that have been filed against the company as potential liabilities.

FSANZ recalls yeast products over salmonellosis concerns

Australia’s food safety watchdog has issued a warning to food businesses not to use two direct order yeast products.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has warned that the Tempeh Starter Yeast and Super Starter Yeast have been recalled over cases of salmobellosis in the products in the US.

Tempeh, a fermented bean product, is made with the recalled yeast products.

Symptoms if salmonellosis include severe headache, high fever, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

The foodborne illness is more dangerous in young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

The products of concern have been distributed to Australia via direct mail order or online by a US-based company, IndonesianFoodMart.com.

The company distributes the products globally.

The products were sold in sealed, clear plastic packages that bear a small computer printed label of 30gm, 50gm, 250gm and 1000gm’s.

The recall applies to all batches and sizes of the two recalled products.

FSANZ advises that anyone who may have purchased these products not to use them and to discard them. 

Anyone who is concerned they may have used or consumed the products are advised to seek medical advice.

Image: HACCP Food

Most Australians think we have an alcohol problem

Almost 80 per cent of Australians think that, as a nation, we have a problem with alcohol.

A nation-wide survey by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) released yesterday in Canberra, asked 1041 Australian voters consider our national relationship with alcohol problematic.

Most Labor, Coalition and Greens voters support policies to curb drinking problems, including mandatory warning labels and advertising restrictions.

More Greens voters believe we have a problem than any others surveyed, with 81 per cent saying Australia has an alcohol problem, followed by Labor voters at 79 per cent, and those who vote for the Coalition at 75 per cent.

Late last month there were suggestions that a marketing alcohol in and around bottle shops should be stopped, as teenagers and young adults are more likely to be enticed by competitions and to be binge drinkers.

Almost 70 per cent of Greens voters want a ban on television advertisements for alcohol before 8:30pm, while 65 per cent of Coalition voters and 62 per cent Labor voters also support the ban.

FARE Chief Executive, Michael Thorn said the view that a person’s political preference skews their attitude to alcohol has been proven wrong with this study.

 “The bottom line is that, regardless of how Australians intend to vote at the ballot box, their support for government action to tackle alcohol-related harms is unequivocal,” he said.

In April, the Alcohol Policy Coalition (APC) said we’re losing the war on alcoholism and binge drinking and changing the tax system to bump up prices on stronger varieties is the only way to start to improve it.

It wants the government to implement changes to the way alcohol is taxed, which it says should focus more on the strength of the alcohol, to alter binge drinking.

The group, which is made up of VicHealth, the Cancer Council and various drug and alcohol representative associations wants the price of casks of wine and cider to be bumped up, as many turn away from the price-inflated ‘alcopops’ towards the cheap boxed varieties.

UNSW, Korea join forces to reduce allergens during food and drink processing

Australian researchers have identified processing techniques which will minimise the adverse effects of allergens in milk and other food products.

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) food scientists are working on altering the properties of the allergenic proteins, and have signed a memorandum of understanding with the UNSW School of Chemical Engineering, as well as Korea’s National Institute of Animal Science (NIAS).

The collaboration is part of the Rural Development Administration Department, which will export potential benefits of various food safety technologies.

The food allergy research group at UNSW, led by Dr Alice Lee, is working towards developing nano-sensors that can better detect allergens in food and indentify how these allergens change after harvest during food processing, and eventually result in an adverse reaction when consumed by humans.

There are various proteins contained in animal milk which can cause humans to have adverse immune responses, and reactions range from slight intolerances to potentially life threatening anaphylaxis.

“Food allergy has been an emerging food safety concern especially in developed countries,” Lee, a senior lecturer in Food Science and Technology, said.

“The current collaborative research project we have with the National Institute of Animal Science is focused on reducing the health risks of milk allergens by a means of high pressure processing.”

Lee said the food safety research at UNSW is largely focused on developing novel detection technology and new methods to improve the safety of foods, at both the farm and at the processing levels.

Under the new agreement, a NIAS researcher is working closely with the UNSW’s Food Science and Technology group, which is also looking at microbiological risks including E.coli and salmonella, as well as chemical risks posed by traces of things like antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides.

Lee said antibiotics are often administered to livestock in very low doses to fend off bacteria growth, but leftover residues can sometimes be present in meat, leading to damaging health impacts when humans are exposed.

He explained that Korea’s Rural Development Administration Department is comparable to Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and has a broad research focus, with a range of possibilities for future research collaborations in the areas of food safety.

“Korea and Australia share a common interest in food security, global food availability, and food safety – especially around livestock hygiene,” Professor Rob Burford, head of the School of Chemical Engineering, said.

“This is an exciting partnership for UNSW.”