Smart move by Nestlé sees them with world first

Nestlé has announced that its  Smarties brand is now using recyclable paper packaging for its confectionery products worldwide. This represents a transition of 90 per cent of the Smarties range, as 10 per cent was previously already packed in recyclable paper packaging. Smarties is the first global confectionery brand to switch to recyclable paper packaging, removing approximately 250 million plastic packs sold globally every year.

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Date labelling and food waste go hand-in-hand

Accurate and consistent date labelling on-pack ensures that food is not only safe to eat, but at its best quality throughout its entire life. Getting this right can help to minimise unnecessary food waste in the household.
Food manufacturers need to ensure that they are communicating the correct information and advice on pack; the messaging needs to be clear, intuitive and easy for consumers to understand.
What is date labelling?
Date labelling is designed to guide consumers on how long food can be kept before the quality deteriorates, or once the item is unsafe to eat.
What are the meanings of a Use By Date VS a Best Before Date?
Use By Dates and Best Before Dates are the next step in date labelling and are the responsibility of the food manufacturer.
Use By Date
In the simplest of terms a Use By Date is designed for the health and safety of a consumer and you should not eat the item after this date. Items are also not legally permitted to be sold after this date as they pose health risks.
Best Before Date
A Best Before Date however does not mean that you cannot eat the food after then; it simply means that the quality or taste may not be ‘at its best’ after the recommended date. This style of date-labelling is determined by the manufacturers recommendation of “optimum consumption” to achieve the best quality product.
According to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), who is responsible for all date labelling definitions, “Food items are legally permitted to be sold after a Best Before Date and until they are no longer fit for human consumption”.
Legally, the only food item that can have different date marking is bread, which can be labelled with a baked on, or baked for date, if its shelf life is less than seven
days. Foods that have a shelf life of two years or longer – e.g. some canned foods – do not need to be labelled with a Best Before Date. This is because it is difficult to provide a consumer with an accurate guide as to how long these foods will keep as they may retain their quality for many years and are likely to be consumed well before they spoil.
(FSANZ)
Storage and freezing advice
If there are additional ways to extend shelf life of the product such as freezing the product, preferred methods of storage such as a specific area in the refrigerator, or at room temperature, then let the consumers know this information on-pack.
Manufacturers need to be clear on-pack if the food is best kept stored in the packaging so that the product can remain fresh for longer. They need to communicate to consumers how long products should be kept frozen, include defrosting explanations and how to cook from frozen instructions. As an industry we need to ensure that the date labelling used on pack is consistent across all categories so it is easy for consumers to make informed and conscious decisions before wasting food unnecessarily. We encourage you to educate everyone within your business about the differences and help make a contribution to minimising food waste.

Keeping cool at Godden Foods in Australia

The Godden Food Group is a family-owned and operated wholesale food distribution business located at Ormeau just north of Queensland’s Gold Coast. Godden Foods supplies a range of frozen, chilled, fresh and dry goods to restaurants, caterers and private homes throughout south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales.
In 2019, the lease on the company’s premises came to an end and Jeff Godden, the company’s owner, had to find new premises. Having secured a new home for the business, and also having built a 27,000m3 insulated store, he needed to fit it out with advanced refrigeration equipment, to provide separate rooms for -23°C frozen storage and a chilled area at 2°C-4°C.
The challenge
For Godden foods, the key requirements were to have a safe, cost-effective refrigeration system that would provide sustainable service well into the future. However, Jeff Godden also had another target in mind – he needed the whole project completed to allow him to be fully operational before his initial rent-free period expired.
The GEA solution
Scantec Refrigeration in Murarrie, Queensland is a refrigeration company with 25 years’ experience in supplying advanced industrial and commercial plants throughout the region. Stefan Jensen, one of the founders of the company, recommended Godden use a centralised low-charge ammonia refrigeration system with four GEA Grasso V300 reciprocating compressors. Although Jensen knew that this would not be the option with the lowest capital expenditure, he was certain that it was the best long-term system for his customer.
Read More: Confusion of soft plastic recycling
“I knew that this customer would be able to make huge savings on energy costs,” said Jensen. “But when you tell customers that they can reduce their energy usage by two-thirds, sometimes they don’t believe you. But I was able to present evidence from other projects, so the customer went for the idea.”
Jensen explained that the big benefit of a centralised low-charge ammonia refrigeration system is that it contains very little ammonia, around four to five times lower than a conventional liquid overfeed system.
The presence of high-density liquid refrigerant within the wet suction lines and risers is eliminated. Because pressure drops in wet suction lines are up to 60 times higher than in pure vapour lines, the system runs at lower refrigerant pipeline pressure drops, making it very energy efficient.
“This is where most of the energy saving comes from,” he said.
The GEA Grasso V300 compressors at the heart of the system were suitable for the job. Scantec chose the GEA machines, partly because they were available quickly, but mainly because of their inherent energy efficiency.
“The V300 is an excellent machine and, in my opinion, more efficient than anything else on the market,” said Jensen. “But it’s also one of the very few that does not require water cooling,” he said. “Water cooling typically adds at least $15,000 to the installation cost and is a drain on energy as the water has to be pumped around the system.”
Not requiring water cooling further reduces energy consumption and makes the installation “plug-and-play”, reducing the time involved and giving the company the flexibility to take the plant with them should they need to move again in the future.
The outcome
The new plant at Godden Foods was commissioned in May 2020, coinciding with the start of trading from the new premises. According to Jensen, its Specific Energy Consumption (SEC) is better than anything he’s seen on the market.
“With energy savings of around two-thirds compared with an industry-standard, air-cooled HFC-based system, Godden will get the whole cost of the new plant back in eight years well before the expiry of the 15 year lease period,” he explained. “But if you just consider the marginal additional cost, compared with a freon plant, the payback will be three to four years.”
Maintenance costs for the system will be in the region of two per cent of the initial capital cost annually, lower than equivalent freon systems.
It is also safe. The operating inventory within the freezer is only 1.5kg of ammonia so, even if there was a catastrophic leak, the concentration of ammonia within the refrigerated space would be only around 100 ppm. The IDLH (Immediate Danger to Life and Health) threshold is 300ppm as a comparison.
The result is a new refrigeration plant for Godden foods that is more energy efficient than an equivalent freon system, environmentally sustainable, safe, portable if necessary and, if correctly maintained, will provide 30-40 years of faithful service.
For more information on GEA products, click here.
 

Research highlights impact of food and beverage packaging

Packaging specialist Tetra Pak has released new research that revealed the carbon footprint of different food and beverage (F&B) packaging formats in Australia and New Zealand, with carton packaging having the lowest climate impact.
Commissioned by Tetra Pak and conducted by environmental consultants thinkstep ANZ, the new report “Life Cycle Assessment of Beverage and Food Packaging in Australia and New Zealand” is a market-first, independently peer reviewed comparison of the environmental impact of common packaging formats, including cartons, PET bottles, rPET (recycled PET) bottles, HDPE bottles, pouches, tin cans, glass bottles and glass jars.
It is important for F&B manufacturers to look at the carbon contribution of packaging across the entire life cycle of a package, in addition to end-of-life. The report revealed that the biggest contributor to carbon emissions is the source of materials used in the packaging.
Based on the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere per package of 1L fresh milk, the report found that carton packaging has a climate impact of 51 grams – almost 12 times less than glass packaging (605 grams), 5.5 times less than PET (280 grams) and 3 times less than HDPE (164 grams).
Cartons performed the best compared to other forms of packaging because of its material efficiency (using less material) and its mass which is mostly fibre from a renewable plant source.
Packaging formats were analysed across their entire life cycle, including base material production, pack manufacturing, filling, transport, and end-of-life (recycling or landfill) impacts, to offer insight into their overall environmental impact.
Andrew Pooch, Managing Director, Tetra Pak Oceania said: “Food packaging plays a critical role in feeding the world’s population, but it is causing problems for our climate. Today, the global food system accounts for 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Sustainable food packaging can play a strong role in bringing about the harmony between protecting our planet’s ecosystem and meeting the human need for food. As an industry, we need to start talking about minimising packaging impact from cradle-to-grave, if we are serious about sustainability.
It is critical for the F&B industry to explore new ways of producing materials, addressing their embedded carbon, and promoting carbon neutral materials.
Cartons have the potential to become the world’s most sustainable food package. Mostly made of paper, cartons have a far smaller contribution to greenhouse gas emissions compared to other packaging types. If we swapped Australia’s pasteurised milk from formats like HDPE bottles, rPET bottles and PET bottles to cartons, it would be the annual equivalent of taking more than 77,000 cars off the road.

Food cold chain education needed and is coming soon

A new training initiative based on the thermometer is about to be introduced to the Australian cold chain industry. It is seen as a practical move to help combat the country’s serious food loss and wastage problem, estimated to cost the country nearly $4 billion a year at farm gate value.
The Australian Food Cold Chain Council (AFCCC), the peak advocacy body comprising concerned industry leaders covering refrigeration assets, transport and food distribution, will release an online education program, Thermometers and the Cold Chain Practitioner this month.
The program is aimed squarely at those the AFCCC regards as the super heroes of the food cold chain process – the people who oversee the movement of food through refrigerated transports, loading docks and cold rooms across the nation.
Industry research convinced the AFCCC that Australia desperately needed a new Cold Food Code that should be adopted by industry to stimulate a nation-wide educational push to bring Australian cold chain practices up to the much higher international standard.
The educational program starting with temperature measurement is the first of a planned five-code series.
The AFCCC has invested in new online education software that will be used to develop training programs to support the release of the actual Code document that will cover temperature technologies and how they should be used for monitoring a variety of foods carried in the cold chain.
The initiative runs alongside the work being done by other authorities, including Food Innovation Australia (FIAL) and the Commonwealth Government, which has signed up to a United Nations treaty to halve food wastage by 2030.
Some of the rising levels of national food wastage is considered to be the result of poor temperature management, and poor understanding of how refrigeration works in a range of storage environments. This includes from cold storage rooms through to trucks and trailers, and even home delivery vans.
Australia has world-class refrigeration and monitoring technologies, but the AFCCC believes industry will have to adopt serious training programs so that those responsible for moving food and pharmaceuticals around the country can get the best out of the available technologies.
Because of the vast distances in this country, food transport is a series of refrigerated events, in the hands of a range of stake holders.
Mangoes picked in the Northern Territory may be handled through stationary and mobile refrigerated spaces as many as 14 times by multiple owners on a 3,400 km journey to Melbourne.
If temperature abuse through poor refrigeration practices occurs in just one of those spaces, the losses at the consumer end are compounded, and shelf life can be either drastically reduced, or result in the whole load being sent to landfill.
People working at the coalface of the industry can sign on independently to do the course, which the AFCCC believes will be an important next phase in their professional journey. Kindred organisations involved in the cold chain will be encouraged to become retailers of the education program. Many industry groups have already signed up to help drive cold chain practitioners to the training program from their own websites.
There will only be modest charges for the course, which will help fund AFCCC’s continuing work on assembling the research and expertise to complete further parts of the overall Code of Practice. This will ultimately be gifted to the cold chain industry for the purposes of universal adoption.
The extent of food wastage in this country should not be under-estimated.  It is almost criminal that one quarter of Australia’s production of fruit and vegetables are never eaten and end up in land fill or rotting at the farm gate. This loss alone accounts for almost two million tonnes of otherwise edible food, worth $3 billion.
A government-sponsored study released earlier in 2020 revealed that meat and seafood waste in the cold chain costs the country another $90 million and dairy losses total $70 million.
It’s not just the wasted food at stake. The impacts on greenhouse emissions, water usage and energy consumption will end up being felt nationwide.
The AFCCC was formed in mid 2017 by a cross section of industry leaders covering manufacturing, food transport, refrigeration and cold chain services.
The Council sees itself as an important part of the solution, encouraging innovation, compliance, waste reduction and safety across the Australian food cold chain.
The new Council is not about promoting an industry – it wants to change the industry for the better. It acknowledges that Australia’s track record in efficient cold food handling, from farm to plate, is far from perfect.

Recycling initiative to collect 190,000 tonnes of plastic

Australia’s food and grocery manufacturers, represented by peak body the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), will develop Australia’s largest industry-led plastic recycling scheme, which aims to collect and recycle nearly 190,000 tonnes of plastic packaging per annum by 2025.
The Australian Government has announced the AFGC will develop the National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS), supported by funding from the Government’s National Product Stewardship Investment Fund (PSIF).
The scheme will initially focus on increasing the diversion of soft plastics such as bread, cereal and frozen vegetable bags, confectionery wrappers and toilet paper wrap from landfill and it will move on to support the increased recycling of other plastics that are currently difficult to collect and/ or recycle. As an industry-led and funded scheme, the NPRS will coordinate and focus the efforts of well-known food and grocery brands to  increase the recycling and reuse of plastic packaging.
This will build on existing soft plastics recycling initiatives including the industry funded REDcycle program and the soft plastic kerbside collection trial run by Nestlé, as well as projects and research by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation.
Read More: Nestlé and IQ renew soft plastic recycling trial
“Over many years, brand owners have invested in packaging innovations that reduce food waste and have moved to using lighter-weight plastics that have a lower carbon footprint. Continuing the focus on packaging sustainability, the NPRS will increase the recycling rates of identified plastics and reduce the amount of virgin plastic used in packaging, helping to meet Australia’s National Packaging Targets,” AFGC CEO Tanya Barden said.
The National Packaging Targets include a goal of recycling or composting 70 percent plastic packaging and incorporating an average of 50 percent recycled content across all packaging by 2025.
“We commend the Australian Government’s leadership on waste reduction and recycling matters, including their support for the NPRS.
“We’re excited about developing a circular economy in collaboration with our members, who comprise nearly 80 percent of packaged food and grocery sales, as well as governments, retailers, plastics and packaging companies, and the resource recovery industry,” said Barden

How the humble thermometer helps reduce food waste

A new training initiative based on the thermometer is about to be introduced to the Australian cold chain industry. It is seen as a practical move to help combat the country’s serious food loss and wastage problem, estimated to cost the country nearly $4 billion a year at farm gate value.
The Australian Food Cold Chain Council (AFCCC), the peak advocacy body comprising concerned industry leaders covering refrigeration assets, transport and food distribution, will release an online education program, Thermometers and the Cold Chain Practitioner this month.
The program is aimed squarely at those the AFCCC regards as the super heroes of the food cold chain process – the people who oversee the movement of food through refrigerated transports, loading docks and cold rooms across the nation.
Industry research convinced the AFCCC that Australia desperately needed a new Cold Food Code that should be adopted by industry to stimulate a nation-wide educational push to bring Australian cold chain practices up to the much higher international standard.
The educational program starting with temperature measurement is the first of a planned five-code series.
The AFCCC has invested in new online education software that will be used to develop training programs to support the release of the actual Code document that will cover temperature technologies and how they should be used for monitoring a variety of foods carried in the cold chain.
The initiative runs alongside the work being done by other authorities, including Food Innovation Australia (FIAL) and the Commonwealth Government, which has signed up to a United Nations treaty to halve food wastage by 2030.
Some of the rising levels of national food wastage is considered to be the result of poor temperature management, and poor understanding of how refrigeration works in a range of storage environments. This includes from cold storage rooms through to
trucks and trailers, and even home delivery vans.
Australia has world-class refrigeration and monitoring technologies, but the AFCCC believes industry will have to adopt serious training programs so that those responsible for moving food and pharmaceuticals around the country can get the best out of the available technologies.
Because of the vast distances in this country, food transport is a series of refrigerated events, in the hands of a range of stake holders.
Mangoes picked in the Northern Territory may be handled through stationary and mobile refrigerated spaces as many as 14 times by multiple owners on a 3,400 km journey to Melbourne.
If temperature abuse through poor refrigeration practices occurs in just one of those spaces, the losses at the consumer end are compounded, and shelf life can be either drastically reduced, or result in the whole load being sent to landfill.
People working at the coalface of the industry can sign on independently to do the course, which the AFCCC believes will be an important next phase in their professional journey. Kindred organisations involved in the cold chain will be encouraged to become retailers of the education program. Many industry groups have already signed up to help drive cold chain practitioners to the training program from their own websites.
There will only be modest charges for the course, which will help fund AFCCC’s continuing work on assembling the research and expertise to complete further parts of the overall Code of Practice. This will ultimately be gifted to the cold chain industry for the purposes of universal adoption.
The extent of food wastage in this country should not be under-estimated. It is almost criminal that one quarter of Australia’s production of fruit and vegetables are never eaten and end up in land fill or rotting at the farm gate.
This loss alone accounts for almost two million tonnes of otherwise edible food, worth
$3 billion.
A government-sponsored study released earlier in 2020 revealed that meat and seafood waste in the cold chain costs the country another $90 million and dairy losses total $70 million.
It’s not just the wasted food at stake. The impacts on greenhouse emissions, water usage and energy consumption will end up being felt nationwide.
The AFCCC was formed in mid 2017 by a cross section of industry leaders covering manufacturing, food transport, refrigeration and cold chain services.
The Council sees itself as an important part of the solution, encouraging innovation, compliance, waste reduction and safety across the Australian food cold chain.
The new Council is not about promoting an industry – it wants to change the industry for the better. It acknowledges that Australia’s track record in efficient cold food handling, from farm to plate, is far from perfect.

How one company's tray sealing technology is continuing to expand and grow

G.Mondini, a name that delivers innovation, quality and experience in providing dynamic tray sealing systems continue to grow with their ground-breaking tray sealer innovation.
With the culmination of over 45 years’ experience in designing and building tray sealing systems, the TRAVE was created to be at the heart of any packaging system. The design and construction mean this tray sealer can handle the demands of all industrial environments, deliver secure packs with every machine cycle, ability to seal any shape and size of packaging materials on the market, and with patented Platform Technology allows for different packaging technologies to be applied in a simple modular way.
The TRAVE range of fully automatic tray sealing systems deliver on reliability, efficiency and can produce a variety of new innovative packaging options including Vacuum Skin, Darfresh On Tray, MAP, Slimfresh, Slicefresh and the Award Winning Paperseal. Attention to design detail means this is the most hygienic tray sealer on the market, guaranteeing customers the best possible solution.
James White, marketing and sales director at Select Equip, a food equipment company which has been in business for over 35 years and the exclusive distributor of G.Mondini, explains, “It isn’t common knowledge that Mondini TRAVE 350 -R & Trave 384 -R tray sealers can be on the water within 4 weeks from order, with the same Trave performance at a more affordable price. Its all about delivering on all levels with no compromise on its functionality with Mondini PLATFORM Technology fully integrated into its construction. It’s all about offering our customers a real competitive advantage to develop and build their business quickly to meet retailer timelines and demands.”
When it comes to making purchasing decisions with food packaging equipment like tray sealing, it needs to be top-of-mind that capital expenditure is a fixed cost, but it is the ongoing cost of ownership that needs to be considered as well. TRAVE is the lowest cost of ownership compared to any other tray sealer currently on the market today.
Select Equip expertise is on delivering a complete system and support service throughout a clients entire growth cycle. The Trave range of tray sealers is the only system on the market that is delivered future proof and ready to adapt to retailers ever changing packaging format requirements.  It’s all about thinking about ‘systems’ and the efficiency and reliability that having one supplier for all your food packaging needs can provide (as opposed to having to rely on different suppliers.) You receive your support, service, equipment, spare parts, and advice all from one place,” said White.
G.Mondini and TRAVE are available through Select Equip. To find out more visit selectequip.com.au email sales@selectequip.com.au or call 1800 1010 122.

The growth of the Australasian Recycling Label on-pack

Every week when I receive my grocery delivery, I am starting to notice that more packs are including the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) and I can’t wait for the day that it is on all consumer-facing packaging. I opened a pack of pork steaks the other night and followed the ARL instructions and I have to say it was the most intuitive pack I have experienced in a long time. The ARL made it easy to understand which bin I was placing each component in.
What is the Australasian Packaging Recycling Label (ARL) Program? The ARL provides designers and brand owners with the tools to inform responsible packaging technologists and designers and helps consumers to understand how to correctly dispose of packaging. Led by APCO, in collaboration with Planet Ark and PREP Design, the program aims to reduce consumer confusion, increase recycling recovery rates, and contribute to cleaner recycling streams. The two elements of the program are the Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) and the ARL.
Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP)
What makes the program unique is the PREP Tool component, which provides packaging technologists and designers with the correct information on whether their packaging format is recyclable in the majority of household kerbside collection systems and then how it will be handled and recovered by the Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs). The PREP Tool also indicates if there are other closed-loop recycling systems that the majority (80 per cent) of the population has access. i.e. “soft plastics”, which can be returned to a Coles or Woolworths store via the REDcycle program.
The PREP tool then works hand-in-hand with the second part of the process which is the ARL program. The ARL symbol represents how the MRF recognises materials, inks, weight, shape, adhesives and how each component will behave in the recycling ecosystem in Australia and New Zealand. Using the datasets from the PREP tool the ARL then identifies the correct symbols to use on-pack for all components of the product e.g.: lid, tray, cap, bottle, box, film etc. It is not possible for a piece of packaging to have the Australasian Recycling Label without a PREP assessment that backs up disposal claims.
The ARL is an evidence-based standardised labelling system for Australia and New Zealand that provides clear and consistent on-pack recycling information to inform consumers of the correct disposal method. As packaging is made up of separable components, each with differing recyclability, the ARL will identify each item as either recyclable, conditionally recyclable or not recyclable. The ARL is designed to ensure that consumers can understand the true recyclability of all packaging components that are disposed of in Australia and New Zealand.
The ARL symbols used on-pack in turn help consumers understand which packaging components belong in the recycling bin, or the general rubbish bin, or which parts should be returned in Australia to a Coles or Woolworths store through the soft plastic collection bins.
Consumer education
There are many brands busy updating their artwork to incorporate the ARL on pack, and I would encourage everyone to consider a strong consumer-facing marketing campaign to let everyone know that you are adding the ARL on-pack, why, and what the benefits are.
Showcase the use of ARL on your packaging as a part of your sustainable packaging journey.
Start talking to your family and friends about the ARL and encouraging your own community to look out for the ARL on-pack and teach them the benefits of the new symbols. The more consumers see the ARL and understand why it needs to be on all packaging, the better the acceptance will be across Australia and New Zealand.
Once consumers become more aware of the ARL symbols on packaging, they will gain confidence in the program and recognise that the labels are an important link to the current recycling capabilities of Australia and New Zealand. In turn, the use of ARL symbols on-pack should encourage consumers to become more active in disposing of waste correctly, which will limit contamination in our waste streams and keep recyclable material away from landfill.
The AIP has also developed a number of training courses that will greatly assist your sustainable packaging journey including Tools to Help you Meet the 2025 National Packaging Targets: PREP and ARL, Introduction to Sustainable Packaging Design, Lifecycle Assessment Tools for Sustainable Packaging Design, Flexible Packaging: Now and Into the Future, Plastics Technology: Introduction to Polymers and Recycling, How to Implement Sustainable Packaging Guidelines into your Business, Suitable, Functional and Sustainable Labelling and The Future of Bioplastics and Compostable Packaging, which are run on a regular basis across Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

Landfill-biodegradable packaging materials

Why do we do it? It is a question often asked many business owners. Why go through all the ordeal of running a business and the stress and anxiety it can often bring to owners? Do people do it for the profit they hope to get? Or is it the only field they know how to work in and think they have no other viable options? Or perhaps it is a more idealistic desire to step into a perceived void and make a difference.
The latter is why the owners of Biogone started their business. They had been involved in the clean-up of plastic litter for several years as volunteers and saw what a huge problem plastic waste was rapidly becoming. A product that is cheap to produce, lightweight, durable, and waterproof making it ideal for packaging. But it has a very long-life problem that is causing numerous dire problems worldwide. Originally manufacturers did not want talk about the legacy issue.
However, as time went on, more and more of it accumulated, the problems started to get increasing mainstream attention. The packaging manufacturers came under the spotlight and felt increasing pressure to change their designs or materials from design for functionality to design for life. Design for life now includes factoring in how the packaging, once it becomes waste, is to be taken care of.
The many advantages offered by plastic has made this a difficult problem for many producers and most still avoid the issue. The owners of Biogone took the problem head on and have developed a range of packaging supplies that will biodegrade away when disposed of to a modern landfill.

Food packaging chemical could harm embryos

BPA, a chemical found in the lining of food and drink packaging, may affect the brain development of embryos, Us scientists have discovered.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is used in the lining of some food and drink packaging including plastic bottles and metal cans to extend shelf life and protect against contamination.

According to SMH, a US study has gave the chemical to pregnant mice and then studied the offsprings' neurons.

"Our study found that BPA may impair the development of the central nervous system," said neurologist and lead author Wolfgang Liedtke from Duke University. "[It] raises the question as to whether exposure could predispose animals and humans to neurodevelopmental disorders."

The amounts of BPA studied didn't reflect normal consumption rates – in fact the study dosages were 20 times higher than the amount approved by Australian, New Zealand and American food standards bodies.

A senior lecturer at Adelaide University's faculty of medicine, Dr Ian Musgrave said that while the findings aren't relevant to human consumption, they are still significant.

"This research shows that if the dose is high enough it can shut down the sodium channel, which is important for brain development" she said.

 

Profit dip for pie maker

Intense competition inside supermarkets and the growing popularity of private-label foods has seen pie maker Patties Foods post a 16.5 percent fall in first half profits.

The company, which owns Herbert Adams, Four'n Twenty and Nanna's, made a net profit of $9.1 million in the six months to December, down from $10.8 million in 2011.

Along with increased competition Patties said it had been held back by manufacturing disruptions caused by installing a new packaging system and a $1 million charge on bad debt.

Fairfax Media reports Patties managing director Greg Bourke said the company would aim introduce a new line of frozen desserts to try and win back supermarket customers.

“The area where we are having the most impact on margin is our frozen fruit business,” he said.

“It is growing in the value end – increased value products rather than premium branded products.

“There is a change of mix going towards private label and also to the value range.”

Bourke said while the company was still selling the same amount into supermarkets, consumers had drifted away from premium products toward cheaper foods, which delivered slimmer margins.

He said the company had also seen strong growth in its petrol station and convenience store products, but the gains had not been enough to offset weakness in other parts of the business.

 

Choice launches campaign against over-the-top packaging [video]

Consumer group Choice has launched Pack Attack, a campaign aimed at encouraging manufacturers to produce consumer-friendly packaging.

The campaign follows a survey published in Readers Digest in December last year, involving 500 people in Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia which found that 64 percent of people who had injured themselves on packaging had suffered deep cuts, broken or chipped teeth, bruises or broken nails.

Angela McDougall, Choice's policy advisor, (appearing in the video below) said "Many items are now so wrapped up that some consumers simply cannot open them.  Trying to bust out an electrical item sealed in a hard plastic container or twist open a vacuum-sealed glass jar is not only prompting ‘wrap rage’ but also leaving some people injured."

Choice is asking consumers to send in photos and descriptions of their bad packaging experiences so it can then make a complaint on their behalf to the Australian Packaging Covenant, and report back on responses from manufacturers.

Clamshells (packaging for electronic goods, razors and toys in hard seals), glass jars and 'imprisoned toys' (packaging in cardboard, plastic boxes, wires, cable ties, plastic spikes and/or sticky tape) were listed by Choice as the serial offenders in wrap rage.

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