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Posts Tagged ‘local food production’

True costs of imported food in Australian supermarkets?

Posted in Movements, Opinion, Policies by Kate Archdeacon on June 1st, 2012

Source: Food Magazine

Photo by Tait Schmaal in an article for Adelaide Now about the damage imported processed food is doing to local growers.

From “Where does the food sold in Australian supermarkets really come from?” by Jessica Burke:

One in every four grocery items now sold in Australian supermarkets is private label and of those, about one in two is imported.

The Age has conducted an investigation into the state of the supermarket sector, and the results would not surprise anyone in the Australian food manufacturing sector. It found the rate of imported food products is increasing at a rapid pace, as the only way for the companies to provide their ridiculously low prices is to buy food produced in countries by cheap labour.

South Africa and Thailand, two countries notorious for lacking in workers’ rights and having extremely low wages, are two of the markets commonly used by the cheap food retailers in Australia.  Researchers from the Australian National University embarked on a mission to follow the supply chain of many private-label products sold in Australia, which found them in South African fruit processing factories and canned pineapple facilities in Thailand. “One of the canneries made private-label products for over 100 supermarkets,” researcher Libby Hattersley, who inspected the South African businesses, told The Age. “They just slap the retailers’ label on it and send it out to them.”

Differing food safety laws a risk for consumers

While the ethical issues involved with sourcing food from such countries are becoming increasingly important to consumers, there are various other issues involved with these systems.

“[No Australian food manufacturers] can survive in this environment, most places I’m going, they’re even competing with their own plants in other countries, if the Malaysian or Chinese plant is going better, they have to compete,” Jennifer Dowell, National Secretary of the Food and Confectionary division of the Australian Manufacturers Workers Union (AMWU) told Food Magazine earlier this year.

“The problem with that is that people aren’t comparing like with like.

“We produce food to a very high level and what is being imported from overseas needs to be the same quality.

“There needs to be more regulation and better testing for what comes into our country.

“If food is imported from a high risk site, like China, that will undergo testing, but not if it’s from New Zealand.

“The way the import laws work in New Zealand mean that they can import a product from China, put it in a bag in New Zealand and ship it to Australia as a ‘product of New Zealand.’

“If we try to export to other countries we face huge barriers, but we have removed all the barriers for others getting food into our country.”


Read the full article by Jessie Burke for Food Magazine.

“Kitchen Symphony” a community cooking event

Posted in Events by TransitionTownPortPhillip on May 18th, 2011

21 May , 2011
11:00 amto3:00 pm

Join Port Phillip Urban Fresh Food Network & Transition Town Port Phillip for “Kitchen Symphony”, and take part in the cook up of the season!

We’ll be preparing and sharing a fresh and seasonal, low cost, vegetarian banquet. Other activities include a food swap, garden foraging, composting & food mapping. Bring your surplus homegrown veg, herbs, seeds etc. All cooking abilities welcome!

Sat 21 May, 11-3pm @ the Cora Graves Centre

38 Blessington St, St Kilda

Please RSVP: 0417 501 383 /

VEIL Food Map – Can You Locate Your Local Food Resources?

Posted in Models, RDAG by Virginia on April 23rd, 2009

The VEIL Food Map is an online, urban food production map of Melbourne using google map technologies established by the Victorian Eco Innovation Lab in 2008.

The purpose of the VEIL food map is to record the quantity and variety of urban food production present within Melbourne, to encourage Melbournians to contribute data to this site, providing evidence of the extent of urban food production within Melbourne. Produce recorded on the website is fresh food that has not been value-added or processed on a scale larger than household production.

Models of urban food production recorded on the site include community gardens, commercial production and market gardens, shared private gardens, and food produced on public space. Approximately 200 food production sites have been recorded since the site was established. To learn more information about the VEIL Food Map visit

This is from “Social Innovations in Victorian Food Systems’ case studies by Ferne Edwards