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The locavore food movement trumps organic for some, but not all. Daylesford chef Alexis Pitsopoulos, an expert in edible weeds, forages in a local park. Photo: Simon O'Dwyer At the Daylesford Farmers' Market a couple of weeks back, fruit and vegetable grower Florian Hofinger stood behind a trestle table laden with his produce and thought about the question. The bloke from the adjacent stall, a garlic grower from Creswick, listened in. "Local is the big thing at the moment, no question," said Hofinger. "When new restaurants want to buy my stuff, they are usually much more concerned with whether it's local than whether it's organic. Provenance is what's important to them first. Then quality. " There was, however, one exemption to the 100km rule made right at the start: coffee. It wasn't always that way. Robert Jones owner of Tuki Trout Farm. And while demand for organic produce is still increasing – even some fast-food chains use it these days – the new badge of authenticity seems to be 'local'.

We decided to find out. The fields are full of wheat. Shoppers hunger for 'local' foods at supermarkets. Fresh is best from farmers markets Shoppers have never been more enthused about eating local foods, flocking to farmers' markets, tending community gardens, and engaging in food swaps. And supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths are looking to cash in with one commissioning research that revealed 80 per cent of customers would opt for local foods if they were available. Only 20 per cent said the stores provided a good range. “The supermarkets are aware consumers now want local foods. In order to catch that market, we’re seeing them trying to embed local offerings and use the term ‘local’ more,” said researcher Gary Mortimer from the Queensland University of Technology.

“There’s a drive for local food, a hunger, and the challenge supermarkets face is to present local foods with a level of integrity.” Last September, Woolworths began selling Manning Valley-produced milk at eight stores in Taree, trialling whether shoppers preferred products from suppliers in their region.

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New ‘bag in a box’ packaging for beverages and liquid foods launched by Loscam. New ‘bag in a box’ packaging for beverages and liquid foods launched by Loscam Asia Pacific based packaging company Loscam has released its new Intermediate Bulk Container, IBC I8, designed for the transportation of liquids and available for food and beverage manufacturers in Australia. Loscam said the IBC I8 is made from polypropylene and features a hygienic ‘bag in a box’ system which makes it easy for food and manufacturing companies to fill, transport and discharge product.

Loscam is a leading provider of returnable package handling solutions for the supply chain industry. Loscam operates in 10 countries throughout Asia Pacific, including Australia. The Company was established in the Asia Pacific region in the 1940s. “We were aware that we needed to extend our product offering to cater for specific customer requirements, so we took the initiative to invest in the IBC I8,” said Naz Miljanic, Loscam Senior Business Development Manager. Juice company already using container for beverages. Frozen berries hepatitis A scare: How Australia checks imported food. By Clare Blumer Posted More than a dozen people across Australia have been infected with hepatitis A this week, with the outbreak linked to frozen berries imported from China. Independent senator Nick Xenophon is calling for two inquiries into food imports, while the Department of Agriculture has written to Chinese authorities demanding assurances on measures to prevent further contamination.

But how does Australia's food testing regime work? Who is responsible for testing food imports? The Department of Agriculture tests foods based on risk assessments and advice given by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). Do they test all the food coming into the country? Every type of food is tested, but not every shipment of food coming in. Food lines are tested based on three risk categories: Is fruit in one of the categories? All food falls into one of those categories. Where do we get food from? Australia's biggest importer in dollar terms is its eastern neighbour, New Zealand. Yes. Yes. Comment: Angst over berries makes case for 'good, clean, fair' food | SBS News. By Bill Bellotti, University of Western Sydney Consumer confidence in imported food is likely to have suffered a hit, and consumers are questioning the safety of imported food. Public health activists are calling for clear country of origin food labelling.

Retailers are promising consumers stricter testing procedures for imported food products. Farmers are demanding a level playing field so they can compete against imports. Government authorities are defending existing food import protocols. And politicians are calling for inquiries. All of these perspectives have some element of truth, but we need to go beyond the immediate reactionary concerns and seek to understand the underlying reasons that have led to this situation in the first place. Australia is a net food exporter; depending on seasonal conditions we export around 60% of what we produce. The fact we are a net food exporter does not mean we don’t import more than we export in certain categories. Cost crunch. Analysis: Grown in China and Chile, processed in New Zealand and sold in Australia. Why are imported frozen berries cheaper than Australian ones? - ABC Rural.

Updated Berries have been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently, following the Hepatitis A outbreak caused by imported product from China. Many are asking the question: how are berries grown on the other side of the world, processed in New Zealand and then sold in Australia cheaper than local product? Melinda McHenry, from the Institute for Future Farming Systems at the University of Central Queensland, said the cost of labour was the obvious reason, but there were other factors at play. "To employ somebody on an award wage to manually pick a crop such as blueberries or strawberries in Australia is about $20 an hour, whereas the same task performed by people overseas can be 2 or 3 dollars an hour," she said.

"If you consider the value of an industry like the blueberry industry, which is a boutique one in Australia, you can see the costs of labour are very high in this country. " "It's an issue that a lot of members of the industry struggle to understand," Dr McHenry said.