Here is something you probably did not know – we all have at least some degree of a eating disturbance called Neophobia.
This is the fear of trying new foods and a high level is common in children up to six years old and also the elderly.In fact we are all born with it.
In most adults the fear is lessened, but in some it remains at a high level.
There is a specific test used to identify just where each person is on the food neophobic scale, which involves rating the response to a series of 10 questions.
The following are the questions used in this test;
- I am constantly sampling new and different foods
- I don’t trust new foods
- If I don’t know what a food is, I won’t try it
- I like foods from different cultures
- Ethnic food looks too weird to eat
- At dinner parties, I will try new foods
- I am afraid to eat things I have never had before
- I am very particular about the foods I eat
- I will eat almost anything
- I like to try new ethnic restaurants
Besides limiting experiences, those with a high level of food neophobia or avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) are also at risk of being nutritionally deficient, as they will not be consuming a wide variety of foods, and therefore nutrients.
There is a way of overcoming high level neophobia or ARFID.
Dr Byrne said “They can actually learn to like new foods by just trying them over and over again and getting to learn, to like, the taste,” she said.
The following are just some important food related dates in Australian history, you may not have known;
1944 – frozen vegetables processed in Australia for the first time
1947 – the Golden Circle cannery opened in Brisbane
1949 – the Australian classic ice cream, the Choc Wedge, was made for the first time
1958 – First beer cans in Australia and the, only to be found in the Northern Territory, Darwin Stubby introduced
1959 – Another classic ice cream, Gaytime, is launched
1957 – First Japanese restaurant in Australia
1957 – Chermside shopping mall was the first of it’s kind in Australia
1956 – Fish Fingers debuted in Australia
1950s – Sliced bread appears in Australia
1968 – KFC opened in Australia
1965 – Cask wine invented
1970 – Pizza Hut makes it’s first pizza in Australia
1971 – Australia gets it’s first McDonalds, and Hungry Jacks restaurants
1975 – Colour TV is first seen in the Land Down Under
1976 – first Thai restaurant in Australia
For more amazing Australian food history go to www.australianfoodtimeline.com.au
At regular times throughout each year the Health Ministers of all the Australian jurisdictions and New Zealand, as well as the Australian Local Government Association, meet to review recommendations from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and other food related matters.This is called The Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum) an is chaired by Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck.
The following are outcomes from the August 2019 meeting
- HEALTH STAR RATING FIVE-YEAR REVIEW
A formal five year review by independent reviewer, mpconsulting, was presented to the Forum Although it was recognised that there is increasing consumer use and understanding and the system is progressing well, there is still opportunity for improvement. The report from the review is publicly available on the Health Star Rating website
The Forum members will await recommendations and make a formal decision at the next meeting to be held in November.
- SUPPORTING THE PUBLIC HEALTH OBJECTIVES TO REDUCE CHRONIC DISEASE RELATED TO OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY
It was recognised by the Forum that more than Food Regulation is required to address the overweight and obesity problem in Australia and New Zealand.
So activities, like; setting compositional limits, advertising and marketing partnerships, development of a Policy guideline on food labelling and improved data collection. There will be ongoing consultation with all stakeholders.
- LABELLING OF SUGARS ON PACKAGED FOODS AND DRINKS
The Policy Paper: Labelling of sugars on packaged foods and drinks, prepared by the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) was noted by the Forum and it was agreed to request FSANZ review added sugars in the nutrition labelling and that the use of pictures requires further consideration.
The paper is availableon the Food Regulation website
Education will be required with any label changes.
- FAST FOOD MENU BOARD LABELLING
Although this is already required in five jurisdictions and voluntary in new Zealand, it was agreed that the labelling needs to be nationally consistent and that a food regulatory measure is to be developed. A Ministerial Policy Guideline is to be developed as the first step and there will be ongoing consultation with stakeholders.
- FERMENTED BEVERAGES
A survey has revealed undeclared alcohol in some of these fermented beverages and therefore they may not comply with current liquor licensing legislation and Standards within the Code. The Forum members were updated on actions resulting from this survey.
- SALMONELLA ENTERIDITIS
An overview of the developing situation with Salmonella Enteritidis in Australia and the actions being undertaken across jurisdictions to limit the spread.
- Modernisation of the food regulation system
The updated Principles and Protocols for the Development of Food Regulation Policy Guidance was endorsed by the forum. This guidance focusses on making the current regulatory system more agile and timely.
- Energy labelling of alcoholic beverages
As alcoholic beverages are exempt from providing nutrition panels, there is no information about the energy contribution of alcohol to consumer’s diets.
The Forum agreed to ask FSANZ to include energy labelling in the work already being undertaken on alcohol labelling.
The next meeting will be held in November 2019.
International Bacon Day is rapidly approaching on 31 August, now is a great time to celebrate one of the world’s favourite meats.
So of course it is time to seek where the best bacon can be sourced in Australia
2019’s best bacon is from Western Australia and is a full rasher made by Princi Smallgoods.
It competed with more than 140 other entries from across the country
Pino Princi, director of Princi Smallgoods said; “Our recipe has travelled from Italy to Australia. What really sets our bacon apart though, I believe, is the quality of the pork that we begin with.”
Queensland is where you need to go to get the second best at Gray’s Modern Meat Mart in Toowoomba, and those in Canberra can pick up number three at the Griffith Butchery.
The state positions were jumbled in the short cut category, with Canberra getting the top gong, Queensland second and Western Australia taking the third spot.
Entries in this year’s competition were judged by raw and cooked.
Australian Pork’s Mitch Edwards said; “Many people are surprised to learn that 80 per cent of bacon sold in Australia is made using imported pork. If you want to support Aussie pig farmers, buy bacon made from 100 per cent Australian pork [and] look for the pink Australian Pork logo or make sure the bar chart on the country of origin label has a percentage of over 90 per cent of Australian ingredients.”
In the USA, the owner of a Meat Packing company is facing a possible five years in federal prison and a $1 million fine.
He is due to be sentenced in November after pleading guilty to submitting fraudulent test results.
The food business owner pleaded guilty to one count of making and using a false document. He admitted to falsifying 36 laboratory reports relating to 52 swabs taken from carcasses between November 2016 and September 2017.
The USDA’s requirement is that swabs for E.coli must be taken for every 300 slaughtered animals and tested by a certified laboratory.
The documents from the case show that no swabs were sent for testing as required.
The company involved may also face potential civil, administrative consequences.
This case and it’s consequences should be a wake up call to all food business owners and managers. There are significant penalties if documents are falsified or processes that need to be done are not. These consequences are not only for the business but the owners and the managers.
The following are food recall notices from Food Standards Australia New Zealand and are included here with permission
Noshu Sugar Free Fudgy Brownies Mix 300g
Noshu Foods is conducting a recall of ‘Noshu 99% Sugar Free Fudgy Brownies’ Mix. 300g. The product has been available for sale at Woolworths stores nationally.
‘Best Before’ 15JUL20A
The recall is due to possible presence of gluten, only in the product stamped with ‘Best Before 15JUL20A’. (Note: only the ‘Best Before’ ending in A)
Food safety hazard
The presence of gluten may cause illness if consumed.
Country of origin
What to do
Consumers should not eat this product and should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.
For further information please contact (02) 8330 6706 or www.noshu.com.au.
Talley’s Mussels Garlic 375g
Logan Farm Pty Ltd is conducting a recall of Talley’s Mussels Garlic 375g. The product has been available for sale at Coles, Woolworths and independent stores including IGAs in WA.
Best Before 19 Dec 19
The recall is due to a potential for a low preservative content in the marinade which may pose a food safety risk.
Food safety hazard
Potentially contaminated food may cause illness if consumed.
Country of origin
What to do
Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice and should return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund. For further information please contact:
Logan Farm Pty Ltd
1800 651 276
The following Recall notice is from the New South Wales Food Authority and is included here with permission.
Naturli’ Spreadable Organic Vegan Spread and Funky Fields Organic Spreadable, 225g
The NSW Food Authority advises:
Botany International Foods is conducting a recall of the products below. The products have been available for sale at Coles, Woolworths and IGA’s nationally.
- Naturli’ Spreadable Organic Vegan Spread, 225g, Plastic tub, Batch Codes: 9080, 9084, 9094, 9135 and all Best Before dates
- Funky Fields Organic Spreadable, 225g, Plastic tub, Batch Codes: 9010, 9038 and all Best Before dates
Problem: The recall is due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (milk – specifically, whey protein).
Food safety hazard: Any consumers who have a milk allergy or intolerance may have a reaction if the product is consumed.
Country of origin: Denmark
What to do: Consumers who have a milk allergy or intolerance should not consume this product and should return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund. If you are concerned about your health, you should seek medical advice.
For further information please contact:
Botany International Foods
Ph: (02) 8824 4442
Salmonella hessarak is an very uncommon Salmonella species, which has now been identified as the bacteria involved in a South Australian outbreak from eggs from 2017 to 2018.
This species of Salmonella enters the egg during the formation of the egg, unlike other types of Salmonella which come from the digestive tract of the chicken and is therefore found on the outside of the shell.
52 residents of South Australia were part of the 96 notifications of Salmonella Hessarek nationally from Jan. 1, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2016. 25 infections from this species were also from South Australia betweenMarch 2017 to July 2018.
Nine of these 25 cases were over the age of 71 and two pregnant women. Of the 25 cases, 10 required hospitalisation, and 24 of the cases reported that they ate eggs.
The subsequent investigation has pointed to eggs, and a specific brand, as an unusally strong suspect as the cause of this outbreak. This is a free range brand and the findings are supporting the recognition that due to the nature of free range there is much less control of movement and therefore a greater likelihood of Salmonella, and especially this species.
Ensuring that eggs, particularly for those in the high risk groups, is essentially at a consumer level, however all eggs should be purchased from reputable suppliers. These suppliers should be meeting specific food safety requirements in Australia, including; washing with chlorinated water, labelling and candling.
In food businesses, all staff, and especially Food Safety Supervisors, need to have an understanding of the potential food poisoning impacts of eggs and the controls needed to prevent these.
This finding of Salmonella hessarak is going to change the way that producers handle eggs in this country and the investigations of potential Salmonella outbreaks in the future.
The following is from the website www.nationalallergystrategy.org.au
The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) and Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA), as the leading medical and patient organisations for allergy in Australia, have developed the first National Allergy Strategy for Australia, in collaboration with other stakeholder organisations.
The Strategy aims to provide food businesses, particularly hospitals and food service businesses with tools to prevent food allergies being a problem. The tools include Guidelines, audits and a diet and menu guide for dieticians.
The tools can be found at https://www.nationalallergystrategy.org.au/resources/hospital-food-service
The Strategy is not only focussed on allergens in business but also on ways to reduce allergic reactions starting from infants and a specific site has been developed tpo provide information and tools to help parents of infants potentially reduce the likelihood of those infants developing food allergies. Have a look at this site – www.preventallergies.org.au
Allergies are not only from food but also drugs or medications. The Strategy is also concerned with reducing these allergies as well through the Drug Allergies Project.
The following is the latest media release from the Food Safety Information Council Ltd and is included here with permission.
The Food Safety Information Council today released advice about fermenting food and drinks at home.
Council Chair Cathy Moir said that, with the popularity of fermented food and drinks such as kombucha, yoghurt, cheese, sour cream, salami, soy sauce, sourdough bread, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, kefir and fish sauce, many people are trying to ferment food at home.
‘While the fermentation process preserves food and adds different flavours, aromas and textures, the process can come with some food poisoning risks if not done correctly.
‘Many microorganisms are already present on food; but only some are desirable because they can start the fermentation while others are risky as they cause spoilage and food poisoning.
‘Vegetable foods fermented at home can sometimes rely on the activity of microorganisms naturally present on the raw food, for example, cabbage in sauerkraut. On the other hand, the bacteria used to ferment milk to make yoghurt and cheese or the yeast used in bread making have been purified and are available commercially as purified dried preparations called “starter cultures” either alone or in kits.
If you are fermenting food and drink at home follow these food safety tips:
- If you or someone in your household is pregnant, elderly or has a poor immune system, home fermented foods aren’t suitable because microorganisms that can make you sick may be present in the food or drink and survive the fermentation process. Manufactured fermented foods are a safer option as they are prepared under strict processing conditions and may be pasteurised. Additionally, fermented drinks such as kombucha can easily undergo a ‘secondary’ fermentation that produces alcohol to a level that would classify it as an alcoholic beverage.
- Choose reliable recipes and follow any instructions exactly, including how long the fermented food or drink may last. Label when you made the food so you don’t keep it for too long.
- Don’t use previously fermented foods to make the next batch, for example using some of your last batch of yoghurt to start the next. This is known as ‘back slopping’ and can reduce the effectiveness of the starter culture and allow bad bacteria to grow. This may not apply to all fermented products such as sourdough, kombucha and kefir starter cultures.
- Use good quality fruit and vegetables and make sure they are clean. Only use pasteurised milk in dairy products.
- Do not try to ferment meat, poultry or fish at home. This is highly risky, shop bought fermented meats are prepared under stringent conditions.
- If you have chemical allergies or sensitivities or if you have to avoid biogenic amines you need to check with your doctor as to whether the fermented foods you plan to create are safe for you to consume.
- Prepare your fermented foods in clean and sanitised containers that aren’t cracked or broken. Glass and food grade plastics that are not cracked or damaged are recommended. Do not use metal (other than food grade stainless steel) as it may react with the acidic products. Washed, new metal stainless steel buckets can be used and reused. Do not use ceramic containers, which might contain lead or garbage bags or bins to carry out the fermentation process.
For more information see our fact sheet fermenting food at home
Lydia Buchtmann, Food Safety Information Council, 0407 626 688 or email@example.com
It is that time of the year when those with relatives in aged care centres turn up to visit and find a big sign on the door stating that the centre is in Lockdown and they are no able to go in, or if they do there are extra handwashing and other controls in place to what is required usually.
So what is a Lockdown and why do aged care centres need to have them?
A Lockdown is required in an aged care centre whenever there is an illness within the centre which must be isolated so that it can be contained and controlled. The aim of the lockdown is to contain the illness to specific residents and prevent it from spreading. This means that unless there is a very good reason, people are not allowed to come in from outside and the residents are restricted to their rooms.
Obviously no centre will have a lockdown for any longer than required as it is not only expensive, as staff can only work in the areas they were in when the lockdown was declared and cannot move around as normal, so overtime is often required , but is extremely disprutive to all. The residents must remain in their rooms for days and all food has to be brought to them and then cleared as they cannot go into the dining or common rooms. Staff and residents get cranky very quickly due to the lack of movement and interaction which can result in mistakes and other problems, so a lockdown is only called when it is necessary to protect residnets and prevent the spread of the infection.
Lockdowns can happen because of food poisoning, the flu and other conditions but it is more likely that in the cooler months in Australia, it is a virus called Norovorus which is the main reason for lockdowns in aged care centres.
So following is Norovirus information from the Food Standards Australia website – http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/safety/foodborne-illness/Pages/Norovirus.aspx
What is norovirus?
Norovirus is the name given to a group of viruses that can be found in the gut of people.
What illness does it cause?
Norovirus causes gastroenteritis. This illness is not a nationally notifiable disease and doesn’t need to be reported to health authorities unless there is an outbreak.
What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms are frequent vomiting and watery diarrhoea, nausea, muscle aches, headaches and low fever. Symptoms usually begin between 24 to 48 hours after a person becomes infected (e.g. after eating contaminated food).
Sometimes infected people have no symptoms.
Most people are sick for one to three days.
Who can get sick?
Anyone can get gastroenteritis from norovirus, even if they’ve had it before.
In very young children, the elderly and people with weak immune systems (e.g. cancer patients) the illness can be more serious due to dehydration.
Where does it come from?
Norovirus can get into water and food from the faeces (poo) or vomit of infected people, for example from contact with sewerage or dirty hands. The virus can stay infectious in the environment for a long time and might not be destroyed by common disinfectants.
Common foods that can be contaminated with norovirus include bivalve molluscan shellfish (e.g. oysters) and food that is ready to eat (won’t be further cooked).
How can people get sick?
- By eating or drinking contaminated food
- By touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching your mouth (e.g. while eating)
- From infected people transferring the virus to food, cutlery, glassware and other things they touch
How can illness be prevented?
- Wash and dry hands thoroughly before preparing and eating food, especially after going to the toilet or changing nappies
- Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating
- Anyone who is sick with norovirus should not prepare food for others until 48 hours after vomiting and diarrhoea have stopped