Thursday, January 27, 2011

Olive Oil - From New World Sources WILL Increase

Sources of olive oil traditionally have been mediterranean countries with Spain [over 30% of production the biggest], Italy, Greece, and Portugal. Our household has commonly used 4L cans from Spain, for example.

But this is changing. California has rapidly been improving oil quality as well as volumes, as has Australia and so too has Chile and to a lesser extent, Argentina. Think those countries where new world wine production has also both been inceasing and being of much better quality. While volumes may not exceed European figures, production will be closer to consumers and as consumers raise their own sophistication, local and smaller volume high quality producers - boutique or somewhat larger - should snare a modest to increasing market share.

In Australia, there are many locally grown and produced olive oil brands now marketed through major retail chains, and quite frankly: - they are very good. Especially for modest volume uses in salads and similar food uses, where flavour and aroma are important. Cheaper imported olive oil still is acceptable for bulk use eg cooking.

A recent article highlights some of the developments in California particularly, but a similar issue has also occurred in Australia with rapidly increasing olive oil quality. There are even speciality shops selling nothing BUT olive oil in many larger cities around Australia.

Think about the wine market............olive oil markets are expected to emulate that development at least in variety, and with better quality, and a wider range of countires of production.

It will be good for ordinary consumers. If you have not tried some of the wider range of specialty olive oils, they are worth consideration. Usually available in bottle sizes of 500ml - 1L, in Australia.

The article highlighting Californian developments is here: -

with similar development in Australia.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dioxin Contamination in Food Scare - Germany

China is often accused of lax process and poor management of industrial food processes. The contaminated milk powder scandal is but part of that.

This time it is Germany......and dioxin.

Same sort of issue, a company in this case it seems, opting for cheap ingredients for formulated animal feeds, with the material not suitable for animal use, but only for industrial use. The animal feeds were then used and the dioxin showed up in eggs, pork, etc.

The contamination is nominally small, really miniscule. But modern analytical techniques can detect very very small levels of some of these toxic products, and dioxin is certainly toxic. German authorities are playing it down, stating that levels are extremely low, and NOT a human health threat.......which is most probably true. But perception is EVERYTHING, and the public is very unhappy over the whole issue.

Food safety is a big issue, and Germany is a big organic market, so there are many consumers if not buying organic foods exclusively, do so at times. This will further inflame emotions over the "factory food" catchcry.

In reality............a shoddy, tawdry manufacturer, who it seems is under big pressure and may become insolvent over the issue.

There are many news items with this one a reasonable overview:

This will reopen questions about regulation or reregulation of food quality. Yet, in reality the problem WAS detected, and quickly dealt with. There will be recriminations, absolutely no doubt.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Waste Recycling from a Single Stream

Sometimes when you are close to an industry you do not see what others see. The commonplace seems ordinary, regular and well, very familiar.

One of my first encounters with a mechanised single stream waste system was about ten years ago, and that system was quite effective, although the operators were sure improvement was possible. But it was very reliably sorting and separating some of the major waste streams, even then, with paper and cardboard, ferrous metals, aluminium, and plastics as standout items easily separated. Although some plastics required hand separation to separate the different classes, if that was a need......and that has not changed.

Although single stream recycling has been around for quite a while, a recent encounter of such a system by a journalist offers a very different that the general public probably does not even know, or maybe even care, about. Seen by a journalist's eyes - read about it here, and see the pictures:

The marvels of electro-mechanical engineering and process control come together to create a series of belts, magnets, colour sorters and air blast separators, swirling discs and a whole lot more, to effectively separate recycling material, from a single stream. Sure, it is NOT totally infallible and there are some materials still requiring hand sorting, but that is relatively modest.

Most systems using a feed source from a single stream are highly manual.......lots of individuals hand sorting the waste stream. Not so with this system.

While in low labour cost countries this will not displace labour, it is an option worth considering when volumes increase, and recycling can be profitable.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Australian University Bans Bottled Water

The University of Canberra (UC) is introducing a total ban on the sale of bottled water on its campus.

It is believed to be the largest ban of its kind in Australia and the first across a university.

Read more here:

While at least one Australian town, Bundanoon, has also banned bottled water, this is a very significant acceleration of the trend into a young demographic group.

Yes, some other places are doing similar things, but this one is with the support of the retailers on campus.

Afterall, what is wrong with being self reliant and bringing water from home?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Floods Caused by Mining - Says Brown, Greens Party Leader

What a giant blooper from a Federal politician who should really have more common sense........simple common sense. It is a time when if you have nothing important to say, then keep quiet.

Bob Brown the Leader of the Greens political party in Australia has blamed the recent floods on the mining industry.......duh!!!!!

The media piece below [reproduced from an online version of Australian Mining News today] says it very well, with the local member for Kennedy in north Queensland dropping some giant brickbats on his head.

What crass, ignorant, stupid statements from a politician who really should know better. Mr Brown, you owe many people an apology over this blooper!

The Bureau of Metereology had already predicted very heavy rains and possible floods for north Australia some months ago, and the actual events affecting Brisbane were related to very unusual circumstances, possibly out of line with normal forecast outcomes, and maybe unpredictable other than with almost direct immediacy as weather events happened.

Comments on the original article are very pertinent and Bob Brown should read and learn something from them.

Is Bob Brown really so stupid??

Katter slams “inconsistent”, “hypocritical” Greens
Jessica Burke on 20 January 2011

Greens Senator Bob Brown continues to draw widespread criticism for accusing the mining industry of having a hand in the devastating floods across the country.

Bob Katter, member for the Queensland seat of Kennedy, is the latest to voice his objection to Brown’s comments, saying they are ridiculous and hypocritical.

Earlier in the week the Greens leader suggested the mining industry should foot the bill for the flood clean-up, because the industry is a major contributor to global warming.

But Katter says the argument shows inconsistency.

"There is a problem that will arise in the oceans that we should be cognisant of," he said.
"But Mr Brown, with all due respects, [has] the hide to say to the Australian people that it's causing massive flooding, when not a year ago and for the last 10 years, they've been telling us that it's been causing the drought on the Murray Darling."

He’s also accused Brown of being insensitive to the devastation people across the flooded areas are suffering. "I react with great anger," he said.

"You can't let people get away with that sort of hypocrisy and misrepresentations to the public of Australia."

Queensland’s Natural Resource Minister Stephen Robertson has also reacted against the comments, saying such comments from the Greens are not helping the situation. "We need to take a sober look as to what occurred, particularly in terms of what the Bureau of Meteorology is telling us," he said. "But to go out there at this point in time and point the finger in particular directions is not good science and I don't think the debate about climate change is particularly well served by those more emotional outbursts that we've been seeing by some individuals."

Unions and politicians have called for Brown to retract or apologise for his comments.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Christmas Break and RAIN

Yes, one has to have a short break or holiday sometimes. Brisbane was the destination, and it rained a lot, although not as much as right now. Massive floods in the SE Queensland region, with serious implications for agricultural and horticultural production and supply across Australia.

More on that over the next few days........back to the grindstone tomorrow.