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Innovation in the Australasian pork industry
Don’t risk illegal food sales on social media
BUYING food from unregulated vendors on social media puts both you and your family at risk of food poisoning.
“Not only that, it is illegal.
Prior to purchasing food, ask yourself these questions:
The Food Safety In- formation Council has warned Australians not to buy or sell food pre- pared in unregulated home kitchens on social media sites.
• Does the vendor have a website or social media page that proves it is a licensed food business and, if not, can the vendor prove it has a food licence or is a registered business?
Food Safety Infor- mation Council chair Cathy Moir said that people selling unregu- lated food through so- cial media sites such as Facebook and WeChat were putting the public at risk, as it was un- likely they would meet the required food safety standards.
The rules around the production and selling of food in Australia are strict and anyone selling food must adhere to the state or territory regula- tions.
• Is the food a much cheaper price than you would usually pay?
“We first became aware of this practice after media reports in May 2020, and since then this practice has increased significantly, with a range of high-risk foods such as curries, spring rolls, dumplings, roast meats, baked goods, pastas, seafood and even raw sausages being of- fered,” Ms Moir said.
“It is unlikely that food prepared in a home kitchen or backyard bar- becue would meet these standards.
“If you are considering turning your hobby into a business, we recom- mend contacting your local council for advice on how to set up a food business, safely,” Ms Moir said.
“These unregulated food sales are a consid- erable food safety risk.
“Licensed sellers must also be aware of any labelling requirements, including the allergens in their food, so they can inform consumers.
“If you have a local farmers’ market, they may also be able to ad- vise you about how to sell your food legally.”
“There is a real risk of food poisoning, which in its worst form can have severe health con- sequences.
“Don’t risk buying from an illegal seller.”
For more information, visit
“Government and local council enforce- ment agencies are clamping down on these unregistered food busi- nesses, as and when they become aware of them – though new sellers keep popping up and this is putting a con- siderable strain on our health services.”
• Is the location the food is collected from a home address?
“This requires specific food safety knowledge and controls that cover hygiene, safe cooking and cooling rules, cor- rect refrigeration, safe storage and transporta- tion,” Ms Moir said.
Support your local food businesses instead, either in store or by or- dering online.
“Another reason to be extremely wary of these illegal sellers is the risk of an allergic reaction.
“There are council con- tact details and also ac- cess to online food safety training courses on the Food Safety Information Council website.
If in doubt, don’t take the risk of buying un- safe food.
WE hear a lot nowadays about innovation and the need to never lose sight of opportunities to trans- form our businesses.
Agree with this or not, I doubt there would be any disagreement concerning our industry’s need to support research for con- tinued innovation and in- dustry application.
Innovation, if done cor- rectly and appropriately, should not only support and improve core pork production – and its pro- cessing principles and practices – but enable the Australasian pork in- dustry to become more efficient, sustainable and globally competitive
Science and Technology at The Maschhoffs.
served that the first step to rectifying this situation is the more timely capture of useful information, be- cause until data can be acquired efficiently – for example, with the use of sensors that lead into the realm of more real-time business intelligence tools – producers cannot begin to determine how to make sense of it.
The Australasian Pork Research Institute Ltd re- cently called for innova- tion projects, asking in- vestigators to submit ap- plications addressing ‘out of the box’ ideas that will potentially deliver smart, new approaches to tackle current and emerging is- sues and challenges for the Australasian pork in- dustry.
But what is innovation?
Dr Schwab commented that there were several examples of new prod- ucts or tools in the mar- ketplace that could and would create incremental value – however, these in- cremental changes needed to be combined in ways that would create material change.
Accompanied by a plethora of meanings and definitions, broadly speaking innovation is the creation, development and implementation of a new product, process or service, with the aim of improving efficiency, ef- fectiveness or competitive advantage.
This requires a new level of predictive analytics and a new way of thinking.
We will begin assessing the 20 applications re- ceived in this scheme, and anticipate supporting a number of projects that continue innovation for our industry.
The Maschhoffs is based in Carlyle, Illinois in the US and is one of the largest family-owned pork production networks in North America.
When contextualised to the Australasian pork in- dustry, I think we’d all agree that we have done an excellent job of this – for example, with the development and imple- mentation of porcine so- matotropin, Improvac and AusScan Online, and so- lutions to group housing of sows for starters.
Dr Schwab then outlined three innovation platforms he believed encompassed significant opportuni- ties for The Maschhoffs – namely digital trans- formation, the intersec- tion between health and nutrition, and harvesting genetic potential.
Not only will these tools allow for more efficient responses to production challenges, but they will help potentially unlock areas of opportunity the industry may not even currently realise or fully understand.
John Pluske, APRIL CEO and Chief Scien- tist
Then, on a daily basis, our producers are contin- ually innovating as they strive to improve their practices and business performance.
In regard to Dr Schwab’s comments about digital transformation in par- ticular, I thought his com- ments were salient.
But this started me thinking – how do we continue to innovate as an industry, and what might be next?
He mentioned that the pork industry is ripe for a digital transforma- tion, that the industry remains data-rich and information-poor and, in comparison to other in- dustries outside of animal agriculture, is stuck in the dark ages when it comes to leveraging information technologies.
In exploring this further, I came across a piece last year in Farm Journal’s Pork written by Dr Clint Schwab, Vice President
Dr Schwab then ob-
Vice President of Science and Technology at The Maschhoffs Dr Clint Schwab.
Arguably, these plat- forms apply equally to the Australasian pork in- dustry.
Australian Pork Newspaper, November 2020 – Page 9

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