PLASTIC UNWRAPPED

Category Archives: Research

PLASTIC UNWRAPPED
12th December, 2017

Image: Flickr (Bo Eide)

Want to really reduce your plastic use?

Prompted by our focus on Plastic Free July this year, Co-op Research Group member Craig Linn has prepared two in-depth papers on plastic to help you understand the environmental and health risks posed by plastic, and how you can reduce the plastic in your life.

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REVIEW OF FREE SUGARS by Sallyanne Pisk
25th July, 2017

Are all sugars equal? Co-op Research Group member Sallyanne Pisk looks into the health and environmental issues related to the consumption of free sugars. Read her paper Review of Free Sugars.

Sallyanne is an accredited practising dietitian and nutritionist. She writes a weekly health blog www.eatingforyou.com.au and is the author of the book Eating for You.

Talk to Sallyanne about nutrition and healthy living in the main shop on the first Wednesday of every month for Wellness Wednesday.

 

FAIR TRADE: FACTS & ISSUES by Craig Linn
9th May, 2017

What is Fair Trade, and how do we know if an item is really fair? Coop Research Group member Craig Linn looks into the facts and issues surrounding Fair Trade.

Read Craig’s paper Fair Trade: the Facts and Issues.

EGGS: LLANDILO FARM AND BEYOND
5th September, 2016

What is it like at Llandilo Egg Farm?

Rebecca Tyson visited the farm in 2016 wrote up her observations in this report.

Some hens dust bathing in the open paddock.

Chickens dust bathing in the open paddock

Within the ‘direct from the farm shop’, where the public can buy Llandilo’s barn-laid eggs (free-range eggs are not available at the shop), there is a viewing window into one of the barns.

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GOOGY EGGS? FREE RANGE EGGS AT THE CO-OP
20th May, 2016

Recently we’ve been fielding quite a few questions about the eggs we stock at the Co-op, following the introduction of labelling standards for free range eggs. Our organic free range boxed eggs come from Ellerslie Farm, our free range boxed eggs come from Llandilo and the loose free range eggs from another small supplier, Barn House.

In March this year, consumer organisation CHOICE reported on the labeling decision taken in Australia for eggs sold in the shops. They note that ‘A meeting of state, territory and federal ministers decided that:

  • “Free-range” can mean eggs produced by hens stocked at up to 10,000 birds per hectare, not the maximum 1,500 per hectare that the CSIRO Model Code recommends.
  • Egg cartons will have to display stocking densities, but there’s no requirement for to chickens to actually go outside.’

We could be waiting 12 months for this information and labeling standard to be adopted. In the meantime, to check out the Co-op’s boxed eggs and see how they relate to the stocking densities, you can download a nifty new app from CHOICE, called CluckAR (for iPhone and Android). CHOICE say of their new app:

‘…with CluckAR, you can simply point your smartphone camera at a carton […] and get a clear picture of which brands are selling eggs from the most chilled-out, happy hens. And it’s powered by CHOICE’s unbiased, up-to-date research, so you can be sure you’re getting independent advice on which eggs are worth, well, shelling out for.’

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JAPANESE FOOD SAFETY REPORT
5th April, 2013

Summary

As a result of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, serious concerns arose regarding whether Japanese food may have become contaminated by radiation. In response to these early reservations, the Co-op made the decision to delete all stock lines of Japanese sea vegetables, and there was vigorous debate about whether we should continue to stock any Japanese products at all.

In May of 2012, board director Larry Buttrose arranged to have Helen Caldicott (anti-nuclear activist), speak to Co-op members on the topic of whether it was safe to be consuming foods of a Japanese origin. Dr. Caldicott urged the Co-op to stop ordering “all” foods cultivated in Japan. However, foods from Japan are popular among Co-op consumers, so in an effort to make the most informed choices concerning the safety of Japanese products, the decision was made to have specific samples individually tested by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) for radioactivity.

We investigated international limits for Caesium radiation content in foodstuffs, and compared these to the quantities present (where applicable) in seven products of Japanese origin, sold by the Co-op.

To view summary of the report complete with tables with out results – click here for: Japanese Food Safety Report Summary

To view a full copy of the report & list of products we have in the Co-op sourced from Japan, plus recommendations – click here: Japanese Food Safety Report

The Co-op Board will meet regularly to discuss the Japanese food safety issue, and will keep the larger Co-op community informed as to any further decision making. If you wish to make a comment regarding Japanese food safety please email us on hello@bmfoodcoop.org.au or use our contact page

KALINDRA MCCOLL

VIDEO LINKS TO HELEN CALDICOTT’S TALK ON JAPANESE FOOD SAFETY POST FUKUSHIMA.
10th October, 2012

In May of 2012, world-famous physician Dr Helen Caldicott travelled to Katoomba to speak to Co-op members on the crucial subject of “Is Food From Japan Safe Post Fukushima?” A video of Dr Caldicott’s address was shot by Rushan Dissanayake and Atilla Tugcu of Legacy Productions, and clips are posted here for the information of members.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zh_RfSkxraQ&feature=g-upl

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv4Xw9pQP7s&feature=g-upl

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGpQBJYC-c0&feature=g-upl

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbQeVeBEDMc&feature=g-upl

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59p8PUuiNbE&feature=g-upl

The Co-op has begun commissioning formal testing of foods from Japan for any radioactivity, and ongoing results will be displayed here too.

The Board’s intention is that after a period of further information and discussion on this issue, how we should respond to it will be put to an online poll of members.

SHOPPER BEWARE OF FOODS GROWN IN JAPAN, SAYS DR HELEN CALDICOTT. “EAT FOODS GROWN IN AUSTRALIA THE SAFEST ANSWER,” SHE SAYS.
4th July, 2012

Physician and environmentalist Dr Helen Caldicott says Australians should beware of buying any food products from Japan, in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The Nobel-prize nominated Australian physician made the comment at a public meeting in Katoomba (on 30 May 2012) organised by the Blue Mountains Food Co-op. She said the meltdown of three reactors at Fukushima and subsequent explosions at the plant had resulted in the release of massive amounts of radiation into the atmosphere and ocean, even far greater than released in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.

The accident was rated two and a half to five times worse than Chernobyl, making Fukushima the worst industrial accident of all time. Of particular relevance to Australians is that the uranium in the Fukushima plant came from Australia, she said.

Radioactive elements such as iodine, caesium and strontium had been released into the food chain across Japan, and were being circulated by wind and rain and then concentrated in the food chain. Elevated levels of radioactivity had been found in food products from as far south as Okinawa, she said. As well, products from less contaminated regions were being mixed with more contaminated ones, so that consumers had no idea how dangerous foods from any part of Japan might be.

“Once radioactive elements enter the body, you can’t get rid of them, and they can trigger mutations that lead to cancer, over a time scale from two up to 70 years.”

Many foods from Japan are popular with Australian consumers, and are on many supermarket shelves. These include rice, shitake mushrooms, green tea, soy milk, soy sauces, miso, udon and soba noodles, nori and other foods from the sea.

She said fish were at particular risk, with reports of contaminated tuna being caught as far away as the coast of California. While the northern and southern hemispheres have separate air circulatory systems, that is not the case with the oceans, she said, and contaminated fish could migrate throughout the Pacific, including to Australia.

Dr Caldicott also warned that foods from many parts of Europe were contaminated still from the Chernobyl disaster – and would continue to be so for hundreds of years.

“In Germany there are wild boar so contaminated they almost glow in the dark, and have to be disposed of like nuclear waste,” she said.

“The safest solution for Australian consumers is to buy foods grown in Australia.”

By Larry Buttrose

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