RoyPalmerSnippets from Down Under is authored by Roy Palmer. Since 1972, Roy Palmer has been involved trading seafood and other food products and has traveled the world extensively.

A TV investigation by an ABC program, Four Corners, has revealed that Australian food is being picked, packed and processed by exploited workers and that supermarkets involved (including Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, IGA and Costco) have been benefiting from what they called “extreme labour exploitation, slave-like conditions and black market labor gangs.” Fast-food outlets KFC and Red Rooster were also implicated in the Four Corners program.

If we scratched the surface in other so-called...

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This could be a headline about why you would choose Australian fish over another and be a strong positive article about the industry….. but alas, it is a tale of woe that highlights how an industry constantly fails by not working collaboratively.

My sense of being involved in this industry for over 40 years is that things are probably at a major low.

In Australia, where you have a small population (24 million) in a country nearly as big as the USA; where you have a food retailing sector...

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The USA is ‘treading water’ relating to seafood sales, according to recent excellent research by US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Food Science and Nutrition and Centre for Exercise, Nutrition, and Health Sciences entitled ‘Intake of Seafood in the US Varies by Age, Income, and Education Level but Not by Race-Ethnicity’.

The report highlights that while seafood consumption is increasing in many parts of the world, and some countries have made commitments regarding...

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Supermarkets and other large buyers of seafood have been a driver of certification to move the burden on many issues to the supplier, and this has been both good and bad.

In the case of food safety, one of the most important -- if not the most important – issue is that many of these large buyers created the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).

GFSI, according to their website, provides thought leadership and guidance on food safety management system controls necessary to assure the safety...

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Monday 26 January is Australia Day – it is a day celebrated annually and in today’s Australia it is first and foremost a holiday, a day off work, a good reason to blow up more fireworks, heat up the barbie (bar-b-q), have a beer (or a wine for the more refined) and, not to be over sarcastic, reflect on the multi-cultural society we have become and engage in official community awards, and citizenship ceremonies welcoming new immigrants into the Australian community.

In historic terms...

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We start a new year – from the heat down under, I wish you all a happy, healthy and profitable 2015.

I want to start the New Year with an important reminder to everyone in the industry to not forget the basics. Avoiding food recalls by ensuring that seafood staff are adequately trained and ensuring efficient risk management practices are engaged is an essential.

To highlight the problem, a new study has just been published entitled ‘Comparison of Microbiological Food Safety Issues in...

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At the AMSA Maritime 2014 Conference, I had the chance to meet and talk with Australia’s deputy prime minister, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) secretary general, and the incoming Australian Marine Safety Authority (AMSA) chairman.

Dealing firstly with international issues, Koji Sekimizu, Secretary General of IMO, spoke a little of the past, some of the present and much of the future. Mr. Sekimizu is the seventh-elected secretary general of the International Maritime...

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Day two of the AMSA Conference in Melbourne got under way on Wednesday, 12 November, with two interesting female presenters talking about AMSA’s innovation in technology (I highlight as most of day one was males).

Christine Macmillian, manager, Planning & Business Support at AMSA, spoke about meeting our international obligations regarding people in peril on the sea. In the vast waters that Australia manages (53 million sq. kms), there are about 7,000 incidents per year.

Macmillian gave...

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Marine Safety is big business -- just think of how many vessels there are utilizing the oceans and waterways of the world. Add to that issues such as offshore mining/drilling; search and rescue; navigation and tracking; spillages and other environmental issues, and you start to get a feel for the size of the business.

In Australia, all of the governance for these activities falls under the control of the Australian Marine Safety Authority (AMSA). In 2012, the Navigation Act 2012 and the Marine...

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Sen. Ron Boswell, retiring from his role next month after 31 years’ service to his beloved Queensland state, gave a strong warning to Australian primary producers (and consumers who value them) to work together, and with the Australian Government, to retain the influence they should have — and deserve to have — over the way their industries operate. 

The Senator said: “What I want to do is leave all Australian primary producers with a warning: take action now to maintain control over the...

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