food australia Journal, Vol. 74 (2) April - June 2022

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ISSN 1032 5298 • PRINT POST APPROVED PP241613/00096 VOL 74 ISSUE 2




Sleep quality and tea


New insights in emulsion science &


Postbiotics - an emerging functional ingredient


TINY INGREDIENTS, MAJOR IMPLICATIONS Product recalls are increasing, and supply chains are becoming more complex. Long supply chains with many participants and stages provide countless challenges, including contamination of foodstuffs. According to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), most food recalls in the period between 2011 and 2020 were due to undeclared allergens and microbial contamination. Practices such as keeping a keen eye on what’s happening overseas, with food scares in particular, can help local stakeholders proactively identify developing challenges and address them before they become issues in Australia. To ensure preparation for adverse events, organisations should also think about risk from a likelihood perspective, conduct threats and vulnerabilities assessments, and practice and prepare for risk.

Even in an allergen-free manufacturing environment, a small error in the supply chain can have major implications Michael Lincoln from Liberty Specialty Markets Australia reported, “Recently a client who operates an allergenfree manufacturing plant in Victoria sustained an estimated financial loss of more than $375,000 as a result of a simple ingredient contamination, that was out of their control. “In this case, the medium sized manufacturer is dedicated to the production of gluten, dairy and nut free baking mixes, suitable for consumption by people with various allergies and dietary intolerances. “Needless to say, the manufacturer takes its internal systems and processes very seriously to ensure they maintain an allergen-free manufacturing environment. Unfortunately, there was a major failure on the part of one of the manufacturer’s trusted suppliers. That supplier provided the manufacturer with baking powder. Testing data (the costs of which were borne by the manufacturer) clearly traced the end allergen to a defective batch of baking powder.” “Through no fault of the baking goods manufacturer, the baking

powder was contaminated with casein, a potential allergen, and was thus not declared as an ingredient on the packaging and labelling. By the time the contamination was discovered, the faulty raw material had been used in an array of cake mixes and other products,” Lincoln said.

Avoid major consequences through risk management Peter McGee from Victual, a risk and insurance organisation, provided his expertise. “Prevention is always better than the cure. A robust vendor assurance program, which includes good contractual protections, and some assurance that suppliers have appropriate insurance in place, will be the best way to prevent supplier errors having an impact on your business and your bottom line. “At the same time, being ready for a recall is also crucial. It is imperative that all members of the recall team understand recall processes and have a working knowledge of recall hazards

relevant to your business. This might include allergens, malicious product tamper or labelling. A structured training program will ensure your staff have the knowledge required and are prepared to respond,” McGee said. Working closely with FSANZ, the notification workflow in GS1 Australia’s Recall platform is aligned with the FSANZ Recall Report. FSANZ receives all necessary information required when a recall is submitted using Recall. Post recall reports are also generated in Recall and accurately reflect FSANZ versions of the Interim and Final reports. For more information about GS1 Australia Recall and how it can help your organisation, visit www.gs1au. org/recall or scan the QR code.





Food science continuing to deliver in a changing world

The legacy of JR Vickery continues to inspire 12




By the Numbers






Fast Four

Using predictive models to ensure the safety of traditional cheese


The postbiotic concept: ‘secrets’ to manufacturing functional food

What are postbiotics and how do they work? 18

NATA – delivering safety and confidence in Australian food

Accreditation authority celebrates its 75th year 20

ISSN 1032 5298 • PRINT POST APPROVED PP241613/00096 VOL 74 ISSUE 2

Microbiological growth models and food safety


Opportunities for linseed in Australian food products

The nutritional and health benefits of linseed 24

Consumer value claims: how ‘sustainable’ is your food?

Stay on the right side of the law when making consumer value claims 26

Safe food: the role of handwashing and hygiene


Sleep quality and tea

Developing systemic innovation projects in the agri-food industry

New processes to underpin innovation projects 32


New insights in emulsion science &

Workplace hygiene practices and their role in food safety 30



Postbiotics - an emerging functional ingredient

COVER Opportunities with linseed.

Turbulence-induced emulsion gels in food product development

Novel strategies open up a new field of emulsion science 38

Tea and sleep: a focus on active ingredients

Sleep quality and tea 41

Life Cycle Assessment can guide sustainable packaging design

Optimising circular and sustainable pack design 44

The Identification of potential food safety hazards in seaweed

Food safety tools for Australian seaweed processors

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Published by The Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology Limited.

Food for Thought

Editorial Coordination Melinda Stewart |

Contributors Dr Muthupandian Ashokkumar, Amanda Bulman, Lauren D’Ambrosio, Dr Nathan M D’Cunha, Shareen Dhillon, Nistha Kashyap, Dr Russell Keast, Nerida Kelton, Dr Johannes le Coutre, Dr Wu Li, Dr Gie Liem, Dr Joe Liu, Deon Mahoney, Dr Gregory Martin, Agnes Mukurumbira, Dr Val Natanelov, Dr Nenad Naumovski, Dr Martin Palmer, Dipon Sarkar, Annelise Sarikas, Neil Shepherd, Ashish Shrestha, Dr Dai Suter, Clare Winkel, Dr Tristrom Winsley.

Advertising Manager Clive Russell |

Subscriptions AIFST |

Production Bite Communications

Welcome to the Autumn edition of food australia. In the last edition I touched on the importance of innovation, collaboration and trust and we have picked this up in the theme of AIFST22 – our annual convention – Food Science – creating the future through collaboration and innovation. This speaks to the exciting opportunities ahead for the food industry and the important role of food science and technology. AIFST22 will be held as a face-to-face event, on August 23 and 24 in Melbourne featuring a full technical program and an exhibition. Please join us in August to grow, learn and connect. The AIFST Board has recently reviewed and updated the 2021-2023 Strategic Plan, based around our four key pillars of grow, learn, connect and champion. This plan sets out the key priorities for the AIFST for 2022 with a strong focus on education, communicating the role and importance of food science professionals and food science, engagement and building partnerships. Please take some time to have a look at our plan and give us your feedback.

Subscription Rates 2022 Subscription Rates for 4 editions Australia $120; Overseas (airmail) $190; single copies $30.00; Overseas $47.50 food australia is the official journal of the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology Limited (AIFST). Statements and opinions presented in the publication do not necessarily reflect the policies of AIFST nor does AIFST accept responsibility for the accuracy of such statement and opinion.

Editorial Contributions Guidelines are available at food-australia-Journal. Original material published in food australia is the property of the publisher who holds the copyright and may only be published provided consent is obtained from the AIFST. Copyright © 2018 ISSN 1032-5298

AIFST Board Chair: Mr Duncan McDonald Non-executive directors: Ms Suz Allen, Ms Julie Cox, Mr John Kavanagh, Ms Sandra Loader, Mr Deon Mahoney, Ms Bronwyn Powell.

AIFST National Office PO Box 780 Cherrybrook NSW 2126 Tel: +61 447 066 324 Email: Web:

This edition of food australia features articles on health and nutrition - exploring postbiotics, linseed and sleep quality and tea. In the area of food safety, we explore potential food safety hazards in seaweed and the role of handwashing and hygiene – a particularly relevant topic given the past two years we have been living with COVID-19. Once again, the breadth of content highlights the many disciplines of food science and technology supporting the food and agri-business sector. As always, I invite and encourage you to take an active role engaging with the Institute – it is only through continued engagement that we can fulfill our purpose of uniting food industry professionals in the science of feeding our future.

Fiona Fleming B. App Sc (Food Tech); MNutr Mgt; FAIFST; MAICD Chief Executive Officer


Product fraud: a growing problem A recent report from AgriFutures found product fraud is on the rise and has the potential to cause significant harm to Australia’s reputation for producing high-quality goods.Food fraud is becoming a significant challenge, estimated to cost $40-50 billion a year globally and $2-3 billion in Australia alone. Product fraud can range from simple substitution or incorrect labelling of a product to more sophisticated methods that result in consumers paying a premium price for a counterfeit product. High-value products such as beef and seafood are particularly at risk of substitution, as well as the use of fillers to increase volume and mislabeling about provenance and quality. While our ability to detect fraud continues to improve, there is a need for a wholeof-supply-chain approach to combat the problem, as fraud can take place at multiple points along the supply chain. At present there is no consistent definition for product and food fraud. However, it is commonly accepted that product fraud and food fraud are committed when food is illegally placed in the market with the intention of deceiving the consumer, usually for financial gain. The scale and nature of product fraud in the Australian market is largely unknown, but it presents major challenges for Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries with regards to protecting brands and reputation and minimising risks to consumers. The report identified six fraudulent practices based on internationally recognised broad types of fraud: adulteration, concealment, counterfeiting, dilution, mislabelling and substitution. While finding that product fraud is on the rise, the report highlights technology solutions that exist and are ready to be deployed along the supply chain to help reduce the incidence of fraud.

Estimated economic cost of product fraud to Australian agricultural and fisheries industries in 2018-19 Total cost of food fraud:*

Globally: $40-50 billion a year

Australia: $2-3 billion a year

Estimated cost by product



BEEF AND VEAL $500 - $900 million


WINE $150-205 million


SHEEP MEAT $105 - $200 million

DAIRY PRODUCTS $80-160 million



HORTICULTURE $6-120 million

WHEAT $90-110 million

* All figures in Australian dollars Source: Smith, M, Ashraf, M, Austin,C, and Lester, R. (2021) Product fraud: impacts on Australian agriculture, fisheries and forestry Publication No. 21-039. AgriFutures.

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Dr Thejani Gunaratne joins CSIRO Dr Thejani Gunaratne has joined CSIRO, Australia’s National science agency. She joins a highly experienced and passionate team of scientists as Project Leader in Sensory Science. Thejani completed her Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Food Science and Technology in Sri Lanka and received a full scholarship to pursue her PhD in Sensory and Consumer Science at the University of Melbourne. During her PhD, Thejani researched novel non-invasive technologies to monitor sensory, emotional and biometric responses of consumers towards food products and packaging. This work was conducted in collaboration with Mondelez International and the Australian Research Council. After her PhD, Thejani worked with the sensory team at Kantar Australia

before joining CSIRO. Thejani looks forward to building her expertise as she addresses evolving challenges of the food industry using the resources available at CSIRO. Thejani is excited to bring her wealth of knowledge to the sensory team where she will provide support and lead both internal and external projects. At CSIRO Thejani is also involved in recruiting, screening, setting up, training and leading sensory panels. Thejani said CSIRO is an organisation she always wanted to be a part of since starting her postgraduate studies in Australia. “CSIRO’s sensory, flavour and consumer science expertise is unique in that it integrates flavour science, objective sensory science, consumer acceptance and food choices. I am

thrilled to work with such a great team of experts to understand the influences on sensory perception and eating behaviour, and use this knowledge to influence food quality, human health, and well-being,” she said.

Dr Malik Hussain appointed Associate Professor at WSU Malik Hussain has joined the School of Science at Western Sydney University as an Associate Professor in Innovative Food Production. He is part of the Agriculture and Food Sciences discipline that has research strengths in agricultural sciences, food science and nutrition, and environmental sustainability. Malik is an experienced food scientist with a specialisation in food microbiology and safety. He completed his PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2007 and has received several academic awards and fellowships, including the prestigious OECD Fellowship in 2014 to work at the Guelph Food Research Centre in Canada. In the past, Malik played a key role in developing food innovation

and safety research capabilities at Lincoln University in New Zealand. In recent years he worked at the New South Wales Food Authority and the Victorian Department of Health in senior scientific and technical roles in the areas of food safety science and food regulations. During the last 20 years Malik has worked in universities, research institutes and food regulatory agencies in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Pakistan. His professional expertise covers multiple disciplines including novel foods, probiotics, food safety, food microbiology, food standards and regulation. Malik plans to develop a research program in food innovation, probiotics and gut health, and food safety and public health. He is a

member of the Australian Institute of Food Science & Technology and can be contacted via email at:

AIFST22 - 23-24 AUGUST, MELBOURNE 6 food australia

Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council appoints new General Manager The Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC), Australia’s independent authority on the nutrition and health benefits of grains and legumes, has welcomed Katya (Kathy) La Macchia as its new General Manager. Kathy replaces Dr Sara Grafenauer who led GLNC for the past four and a half years. Kathy brings more than 20 years experience in the food and dietetics sector. She recently relocated to Sydney with her family after stints in both the US and EU, with her most recent appointment in Holland with Kraft Heinz International as the International Nutrition Lead. At Kraft Heinz, Kathy was responsible for driving the development of new food products and communicating to consumers and key stakeholders

about food, nutrition and sustainability commitments. Kathy also brings prior experience in Australian nutrition communications and strategy, along with a knowledge of local regulatory and food distribution systems. Kathy has a passion for sustainability, plant proteins, gut health and immunity across all consumer groups, with a particular interest in infants, young children and the elderly. “I am really excited to be joining the GLNC, especially at a time where sustainability and the drive for consuming more plant-based proteins such as grains and legumes has never been more important. As a nutritionist, I see this as a most exciting time to be in the food industry, and more so to be leading

an association that is core to driving better health for all Australians and consumers offshore,” Kathy said. She can be reached at

Karen Ferres starts new role with SA Health Karen Ferres recently commenced as Director, Food Safety and Regulation with SA Health after 15 years as Manager, Food Safety and Audit, within the same organisation. Karen brings a wealth of knowledge and experience gained from 33 years working in food safety as a regulator and working across the food industry, airline and academic sectors. After completing a Bachelor of Applied Science in chemistry/ microbiology in 1988 at the University of South Australia, Karen developed a passion for improving food safety in the food industry, including airline catering at Qantas and most recently in the vulnerable populations sector. As Manager, Food Safety and Audit, Karen was responsible for leading the development, implementation, management and review of effective food safety risk assessment and management approaches in South

Australian food businesses. Karen successfully introduced the regulatory requirement for food safety programs and auditing of businesses in SA as required by Food Safety Standard 3.3.1. In 2014 she developed the SA Health State-wide Risk Classification System based on the national Food Safety Risk Profiling Framework. In her new role, Karen will be responsible for the strategic planning, supervision and management of the Food Safety and Regulation Branch and continue to provide expert professional consultancy and advice on food regulation and gene technology regulation issues across South Australia. Karen will continue to participate in local, state, national and bi-national committees to ensure effective administration of policy and legislation. This will allow her to continue contributing to the two

national food regulation working groups on Food Safety Culture and Food Safety Management Tools under Priority 1 of the Food Regulation System Priorities as part of her passion to improve food safety culture within food businesses.

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Food science continues to deliver in a changing world Words by Dr Johannes le Coutre Key points from the JR Vickery Address presented on the occasion of the AIFST 2021 Convention James Richard Vickery, OBE was a key player in 20th century Australian food science and innovation. Developing and orchestrating chilled meat shipments from Australia to Britain and subsequently to the American forces in the Pacific during World War 2 was only one of his accomplishments. Vickery also drove a recognised agenda on education to build a competent workforce for the food industry. With the capacity to draw insights and principles from other sciences such as biology, physics and chemistry, Vickery established the right mindset to be successful.

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What about food science in the 21st century? Will looking at the history of our field allow us to anticipate a trajectory for the future? One key observation is linked with our search for food security. Food has become very available – yet, more calories will not increase life expectancy. By the end of the 1990s we came to realise that if we continue to provide additional calories to either individuals or populations, as we have done over the past 200-300 years, we will not extend life expectancy, but we will shorten life. This is when the discussion about functional foods started as we aimed to add a benefit to the food we consume or that we’re producing. To keep pace with our growing population, we still need to produce more calories and strengthen

our food security. By 2050, we need to increase available food calories by about 70%. Thus, we need to produce more calories, but we also need to have better calories.1,2 In the next 30 years we will have ageing populations in developed countries,3 and we will have malnutrition as the cause of the disease burden.4 About 20% of the population will be overweight or obese, and 25% will suffer from some sort of allergy or food intolerance, and these numbers will only increase. Our problems are becoming much more specific and we are not just in need of more calories. On the positive side, this presents vast opportunities for food and nutrition science. It is realistic to address metabolic disease of all kinds,

diabetes, obesity and related health conditions. Other conditions such as cognitive decline, fitness, skin health and beauty reflect the many additional areas where use and application of meaningful food and nutrition has a role to play. Still, the most fundamental form of nutrition is infant nutrition. All of these are objectives where we go beyond adding calories by adding a functional benefit. Our field has been evolving. Two million years ago it started with fire.5 Homo sapiens is the only life form that uses fire to cook food, which is a tremendous advantage over other species, allowing our human ancestors to spend less time foraging, chewing and digesting, making that time available for other important tasks. Moving forward in time and making a huge jump from about two million years ago to the agricultural revolution just 10,000 years ago, also known as the neolithic revolution, we started to settle down. Humans began to grow monocultures for crop production and we started to put fences around our animals to drive livestock production. Jumping to near present times, in the early 20th century Carl Bosch and Fritz Haber developed and industrialised the Haber Bosch process – another ground-breaking innovation across all sciences which had a profound impact on our food systems. All innovation has its time, and the flipside of this particular innovation is now apparent. The Haber Bosch process contributes massively to greenhouse gas emissions and therefore to climate change. The dilemma remains that about 50% of the world’s food production relies on ammonia fertiliser. The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Norman Borlaug in 1970, and to the UN World Food Program in 2020, are testimony to the significance food and nutrition science continues to play. Five pillars can be seen to be driving the field of food and nutrition science in the 21st century:6 1. The health pillar, including all science and research focused directly on human health

2. Sustainability, often described as planetary health, continues to receive growing attention 3. A wide body of fundamental science, exploring the overall food and nutrition domain with an interest in obtaining insight on first principles 4. Food processing and food manufacturing with a focus on the industry and consumer interests 5. Evidence-based communication, to inform policy makers and regulatory bodies for the release of appropriate recommendations. All food systems share key features. Green agriculture, i.e. crop production, is associated with livestock agriculture, and both deliver into the food and manufacturing industries. Food manufacturers then engage with retail channels, who finally deliver products to consumers who eventually eat their food. Many food systems are in danger of being broken. Plastic, food waste, arable land exploitation, water management, deforestation and livestock handling are just a few of the issues in this context. Yet, when there are problems, there is a chance to do science and engineering with the objective to innovate and solve those problems - those are our opportunities and that’s the call for action. It is encouraging to see that nutrition science is serving all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The clarity of this alignment shows how central our field is to all sectors across humanity. A detailed agenda has been delivered by FAO to achieve these goals.7 Getting back to James Vickery – throughout his career he articulated a profound interest in the workforce, which was supposed to translate technology solutions for food systems and food security. Working with the industry was paramount to him. Vickery realised that the societal problems of his time would be best solved through education that built a unique and adequate workforce. These principles remain unchanged and, to make this happen, universities are required. The revamped, updated and improved food science and

nutrition curriculum at UNSW is only one example of the multiple exquisite programs in Australia to strengthen our science for the challenges of decades and centuries to come.

References 1. Creating a Sustainable Food Future. Available at: report_4c_wrr_online.pdf 2. Allison DB, Bassaganya-Riera J, Burlingame B, Brown AW, le Coutre J, Dickson SL, van Eden W, Garssen J, Hontecillas R, Khoo CSH, et al. Goals in Nutrition Science 2015–2020. Front Nutr (2015) 2: doi:10.3389/fnut.2015.00026 3. Majid Z, Welch C, Davies J, Jackson T. Global frailty: The role of ethnicity, migration and socioeconomic factors. Maturitas (2020) 139: doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2020.05.010 4. Lancet T. A future direction for tackling malnutrition. (2020) doi:10.1016/S01406736(19)33099-5 5. Wrangham RW. Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human. New York, NY (2009). 6. Bassaganya-Riera J, Berry EM, Blaak EE, Burlingame B, le Coutre J, van Eden W, ElSohemy A, German JB, Knorr D, Lacroix C, et al. Goals in Nutrition Science 2020-2025. Front Nutr (2021) 7:606378. doi:10.3389/fnut.2020.606378 7. Transforming food and agriculture to achieve the SDGs: 20 interconnected actions to guide decision-makers publications/transforming-food-agriculture-toachieve-sdg/en/

Johannes le Coutre is Professor of Food & Health in the School of Chemical Engineering at UNSW, Sydney. f

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AIFST 2022 Summer School Words by Annelise Sarikas

At the beginning of each year, AIFST holds its annual two-day Summer School. The 2022 Summer School was held as a virtual event on February 9 and 10 and brought together a wide range of AIFST student members. The theme for this year’s event was Food Scientists - inventing the future - collaboration and innovation. The aim was to inform students about the many disciplines in the food science, technology and agricultural industry and help prepare them to play a role in the many growth areas of Australia’s food manufacturing sector. The AIFST Summer School featured a range of speakers, with the sessions customised for student benefit. Over the two days there were seven sessions, each with speakers who exposed the students to the different roles and opportunities available in the food industry. The event concluded with a panel session which allowed the students to ask questions of any kind to the speakers. This encouraged student participation and sparked great conversations between the students and speakers. The Summer School also featured scheduled networking events at the end of the first day and the morning of the second day. These networking opportunities gave students a chance

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to build connections with both their peers and the industry members present at the Summer School. Day one was launched with a session on the agri-food industry of the future. This session featured presentations on trends, safety and nutrition, with a highlight being Emma Beckett’s engaging talk on nutrition of the future. The theme for session two was new technologies and explored developments in cellular agriculture, fermentation, plant-based foods and food waste, all of which captivated the students due to their prevalence in today’s society. Following this was a session on sustainability – future food which focussed on the topics of food security, sustainable packaging trends and humanitarian food science and technology. The final session for day one was the most popular session of the day: careers in the food industry and how to get started. Students were given an abundance of advice from Emma and Cherwin from Evolve Scientific Recruitment on both applying for jobs and the different career pathways in the food industry. Next, Sharon Natoli shared some brilliant tips on ‘selling yourself’ and believing in yourself, and the final speaker was Jarethan Mullen who spoke about his own experiences navigating the food industry. Day one ended with virtual networking which was a lovely way to finish the first day of Summer School.

Day two began with a virtual breakfast followed by session five on Innovation for the future. This session featured presentations on ingredients, brewing and edible insects. Session six was the Summer School panel session where we heard first-hand from a group of speakers at different points in their career about their experiences and stories. This session was also a highlight for both the students and panellists, as there was great engagement in a very open conversation. The theme of the final session was collaboration for the future and featured talks on food safety, food production, clustering as well as a case study from v2food. The AIFST Summer School for 2022 was a huge success and we are very grateful to everyone who came along and participated over the two days. AIFST would also like to say ‘thank you’ to our event sponsors: University of Southern Queensland, ADM, Charles River and Evolve Scientific Recruitment. Annelise Sarikas is a fourth and final year student at the University of New South Wales studying a Bachelor of Food Science and Technology. She has worked part time for AIFST since January 2020. Over the past two years, Annelise has been responsible for coordinating and running the AIFST Mentoring Program together with administering the AIFST Consultants Register. f


AIFST22: Food Science – creating the future through collaboration and innovation Words by Fiona Fleming The theme for AIFST22, Food Science – creating the future through collaboration and innovation, speaks to the exciting opportunities ahead for the food industry and the important role of food science and technology. AIFST22 will be held as a face-to-face event, on August 23 and 24 in Melbourne featuring a full technical program and exhibition. Over two days with plenary and three concurrent session streams, the convention will feature more than 50

scientific and food industry speakers from across the agri-food sector. Food safety will feature strongly, alongside advances in health and nutrition, sensory and consumer science, food security and resilience, sustainability, and packaging. Innovation and collaboration will be a constant theme. We are looking forward to a return to a more traditional convention format, with the great networking opportunities offered by a face-

to-face event. Our popular social events make a return – the Wine and Cheese Tasting, Young Professionals Networking breakfast and AIFST Fellows breakfast will all be held at AIFST22. We will also recognise excellence in the food industry at our Annual Awards ceremony. Please join us in August for this long-anticipated event to grow, learn and connect.

AIFST would like to thank our 2022 Convention Partners Gold Partner

Silver Partner

Bronze Partners

Wine & Cheese Event Partner

AIFST22 – JOIN US IN MELBOURNE IN AUGUST TO GROW, LEARN AND CONNECT Exhibition and Full Technical Program Visit our website for more information about AIFST22

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Using predictive models to ensure safety of traditional cheese Words by Dipon Sarkar


ith an increasingly globalised world, our food systems have also become globalised and diversified with previously local products now made available in different markets around the world, through local production or international trade. This can be illustrated very well with the case of cheese, as the smallscale artisanal or local cheeses from different parts of the world are now available worldwide. Paneer is an example of one such cheese that originated from the Indian sub-continent but is now locally manufactured and available in many countries around the world, including Australia. Paneer is a fresh, soft cheese that is produced by the curdling of milk with acidifying agents such as citric acid, vinegar, or lime juice. It is unripened, non-melting and can be consumed as a ready-to-eat product or commonly cooked as an ingredient in curries.1 Soft and fresh cheeses are prone

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to contamination from foodborne pathogens for several reasons such as use of raw milk, high moisture content and relatively high pH. Similar to other soft cheeses, paneer has a pH range of 5.5 to 6.0, moisture content of 50-70% and 0.5% titratable acidity with low organic acid levels - all characteristics that readily support the survival and growth of pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica. This is evidenced by food recalls in Australia, Canada and the USA due to L. monocytogenes contamination and the limited pathogen contamination reports from India. But, unlike other popular cheeses such as fetta, ricotta and minas cheese, the behaviour of these pathogens in paneer is not well established.2 If the behaviour of the pathogens in paneer can be quantified and modelled using predictive models,

then this information would assist in developing risk-based decision making and food safety management plans as per the Codex and food regulatory guidelines.3 Our research in the laboratory has revealed that pathogens such as L. monocytogenes and B. cereus can grow in paneer and produce toxins (relevant for B. cereus) over a wide range of temperatures including refrigeration temperatures. The growth of these pathogens has been monitored under different temperature conditions (0 to 45°C) to produce mathematical models that predict the growth rate of the pathogens as a function of temperature. These growth models can be used to generate deterministic estimates that can be incorporated into food safety management plans for paneer. For example, assuming a hypothetical scenario in which a fresh batch of paneer is contaminated with an initial load of 1 CFU/g (colony forming unit/ gram) of L. monocytogenes and then

stored at 4°C or 7°C, mild abuse temperatures common for domestic refrigeration, or 22°C, close to room temperature. The Food Standards Australia and New Zealand regulations state that L. monocytogenes should not exceed 2 log10 CFU/g at the time of consumption. The time required for the pathogen levels to reach 2 log10 CFU/g in paneer under the hypothetical scenario would be 126.2 h (~5 days) for 4°C, 60.93 h (~2 days) for 7°C and 14.25 h for 22°C.4 Alternatively, these models can also be used to develop probabilistic risk assessment models to provide risk estimates for pathogen infection following paneer consumption under different production, distribution and consumption scenarios, and to identify critical control points via sensitivity analysis. Preliminary results from our research with L. monocytogenes models indicate a relatively low risk of listeriosis from consumption of uncooked paneer, which can be affected by initial contamination, prevalence levels and home storage conditions, indicating the importance of good manufacturing and storage practices. Thus, these predictive microbiology tools can be used by food companies and regulatory bodies around the world to ensure microbiological safety of paneer.

3. FAO/WHO, 2007. Working principles for risk analysis for food safety for application by governments. URL 4. Sarkar, D., Ratkowsky, D. A., Wang, B., Bowman, J. P., & Tamplin, M. L. (2021). Modelling viability of Listeria monocytogenes in paneer. Food Microbiology, 97, 103738.

Dipon Sarkar is a PhD candidate at the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, University of Tasmania. His research focuses on the development and use of predictive tools and risk analysis to ensure the microbial safety of cheese. He is also a passionate science communicator involved in various community science outreach events and programs. f

References 1. Khan, S. U., & Pal, M. A. (2011). Paneer production: A review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 48(6), 645–660. 2 Ramos, G. L. P. A., Nascimento, J. S., Margalho, L. P., Duarte, M. C. K. H., Esmerino, E. A., Freitas, M. Q., Cruz, A. G., & Sant’Ana, A. S. (2021). Quantitative microbiological risk assessment in dairy products: Concepts and applications. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 111, 610–616. https://

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The postbiotic concept: ‘secrets’ to manufacturing functional food Words by Ashish Shrestha, Dr Tristrom Winsley, Nistha Kashyap and Dr Joe Liu


ostbiotics are functional bioactive compounds that have been shown to promote health. Derived from probiotics, they include deactivated cells plus a complex mixture of components such as proteins, lipids, vitamins, organic acids and cell fragments released in the matrix after fermentation.1,2 Many of the health benefits from probiotics and prebiotics (food for the probiotics) rely on the microbial cells, their fragments, and various beneficial metabolites they produce. These insights contributed to a reappreciation of food fermentation and gave rise to the concept of postbiotics.3 Along with general improvement in overall health, there are many studies which demonstrate the direct immunomodulatory effects of postbiotics on the host including relieving symptoms for a range of diseases such as infant colic, atopic dermatitis and diarrhoea in adults.3 In addition to boosting immunity, postbiotics have many beneficial health properties: they contribute to the repair of leaky-gut, help control cholesterol levels, provide antioxidants and have antimicrobial properties to keep pathogens at bay.4 The direct interaction between the host and microbial products mediates the various underlying beneficial effects of postbiotics. Some possible mechanisms of postbiotics in the immune system modulation are highlighted in Figure 1.

Health benefits Numerous studies have reported the intervention of postbiotics in early life (newborns, infants and toddlers) and adulthood. According to a study from Liévin-Le Moal,5 postbiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus was able to reduce the diarrhoea in children and lower their gut infection.5 Another study proved that Lactobacillus

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paracasei postbiotics supplemented in jelly boosted immunity, thereby reducing the incidence of common colds in adults.6 There are also studies where postbiotics added to fruit juice potentiated immunity in adult populations.7 These studies showcase the potential of postbiotics for improving immunity and their flexibility to be incorporated in various forms of food. A recent clinical study addresses the concerns of consumption of postbiotics over a prolonged period or at a high dosage.8 According to the study, heat-killed (HK) L-137 postbiotics impart beneficial effects on the intestinal tract without giving rise to any immune related safety issues. The HK-L137 postbiotics have been associated with improving immunity by decreasing the incidence of upper respiratory tract infection in healthy adults9 and reducing inflammation, while improving lipid metabolism to maintain overall health.10

To explore the potential of postbiotics in supporting immunity, a study was conducted by the Mucosal Immunology Research Group at Griffith University. When a probiotic blend was tested against a postbiotic blend, the postbiotics showed better immune responses in certain disease models. In the study, postbiotics stimulated the release of anti-inflammatory markers to reduce inflammation (data not published).

Industrial applications and interests The benefits associated with the use of postbiotics are numerous. Being deactivated, they provide improved shelf life which makes them easy to pack and transport.3 Postbiotics address the challenges of safe administration to immunecompromised individuals, severely ill children, and also provide a functional active which supports the native gut bacteria.11 Importantly, postbiotics

Figure 1. Potential mechanisms and benefits of postbiotics in the immune system modulation.4

Figure 2. A diagrammatic representation of the functions of postbiotic molecules.12 overcome the technical challenge of keeping the beneficial microbes alive and stable in food/supplement products at high dosage without concerns of stability and viability under normal shelf temperatures. In general, postbiotics are effective at lower concentrations than probiotics because the beneficial components making the postbiotics are immediately available for use by the body. So, when used at lower concentrations, they present low toxicity concerns and safe dosage parameters. Additionally, shelf-life concerns are alleviated as some postbiotics such as HK L137 can be stored up to five years at ambient temperature as dietary supplements.3 Postbiotics can safely be included in applications with high (>5%) water activity and quantity with no decrease in their performance. Postbiotic forms such as lysate, which consists of ruptured probiotic cells, are used as the main active component in various cosmetic application products. Metabolic compounds released by probiotics are also classified as postbiotic and form the base of many microbiome-focussed products. With changing trends over recent

years, postbiotics have not only been implemented as functional food supplements for human consumption, but also in delivering beneficial health outcomes for pets and their microbiome. Being a deactivated component, postbiotics are resilient to conditions such as heat and pressure during product manufacturing. Food manufacturers working with postbiotics can have normal cleaning and sanitisation routines without the unwanted microbial contamination common with other spore forming or viable microbes.

Postbiotics in food products HK-L137 postbiotics are now being included in many forms of food such as bread, coffee additive, citrus drinks, curry sauces and even desserts. Due to the heat stable features, various postbiotics blends are available fused into coffee pods for automatic coffee machines or simply added to instant coffee powder for everyone to enjoy their brew with the benefits of postbiotics. All these applications in various types of food demonstrate that

postbiotics remain stable and active when subjected to high temperatures such as in baking and coffee, as well as in low pH citrus drink and cold desserts.

Conclusion While probiotics have a specific set of applications, postbiotics have a whole host of health benefits that negate the need for specific storage and handling conditions to confer these benefits. With so many beneficial health promoting qualities, postbiotics are an innovative way of incorporating probiotic health benefits into functional foods without the concerns of harsh processing and storage conditions. From the study at Griffith University, we were able to conclude that although both probiotics and postbiotics are deemed beneficial to gut health, their varying mechanisms may provide different advantageous outcomes. Postbiotics are more suitable where immune health benefits are desired and when processing and storage conditions are challenges in production. To achieve specific

food australia 15

HEALTH & NUTRITION functionality, we may use postbiotics along with probiotics in a blend to deliver cumulative health benefits. Together, they make for a more potent and beneficial functional food. Figure 2 shows how postbiotics add health promoting features to the benefits provided by prebiotics and probiotics.

References 1. Tsilingiri, K., et al. (2012). Probiotic and postbiotic activity in health and disease: comparison on a novel polarised ex-vivo organ culture model. Gut, 61(7), 1007-1015. gutjnl-2011-300971 2. Zendeboodi, F., et al. (2020). Probiotic: conceptualization from a new approach. Current Opinion In Food Science, 32, 103-123. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.cofs.2020.03.009 3. Wegh et al. (2019). Postbiotics and Their Potential Applications in Early Life Nutrition and Beyond. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 20(19), 4673. ijms20194673 4. Yesilyurt, N., Yılmaz, B., Agagündüz, D., & Capasso, R. (2021). Involvement of Probiotics and Postbiotics in the Immune System Modulation. Biologics, 1(2), 89-110. biologics1020006 5. Liévin-Le Moal, V., Sarrazin-Davila, L., & Servin, A. (2007). An Experimental Study and a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial to Evaluate the Antisecretory Activity of Lactobacillus acidophilus Strain LB Against Nonrotavirus Diarrhea. Pediatrics, 120(4), e795-e803.

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6. Maruyama, M., et al. (2015). The effects of nonviable Lactobacilluson immune function in the elderly: a randomised, double-blind, placebocontrolled study. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 67(1), 67-73. https://doi. org/10.3109/09637486.2015.1126564 7. Shimono, T., Hoshino, T., & Takara, T. (2019). Effects of an oral nutritional supplement drink containing Lactobacillus paracasei MCC1849 on improving the immune system of elderly people-a randomized open-label trial. Japanese Pharmacology And Therapeutics, 47(1), 97-113. Retrieved 21 February 2022, from. 8. Nakai, H., et al. (2021). Safety and efficacy of using heat-killed Lactobacillus plantarum L-137: High-dose and long-term use effects on immune-related safety and intestinal bacterial flora. Journal of Immunotoxicology, 18(1),127-135. 9. Hirose, Y., Yamamoto, Y., Yoshikai, Y., & Murosaki, S. (2013). Oral intake of heat-killedLactobacillus plantarumL-137 decreases the incidence of upper respiratory tract infection in healthy subjects with high levels of psychological stress. Journal Of Nutritional Science, 2. jns.2013.35 10. Tanaka, Y., et al. (2019). Daily intake of heatkilled Lactobacillus plantarum L-137 improves inflammation and lipid metabolism in overweight healthy adults: a randomized-controlled trial. European Journal Of Nutrition, 59(6), 2641-2649. 11. Thomas, D., & Greer, F. (2010). Probiotics and Prebiotics in Pediatrics. Pediatrics, 126(6), 12171231. 12. Nataraj, B., Ali, S., Behare, P., & Yadav, H. (2020). Postbiotics-parabiotics: the new horizons in microbial biotherapy and functional foods. Microbial Cell Factories, 19(1). https://doi. org/10.1186/s12934-020-01426-w

Ashish Shrestha is a Research Project Officer involved in R&D projects for API optimisation, bioprocess operations, and new product development involving probiotics. Email: ashish@probioticsaustralia. Dr Joe Liu, is General Manager, focussing on novel strain discovery, probiotic functionality studies, and optimisation of probiotic API manufacturing technologies. Email: Dr Tristrom Winsley is the Laboratory Manager involved with probiotic functionality studies, and optimisation of probiotic API manufacturing technologies. Email: tristrom@ Nistha Kashyap is a Researcher involved in R&D projects and analytical testing of API. Email: They all work at Probiotics Australia Pty Ltd. https://www. f

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NATA – delivering safety and confidence in Australian food Words by Neil Shepherd

Celebrating 75 years In 2022, the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) celebrates its 75th year of operation. NATA is Australia’s leading, internationally recognised accreditation authority with a clear mandate to uphold the national standards of technical competence for those delivering a wide range of products and services to Australians every day. With more than 3,000 accredited organisations across Australia - and growing in both number and industry type - NATA’s role of ‘testing the testers’ is fundamental to the safety of all Australians. From the food we eat, the water we drink and the cars we drive to even the air we breathe, Australians rely on NATA - even if they have never heard of the organisation. The accreditation work NATA does in markets both here and overseas provides assurance and confidence to users regarding the high quality and safety of their members’ goods, materials and services. In the food space, NATA accredits

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testing facilities that undertake chemical and microbiological analysis of virtually all types of food. In addition to food safety and nutrition, NATA also accredits for the detection of contaminants and biosecurity hazards associated with food – both for import and export purposes.

The quiet achiever in food safety It is no surprise food safety is high on NATA’s accreditation agenda. As NATA celebrates its 75th year of operation, it is timely to highlight how NATA has been Australia’s hidden safety net - through its accredited laboratories – for what we eat every day. Some key areas of NATA accreditation in food include: • Allergen testing • Biological safety testing on food • Safety testing of imported foods • Ensuring packaging does not taint food • Monitoring chemical residues in grazing paddocks and feedstock • Nutritional content of food

• Biosecurity testing for the protection of our domestic crops and livestock

Early food testing NATA commenced accreditation for the biological testing of foods in the 1950s. Testing at that time was primarily for the purpose of compliance with regulations, public health investigations and compliance with production specifications. These were certainly important considerations, but more was needed. Since that time, NATA’s expertise in food accreditation has grown at an exponential rate. Expectations from consumers and an increasingly complex regulatory environment saw the breadth of accredited activities expand dramatically.

Allergen testing As an example, in the early years of the 21st century, NATA granted accreditation to laboratories for the detection of allergenic proteins in foods. Significant input from NATA’s

subject matter experts (SMEs) was needed to develop fit-for- purpose accreditation criteria in this area that accurately reflected the complexity of this testing. While NATA accreditation criteria continues to develop and lead the way in this area, their work with member laboratories continues to evolve. NATA has since accredited many facilities for a range of allergens in food products and food product contact surfaces, and actively participates in the activities of food allergen special interest groups. This ensures accreditation criteria in this area is clearly understood and meets stakeholder expectations.

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Extending food accreditation services More recently, NATA has been active in complex technologies for food testing. For example, PCR, MALDITOF, ICP and LC-MS/MS are now more common terms on NATA Scopes of Accreditation. This extended food testing gives NATA’s accredited members greater accuracy for results in low test level environments and rapid results from faster turnaround times. High on the food safety agenda, and another key area for NATA accreditation, is the National Pesticide Residues Program, leveraging the established network of accredited chemical residue testing facilities. Recent advances in DNA technology have allowed for the detection of exotic pests and diseases which pose a serious and ongoing threat to Australia’s agricultural sector and the food industry dependent on it. Through NATA accreditation, eDNA testing will allow detection of pest diseases in real time before embarkation and allow widespread pest and disease surveillance within Australia’s borders.

Introducing the Haier Biomedical range of spark free, explosion proof certified laboratory refrigerators.

Other tangible benefits NATA accredited food testing activities also support Australia’s multi-billion-dollar import/export markets. For example, NATA offers accreditation for microbiological testing of meat for export to the US and Europe. For our member laboratories, and ultimately Australian families, NATA-endorsed evidence for test results within the report delivers confidence the tests have been undertaken to the highest standards and by competent staff using sound science/engineering as verified by NATA’s peer assessment processes. NATA encourages prospective food testing laboratories to seek accreditation so they can provide arguably the world’s best testing to their food clients. This in turn ensures their clients are providing food products of the highest quality giving them a clear market advantage and, importantly, confidence and safety for the Australians that consume them. For additional information on NATA’s involvement in food accreditation – visit

For more information visit our website.

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food australia 19


Opportunities for linseed in Australian food products Words by Dr Dai Suter


inseed, also known as common flax in North America, is a flowering plant Linum (Thread) usitatissimum (most useful) and an ancient grain. It is cultivated as both a food and fibre crop in regions of the world with temperate climates. Cloth made from linseed is known in Western countries as linen. There is evidence of humans using linseed as a textile as far back as 30,000 years ago and it was extensively cultivated in ancient Egypt. The crop spread into Europe about 5,000 years ago. Linseed is one of the most important industrial oilseed crops, with the seeds occurring in two basic colours brown or yellow (golden).

Figure 1. Brown and golden linseed. It is grown for the oil extracted from the seed and fibre from the stem. As well as being used in foods, the oil has been used in the manufacture of paints, varnishes,

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inks, oxidising oils (as in the oiling of cricket bats) and the production of linoleum. The ‘cake’ after oil removal is a good feed for cattle. Brown linseed is widely used as a nutritive and functional ingredient in food products. The oil contains alpha linoleic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid, in higher content than any other oilseed. It also contains a very high content of lignans. In most countries today, linseed is cultivated mainly for its seed which is popular in a wide range of foods including bakery, breakfast cereals, LSA, pancakes, snack bars, pasta, rice dishes, casseroles, stir fries, salads, supplements and linseed milk. Linseed has a pleasant, mild and nutty flavour. It is a stable product as a whole seed, requiring minimal storage protection conditions for processing once harvested. World production of linseed is approximately three million tonnes per annum, with Canada being the largest producer followed by Kazakhstan, China and Russia. Australia produces approximately 10,000 tons per annum, but typically imports a further 2,000 tonnes to satisfy the domestic market. Linseed is mainly grown in medium to high rainfall areas in New South Wales and Victoria (Figure 2). In Australia, linseed is extremely

Figure 2: Paddock of Australian linseed with kangaroos. important for farmers in the rotation of crops presenting options for soil, disease and pest management. It delivers competitive gross margins to canola, field peas and chickpeas and is only held back by a lack of markets in the local food industry. Linseed seeds are contained in a fruit capsule (Figure 3). This provides excellent protection from weather damage as well as chemical and microbial contamination.

Figure 3: Linseed plant capsules.

Figure 4: Urinary phytoestrogen excretion.3 Plant breeder’s rights protection has recently been granted to Austgrains Pty Ltd for two new varieties (McCubbin and Streeton), specifically bred and selected in Victoria for autumn sowing. These new varieties have a 15% yield advantage and contain more oil and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in the seed than current varieties.

Nutritional and health benefits of dietary linseed The Flax Council of Canada has promoted significant nutritional and health research over many years. Linseed is widely used as a nutritional and functional food in the Western world due to its high contents of therapeutic health promoting substances such as ALA, soluble and insoluble fibre and lignans, ‘the sleeping giant of nutrition’.1 In 2014, linseed was approved by Health Canada for a health claim to help reduce blood cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease. Under this approval, each food serving must contain at least 13g of ground whole flaxseed. In Australia, George Weston Foods Ltd developed and launched Burgen® SoyLin® in 1996 following clinical research at Monash University. It was considered one of the first fully

functional foods in Australia. Its launch and huge consumer appeal initiated wider use of linseed, usually together with soy, across a range of breads, breakfast cereals, snack bars and other foods. Clinical trials with Burgen® SoyLin® demonstrated the potential for reduced symptoms of the menopause.2 It also assists in the control of type 2 diabetes, maintaining gastrointestinal regularity and reducing the risk of arrhythmias and coronary heart disease. Ground versus whole seed There has been an extensive debate as to whether linseed should be ground to enhance the bioavailability of its contents. Processing, including dehusking, crushing, milling and defatting may increase bioavailability of individual components such as lignans and ALA. However, ground linseed is easily oxidised (goes rancid) and so it is inherently unstable and must be kept refrigerated. It does not provide the same visual appearance in bakery and other food products as whole seed. Research in Australia has shown that whole linseed is capable of being digested and releasing its important nutrients. Significant amounts of urinary lignan metabolites (enterodiol and enterolactone)3 were recovered

in trials carried out at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne with 52 post-menopausal women who consumed bread containing whole linseed (see Figure 4). In addition, significant absorption of ALA with conversion to longer chain omega-3 fatty acids was found in the plasma phospholipid fatty acids profile from the women eating bread containing whole linseeds. Linseeds have a tough edible coating that prevents development of rancidity. Because of this coating, it is commonly misinterpreted that the coating is indigestible by the human body and as a result passes through whole, taking all its nutrients. However, this is not the case. Once in the colon, many of the linseeds cling to the walls for up to seven days where they are broken down through hydration and the action of colonic bacteria, releasing nutrients to be absorbed into the blood stream.4

Alpha-linolenic acid ALA has physiological functions in its own right, as demonstrated later in this paper. The recommended daily intake is 1.1g for women and 1.6g for men. It is partially converted to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in humans (8 to 20%) while conversion rates of ALA to docosahexaenoic

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acid (DHA) are estimated to be 0.5 - 4% in men. In women, the rates of conversion to DHA are thought to be as high as 9%. It is hypothesised that demands for DHA by the foetus during pregnancy may stimulate women’s physiology to more readily synthesise DHA. This is further affected by the ratio of linoleic acid (omega-6) to alpha linolenic acid (omega-3) in the diet. This is due to competition between linoleic acid and alpha linolenic acid at the delta 6 desaturase enzyme.5 As an example, 30g of linseed containing around 8g ALA at 5% conversion will produce approximately 400mg of long chain fish omega-3 fatty acids. This would satisfy the suggested daily requirement of 250-500mg for these long chain omega-3 fats.

Lignans Lignans are polyphenols found in plants. Linseed is the richest dietary source of lignan precursors. When consumed, lignan precursors (pinoresinol, lariciresenol, secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG) and matairesinol) may be converted to the enterolignans, enterolactone and enterodiol, by bacteria in the human intestine. These enterolignans can mimic some of the effects of oestrogens and are called phytoestrogens. Linseed is the principal source of dietary phytoestrogens in a typical Western diet. Many clinical studies demonstrate that SDG interferes with the development of diseases and disorders such as cardiovascular, diabetic, lupus nephritis, bone, kidney, atherosclerosis, hemopoietic, liver necrosis and urinary disorders. SDG has also been shown to be beneficial in menopause, reproduction, mental stress and immunity. This is due to its multiple biological properties including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimutagenic, antimicrobial, antiobesity, antihypolipidemic and neuroprotective effects. Moreover, SDG has a defending mediator role against various cancers by modulating multiple cell signalling pathways.6

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Dietary linseed and cardiovascular disease Dietary linseed displays powerful protective cardiovascular effects in humans exhibiting symptoms of cardiovascular disease. One example is the decrease of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD).7,8 In a double-blind placebocontrolled randomised trial, 58 PAD patients fed 30g of milled linseed daily for six months exhibited an average decrease in central systolic and diastolic blood pressures of 10 and 7mm Hg respectively, compared to 52 placebo-treated PAD patients. This hypotensive effect was shown as early as one month after commencing the linseed in the diet and was maintained for up to one year. The decrease was sufficient to predict a 50% decrease in the instance of myocardial infarction and stroke. In these PAD patients, blood pressures were correlated with circulating ALA concentrations. The authors suggest the decrease in blood pressure may be associated with a significant change in lipid metabolism such that the generation of oxylipins with less vasodilatory and more proinflammatory action was blocked.

Dietary linseed and management of diabetes mellitus Dietary supplementation with 10g of linseed powder per day for a period of one month reduced fasting blood glucose by 19.7% as well as glycated haemoglobin by 15.6% in type 2 diabetics. It also reduced total cholesterol by 14.3%, triglycerides by 17.5%, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 21.8% in the apolipoprotein B and increased high-density lipoprotein by 11.9%. These clinical observations suggest the therapeutic potential of linseed in the complementary management of diabetes mellitus.9

Dietary linseed and cancers Human clinical trials with 25g of dietary linseed a day have shown protective effects against breast cancer. A systematic review of 10

human trials led to the conclusion that linseed reduced tumour growth in women with breast cancer. The study also found linseed-associated protection against primary breast cancer as well as reduced risk of mortality in women living with breast cancer.7,10,11 There is additional clinical evidence that supports the protective effect of enterolactone formed by bacteria in the gut from lignans on cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, gut and lung7 as a selective oestrogen receptor activator. Cancers of the prostate, lung, colon, ovary, endometrium and cervix were also inhibited by linseed.

Dietary linseed and skin health A 12 week, randomised, double-blind study of women with sensitive skin reported a positive improvement in skin properties with ingestion of linseed oil. Improvements were noted in skin sensitivity, trans-peptic dermal water loss, skin roughness and scaling with an increase in skin hydration and smoothness.12 Elevated pro-inflammatory oxylipins and ALA were identified as the main bioactive compounds responsible for these effects on skin and ageing. Dietary supplementation with linseed corrected the balance of pro-and anti-inflammatory oxylipins and thus exerted a healthy effect on ageing.13

Dietary linseed and gastro-intestinal health Recent randomised trials have demonstrated the potential of dietary linseed for the relief of constipation in type 2 diabetics, probably due to the high fibre content. Constipated patients receiving 10g of milled linseed powder in cookies twice a day for 12 weeks showed reduced constipation symptoms, weight, fasting blood glucose, triglycerides as well as LDL and HDL cholesterol concentrations. In a further similar trial, linseed caused greater reduction in constipation symptoms when compared with psyllium. The compliance in the trials was good and no adverse effects were






Energy kJ












Carbohydrate %






food products 2. Linseed has important and proven effects to reverse or prevent disease states as a functional food 3. Functional foods such as linseed are cost-effective ways to improve community health.

References Total Dietary Fibre %






Total Fat %






Alpha Linolenic Acid %

23 – 27



Monounsaturated fatty acids %




Linoleic Acid %




Saturated Fatty Acids %




W-9 Fatty Acids %

<1 0.5


21 0.8



Table 1. A comparison of key nutritional components in linseed compared with hemp, chia, quinoa and sesame.16













Sunflower seed


Pumpkin seed


Poppy seed






Table 2. Typical commercial prices of commonly used ingredients in Australian food products.17

observed.14 These results demonstrate the potential for dietary linseed to replace or reduce the use of anticonstipation medication in different populations, especially the aged,

the ill and those in aged care homes.15 The research indicates that linseed has clinically proven health benefits. While hemp, chia, quinoa and sesame seeds have many interesting nutritional attributes (Table 1), currently there is a lack of, or minimal, clinically proven health benefits for these alternative ingredients. Linseed is one of several commonly used ingredients in Australian food products including chia, quinoa, sesame, hemp seed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, poppyseed, amaranth and buckwheat. It is clear from Table 2 that linseed grown in Australia is significantly cheaper than the other products listed. When coupled with the fact that linseed demonstrates a myriad of proven nutritional and health benefits, there is a great opportunity for the Australian food industry to include greater quantities of linseed in existing products and across a wider range of foods.

Conclusion 1. A ustralia grows high quality linseed at a very competitive price that could be included in many common

1. 2. Jorgensen, K. et al. (1998). Burgen Soy-Lin: development of an innovative functional staple food food australia. 50(6) June, 297-299 3. F. S. Dalais, et al. (1998). Effects of dietary phytoestrogens in postmenopausal women Climacteric; 1:124-129. (reprinted by permission of Taylor and Francis Ltd, http://www. 4. Dr. Rosemary Stanton personal communication 5. A.H.Stark, M.A.Crawford,R.Reifen, (2008). Update on alpha-linolenic acid, Nutrition Reviews, Vol 66(6):326-332 6. Imran, M.; et al. (2015). Potential protective properties of flax lignan secoisolariciresinol diglucoside. Nutr. 14, 71. 7. Mihir Parikh, Thane G. Parikh et al. (2019). Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health. Nutrients,11(5), 1171, https://doi. org/10.3390/nu11051171 8. Rodriguez-Leyva, D.; et al. (2013). Potent anti-hypertensive action of dietary flaxseed in hypertensive patients. Hypertension, 62, 1081–1089. 9. Mani, U.V. et al.; (2011). An open-label study on the effect of flax seed powder (Linum usitatissimum) supplementation in the management of diabetes mellitus. J. Diet. Suppl. 8, 257–265. 10. Mason, J.K.; Thompson, L.U. (2014). Flaxseed and its lignan and oil components: Can they play a role in reducing the risk of and improving the treatment of breast cancer? Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 39, 663–678. 11. Flower, G.; et al. (2014). Flax and Breast Cancer: A systematic review. Integr. Cancer Ther. 13,181–192. 12. Neukam, K.; et al. (2011). Supplementation of flaxseed oil diminishes skin sensitivity and improves skin barrier function and condition. Skin Pharmacol. Physiol. 24, 67–74. 13. Caligiuri, S.P.B.; et al. (2014). Elevated levels of pro-inflammatory oxylipins in older subjects are normalized by flaxseed consumption. Exp. Gerontol. 59, 51–57. 14. Soltanian, N.; Janghorbani, M. (2018).A randomized trial of the effects of flaxseed to manage constipation, weight, glycemia, and lipids in constipated patients with type 2 diabetes. Nutr. Metab. 15, 36. 15. Soltanian, N.; Janghorbani, M. (2019). Effect of flaxseed or psyllium vs. placebo on management of constipation,weight, glycemia, and lipids: A randomized trial in constipated patients with type 2 diabetes. Clin. Nutr. ESPEN 29, 41–48. 16. 17. AB Mauri, Sydney Australia,2021

Dr Dai Suter, PhD, MAIFST is an independent consultant with more than 40 years experience in the cereals and bakery industry, with a special interest in nutrition and health benefits from foods. Assistance in writing this article was provided by Professor Lindsay Brown, Di Miskelly, Tas Wescott and Warren Hannam. f

food australia 23


Consumer value claims: how ‘sustainable’ is your food? Words by Shareen Dhillon and Lauren D’Ambrosio


hether it’s ‘ecofriendly’ packaging or ‘fair trade’ chocolate, many food businesses are turning to environmental, ethical and sustainability focused claims to differentiate their products and stand out from the crowd, especially as consumers become more conscious about aligning the food they buy with their personal values and ethics. However, businesses should be aware of the risks associated with making such claims. Some common types of personal values and ethics claims include: • Religious practice (e.g. halal, kosher) • Environmental concerns (e.g. carbon footprint labelling, carbon neutral) • Animal welfare concerns (e.g. RSPCA approved, dolphin friendly) • Human rights issues (e.g. fair trade) The Food Standards Code (the Code) does not include labelling requirements for these kinds of claims because the standards in the Code are largely aimed towards protecting public health and safety. However,

24 food australia

under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), businesses have an obligation not to engage in any conduct that is likely to mislead or deceive consumers. The conduct only needs to be likely to mislead or deceive and it does not matter whether the conduct actually misled anyone, or whether the business intended to mislead consumers. In addition, the ACL prohibits a variety of false or misleading representations about specific aspects of goods and services. In particular, goods must be of the quality and comply with any description that is provided in advertising or labelling (for example, biodegradable or compostable claims) and businesses must not represent that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, performance characteristics or benefits they do not have (for example, a trademark certification such as RSPCA approved). In addition to other enforcement action such as injunctions, corrective notices and enforceable undertakings, the financial penalties for a breach of the ACL are among some of the

toughest in the world. The maximum civil penalty for corporations is the greater of: (a) $10 million (b) three times the value of the benefit received (c) If no benefit is ascertainable, 10% of the annual turnover in the preceding 12 months. The Australian Association of National Advertisers Environmental Claims Code (ECC) also applies to environmental claims specifically, which are made when an advertiser states or implies that any part of a product or service has a benefit to the environment, or no negative effect on the environment, or no or only limited effect on the environment if used or delivered in a particular way. The ECC requires the truthful, factual presentation of claims, that the claims be supported by a genuine benefit to the environment, and they are substantiated. Some environmental claims have been given the ‘green tick’ by regulators, if used correctly. In 2020, the Federal Court dismissed an appeal by the Australian Competition and

Consumer Commission (ACCC) - the regulator responsible for enforcing the ACL - in relation to environmental claims made by Woolworths about its ‘W Select eco’ picnic products. The ACCC’s claim was that representations made by Woolworths about its range of disposable plates, bowls and cutlery, which were labelled “biodegradable” and “compostable”, were false and misleading. The ACCC argued that Woolworths represented to consumers that the picnic products would biodegrade and compost within a reasonable period of time when disposed of in a domestic compost bin or conventional landfill site and that this was misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive, including as to the quality, performance characteristics, uses or benefits, nature, characteristics or suitability of the products. However, the Full Federal Court as well as the trial judge found that the words “biodegradable” and “compostable” referred to an inherent characteristic of the picnic products, i.e. the capability of the product to biodegrade or compost, which was demonstrably true and therefore, not misleading. The Court also found no reason to imply a representation as to the time within which the products will biodegrade or compost. This case demonstrates how regulators are actively pursuing businesses making claims in this space. ACCC Chair Rod Sims stated that the ACCC “appealed this case because [the ACCC] believe that businesses should be able to

support claims they make about their products, especially when consumers are likely to pay more for the product because of the claims made. Consumers may select products based on the claims made by the seller or manufacturer, and should be able to rely on environmental claims made by businesses about their products”. Businesses must be careful not to fall into the trap of ‘greenwashing’ – a trend where the overall messaging a company uses is one of the product being environmentally friendly without there being any real or tangible benefit for the environment. This technique has been heavily critiqued as companies create the appearance of being sustainable and environmentally conscious for the benefit of stakeholders, while still maintaining their previously harmful business practices or reducing their negative impacts on the environment. In June 2021, environmental organisation Earth Island Institute took legal action against The CocaCola Company in the Washington DC District Court alleging false and deceptive marketing practices in representing itself as a sustainable and environmentally friendly company. This included making claims in their advertising and marketing material that “our planet matters” and “investing in sustainable packaging platforms to reduce [their] carbon footprint”. Earth Island Institute alleged that The Coca-Cola Company is the largest plastic polluter in the world, according to a report from the Changing Markets Foundation released in September 2020. A recent example of consumer action against a consumer values claim in the environmental space was over a claim that the The Fishery branded rainbow trout sold by Coles was “wild caught”. In April 2021, a consumer posted a tweet to Coles fact-checking this statement, on the basis that there are no commercial licences granted for wild-caught trout in Australia, and therefore all commercial trout in Australia must be farmed. In response, Coles temporarily

removed the trout products from sale and followed up with the supplier, but the negative publicity from the social media post and media articles associated with this incident remains available online. There is some flexibility when making claims that are clear puffery on the basis that most reasonable consumers are aware that some vague or generalised exaggeration occurs in advertising. For example, a 2019 Ad Standards Board Community Panel decision considered that “save the planet” and “planet saved” claims by SodaStream Australia in relation to using its beverage products rather than disposable plastic bottles was a form of puffery. This was because consumers would not consider this to be a statement that an individual would actually save the planet by using the product. However, businesses should still exercise caution when making such claims, as you may be in breach of the law if consumers could be misled by your statements. Businesses wanting to stay on the right side of the law when making consumer value claims about their products should look for the following ‘watch-outs’: • Be careful that the overall impression you create about the goods or services you sell is not misleading, as it is not enough for each representation to be technically or narrowly correct • Ensure claims are clearly and accurately explained and are honest and truthful • Detail the specific part of the product or process the claim is referring to • Use language the average member of the public can understand • Ensure the claim can be substantiated Scott Bouvier, Lauren D’Ambrosio and Shareen Dhillon lead King & Wood Mallesons’ food law practice and advise a range of high-profile food and consumer brands on food and advertising regulation, IP (Intellectual Property), technology, product recalls, therapeutic goods and commercial matters. f

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Safe food: the role of handwashing and hygiene Words by Deon Mahoney


trategies to minimise contamination of our food supply by microbial hazards focus primarily on controlling raw materials and inputs, decontamination procedures, the application of kill steps and packaging. While these interventions represent the main ways of reducing the risk of foodborne illness for consumers, the importance of hygienic food handling practices and worker health and hygiene are often neglected. Fortunately, the importance of effective handwashing has gained prominence with public health authorities in recent times, and no more so than during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is therefore timely to

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address worker hygiene practices and their role in advancing food safety.

Food handlers as sources of contamination Humans are acknowledged as carriers of a wide range of microorganisms, both on the skin, in the nasal passages and in their intestinal tract. Many of these organisms are commensals, with little or no impact on the host. However, students of food microbiology are well versed in the risks presented by human carriers of an array of pathogens including Staphylococcus aureus, enteric pathogens such as non-typhoidal Salmonella spp. and Shigella spp., Clostridium perfringens,

enteric viruses, and parasites which can be transmitted to food and infect consumers. In addition to facilitating the spread of gastroenteritis, poor hygiene can result in the spread of respiratory illnesses. While humans are capable of spreading a wide range of illnesses, there is only limited information available on the efficacy of handwashing to remove or eliminate pathogens.

The case of Typhoid Mary Mary Mallon was an Irish immigrant who was a chronic, asymptomatic carrier of Salmonella Typhi. Mallon lived in New York and worked as a cook and laundress for wealthy

families between 1906 and 1915. During that time, she was responsible for a series of outbreaks of typhoid fever infecting more than 50 people and causing three deaths. Concerns about the people infected with typhoid that followed in Mallon’s wake resulted in her being held in quarantine facilities in New York for much of her life.1 Mallon’s story and her moniker Typhoid Mary continue to be used today as shorthand for a human vector of a communicable disease. The extent to which foodborne pathogens are transmitted to food via handlers is not widely studied. Data on the transmission of illnesses from food handlers to restaurant patrons is relatively limited, and the view is that contemporary sanitation practices of food handlers probably helps prevent the spread of pathogens. But what is the likelihood of an infected food handler spreading pathogens to a food and causing an outbreak? It is believed that the adoption of good personal hygiene practices including thorough handwashing can prevent an infected worker from transferring illnesses such as typhoid fever and hepatitis A to consumers. Recently there have been a series of hepatitis A outbreaks linked to food service workers in restaurants in the United States. This has led to the American personal injury lawyer and food safety advocate, Bill Marler calling for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend all food handlers be vaccinated, because of the potential risk of spreading the virus to customers.2 Hepatitis A is the only vaccine preventable foodborne illness. Good hygienic practice requires food industry employees to absent themselves from work when unwell, particularly when they have gastroenteritis or skin infections. Unfortunately, not all people display symptoms of illness, yet they still shed infectious agents, potentially contaminating their hands, food, equipment and their surroundings. While the focus is on food handlers

in food businesses and the food service sector, there is also the issue of the way consumers handle food in the home and their food hygiene behaviours. This includes whether they wash their hands before and after handling raw foods such as meat, fish, poultry, produce and even eggs. Plus, there is the reality that home kitchens are normally not designed to hygienically handle food and minimise cross-contamination.

Studies of handwashing Todd and colleagues published an important series of articles concerning food workers and foodborne illness, with a focus on situations where workers were implicated in the spread of foodborne illness.3 In the series they considered outbreak investigation reports identifying the hands of food workers as the source of pathogens in specific outbreaks. They found that various activities result in workers hands quickly becoming contaminated, including touching raw materials and ingredients, the act of blowing the nose and using the toilet. The ninth article addressed the rationale for hand hygiene and the need for handwashing to remove as much soil as possible from the hands.4 Not surprisingly, their findings demonstrated that food safety is improved by regularly removing as much soil as possible from workers hands. Suitable hand hygiene is achieved by regularly washing hands with good quality water and soap. The temperature of the water is not as important as the efficiency of the washing technique. Handwashing should be vigorous, with attention to all hand surfaces, with a minimum 20 seconds lathering with soap. This effectively removes pathogenic organisms from workers’ hands and reduces the risk of contaminated food. The emphasis then needs to be on providing facilities that enable effective handwashing: access to potable water, soap to aid removal of microorganisms, and disposable paper towels or air dryers to completely dry the hands.

It is highly desirable to use potable or treated water for handwashing. Typically, water used for handwashing should meet the microbiological standard of <1 E. coli/100ml. This can be problematic in remote areas, with some food producers in regional Australia unable to access water of such quality. This is a particular concern for the fresh produce sector where workers in the field often have limited access to water of satisfactory quality. A recent study found handwashing with untreated, non-potable water, even if it contains low levels of indicator organisms, may provide a net reduction in faecal contamination on hands.5 This has been interpreted to suggest that any water is better than none, but this is a false assumption. Contaminated handwashing water poses a risk of recontaminating hands with pathogens, presenting a significant source of infection risk. This then leads to a discussion on the merits of using hand sanitisers where water quality may compromise the efficacy of handwashing in removing contamination. A 2020 study found hand washing with soap and water or a two-step alcohol-based hand sanitiser (ABHS) intervention performed similarly at reducing bacteria on farmworker hands.6 The two-step ABHS procedure involves applying excess sanitiser to hands, its removal with paper towels, followed by a second application of sanitiser. The study also found the type of produce handled influences the ability of handwashing with soap and water or ABHS to reduce soil and contamination. This suggests the type of food or crop may need to be considered when developing hand hygiene interventions. An earlier study found washing with soap, regular use of an ABHS, and a two-step ABHS intervention were all effective at reducing the concentrations of viable microbes on hands.7 Importantly, the sanitiserbased interventions were found to be effective hand hygiene solutions even on soiled hands.

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In food production settings where the only water available in the field is irrigation water or surface water, the use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers is an effective adjunct to handwashing.

Hand sanitisers Not all hand sanitisers are equal – avoid using general consumer hand sanitisers as they are not suitable for personnel working in the food industry. The Therapeutic Goods Administration provides guidance on requirements for hand sanitisers: look for formulations that contain a minimum of 60% ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, with no colours or fragrances. The World Health Organization recommends that hand sanitiser formula must contain 80% ethanol or 75% isopropyl alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are fast acting, rapidly and effectively inactivating a wide range of potentially harmful microorganisms on hands, but they are more effective if the hands are not visibly dirty or greasy.

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Food producers and processors are increasingly expected to reduce food safety risks and implement systems that minimise incidents impacting the health of consumers as far as possible. Enhancing food safety does not involve seismic shifts in the way we produce, manufacture and prepare food. Instead, it encompasses small incremental improvements in general hygiene, starting with trained staff who consistently and diligently stick to hygienic procedures, including regular handwashing. Effective handwashing is an essential life skill, protecting against an array of foodborne and respiratory illnesses. It assists in the removal of most transient contaminants and resident microorganisms from a food worker’s hands and exemplifies a basic strategy for supporting food safety across the entire food supply chain. Efficiency is facilitated by the simple physical action of washing, the use of soaps, drying the hands and the use of follow-on hand sanitisers.

1. Barr et al. (2021) The dangers of “Us versus them”: Epidemics then and now. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 36, (3): 795–796. 2. Marler, W. (2022) Platform: Message to Public Health – It is time, past time, to change views on hepatitis A vaccines for food handlers. Food Safety News 3. Todd et al. (2008). Outbreaks where food workers have been implicated in the spread of foodborne disease. Part 5. sources of contamination and pathogen excretion from infected persons. Journal of Food Protection, 71(12), 2582–2595. https://meridian.allenpress. com/jfp/article/71/12/2582/173013/OutbreaksWhere-Food-Workers-Have-Been-Implicated 4. Todd et al. (2010) Outbreaks where food workers have been implicated in the spread of foodborne disease. Part 9. Washing and drying of hands to reduce microbial contamination. Journal of Food Protection, 73 (10): 1937–1955. https://meridian. Outbreaks-Where-Food-Workers-Have-BeenImplicated 5. Verbyla et al. (2019) Safely managed hygiene: A risk-based assessment of handwashing water quality. Environmental Science and Technology, 53, 2852-2861 6. Prince-Guerraa et al. (2020) Both handwashing and an alcohol-based hand sanitizer intervention reduce soil and microbial contamination on farmworker hands during harvest, but produce type matters. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 86, (18), 6:e00780-20 7. Fabiszewski de Aceituno et al. (2015) Ability of hand hygiene interventions using alcohol-based hand sanitizers and soap to reduce microbial load on farmworker hands soiled during harvest. Journal of Food Protection, 78, (11) 2024-2032

Deon Mahoney is Head of Food Safety at the International Fresh Produce Association. f

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Developing systemic innovation projects in the agri-food industry Words by Dr Val Natanelov

impactful and effective innovation projects involves the interlinking of different components and processes into a larger synergistic innovation system. Thus, innovation projects targeting complex problems require the creation of systemic innovation capacity.3 This can be extrapolated as the continuous identification and prioritisation of opportunities and constraints while incorporating new and existing knowledge, resources and capabilities.3 Systemic innovation capacity requires a robust and resilient project design incorporating shock-absorbing capacity from external socio-economic, technical and policy environments.

Mission-oriented challenge-led innovation Agri-food innovation systems The agri-food industry is increasingly experiencing complex and multifaceted problems ranging from field level up to regional, state, national and global value chains. Pressing issues such as sustainable land and natural capital management, when left unchecked, can lead to land degradation and other negative externalities such as more erratic and less predictable weather effects from climate change1 and the increased need for building rural resilience in the increasingly uncertain and fastchanging context of technology and economics.2 There is growing consensus that tackling these multifaceted challenges requires an inclusive and systemic approach throughout the value chain.3 In addition to the general policy instruments used to support the agri-food industry, specific innovation policy measures exist, such as financing innovation projects where research is conducted and translated into the industry. This leads to the development of new technologies and processes. The Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (FFW CRC) is one example of such an initiative. The Cooperative Research Centres (CRC)

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Program is a framework established in 1990 by the Australian Government that funds industry-led collaborations between industry, researchers and end-users.4 To achieve truly effective impacts, innovation projects need to be integrated into a broader ecosystem. The above-mentioned challenges require more than the development and diffusion of new technologies and processes. The coordinated effort of different teams and departments combined with supply chain actors can induce further value creation for the industry.5 Network and systemic approaches to agri-food innovation are known as agricultural innovation systems (AIS) or Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS).6 AIS offers a conceptual framework for innovation as a coevolutionary process of technology development, processes, markets and policy integrating a multitude of stakeholders throughout the value chain and beyond such as growers, processors, distributors, food manufacturers, governments and research organisations. Traditionally, innovation projects focus on research and extension capabilities. The next step in developing

Klerkx and Rose argue that a mission-oriented approach in agri-food innovation is required to move towards sustainable and integrated agri-food systems.7 This implies the requirement of targeting ‘grand challenges’ such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Mission orientation in innovation is gaining popularity and has inspired concepts such as challenge-led innovation.8 In contrast to having a singular focus on a specific technology and process, challenge-led innovation often targets a concrete problem or challenge in a cross-disciplinary fashion. The aim is to achieve large impacts through synergy.9 By way of example, the FFW CRC can be considered a mission-oriented organisation. It aims to address six of the seventeen SDGs - in particular, SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns - Target 3: By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses. Additionally, the FFW CRC aims to contribute to SDGs 2, 9, 11, 13 and 15. Within that context, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF) aims to tackle

the challenge of food waste in Queensland. A systemic approach is adopted to create synergistic value for the industry. Figure 1 illustrates the integration of multiple teams within the Agri-Food and Data Sciences group of QDAF: • Food innovation and Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIR) • Data sciences • Processing technology • Chemical analysis • New product development • Consumer and sensory Such a systemic approach yields a multitude of benefits and highlights the importance of several key factors for project participants (Figure 2): 1. Available capabilities that are needed at different project levels 2. How to strategically engage capabilities at different levels 3. Consider the availability of capabilities that need to be configured for the right mix of innovation. In a nutshell, project stakeholders should aim to balance the utilisation of existing permutations of innovation capabilities and the adaptive and absorptive capabilities which in turn lead to growth and expansion of the teams. This further allows for new permutations of capabilities and resources in the function of contextual changes and new needs. Here project stakeholders can draw on new relationships and stakeholders from the newly established partnerships, as illustrated in Figure 2. This results in strategic flexibility in terms of how new and existing stakeholders can collaborate in an innovation framework. The proverbial ‘lubrication’ of such an innovation framework entails transformative capacity at different levels. In other words, the system requires the ability to fill capability voids to create the most optimal permutation of capabilities. This is especially important in the circular economy, bioeconomy and smart farming where the transformative objectives are inherent in the system.

Figure 1: Tackling food waste through mission-oriented challenge led innovation with the FFW CRC and QDAF.

Figure 2: Value creation through systemic development of innovation projects.

References 1.






Lyle, G., 2015. Understanding the nested, multiscale, spatial and hierarchical nature of future climate change adaptation decision making in agricultural regions: a narrative literature review. J. Rural Stud. 37, 38–49. Nuthall, P.L., Old, K.M., 2017. Will future land based food and fibre production be infamily or corporate hands? An analysis of farm land ownership and governance considering farmer characteristics as choice drivers. The New Zealand case. Land Use Policy 63, 98–110. Schut, M., van Paassen, A., Leeuwis, C., Klerkx, L., 2014. Towards dynamic research configurations: a framework for reflection on the contribution of research to policy and innovation processes. Sci. Publ. Policy 41, 207–218. Turpin, T., Woolley, R., & Garrett-Jones, S. (2011). Cross-sector research collaboration in Australia: the Cooperative Research Centres Program at the crossroads. Science and Public Policy, 38(2), 87-97. Läpple, D., Renwick, A., Cullinan, J., Thorne, F., 2016. What drives innovation in the agricultural sector? A spatial analysis of knowledge spillovers. Land Use Policy 56, 238–250. Knierim, A., Boenning, K., Caggiano, M., Cristóvão, A., Dirimanova, V., Koehnen, T.,Labarthe, P., Prager, K., 2015. The AKIS concept and its relevance in selected EUmember states. Outlook Agric. 44, 29–36.

7. Klerkx, L., Rose, D., 2020. Dealing with the game-changing technologies of agriculture 4.0: how do we manage diversity and responsibility in food system transition path- ways? Global. Food Security 24, 100347. 8. Mazzucato, M., Kattel, R., Ryan-Collins, J., 2020. Challenge-driven innovation policy: towards a new policy toolkit. J. Ind. Compet. Trade 20, 421–437. 9. Wittmann, F., Hufnagl, M., Lindner, R., Roth, F., Edler, J., 2020. Developing a typology for mission-oriented innovation policies. In: Fraunhofer ISI Discussion Papers -Innovation Systems and Policy Analysis, No. 64. Fraunhofer ISI Karlsruhe. Wittmayer, J.M., Schäpke, N., 2014. Action, research and participation: roles of researchers in sustainability transitions. Sustain. Sci. 9, 483–496.

Dr Val Natanelov is the Queensland Innovation Manager with Fight Food Waste (FFW) CRC supporting projects with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF). He is the Director of Nexible Solutions Pty Ltd, with over a decade of experience working on the nexus of the agri-food industry, technology and economics. f

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Turbulence-induced emulsion gels in food product development Words by Drs Wu Li, Martin Palmer, Gregory Martin and Muthupandian Ashokkumar Emulsion gels Emulsions – mixtures of two or more immiscible liquids – have a wide range of applications in food products, varying in texture from free-flowing liquids to semisolid gels, with diverse rheological characteristics. Examples of emulsion gels include yoghurt, butter, cheese, non-dairy spreads, chocolate and numerous other confectionery products. The ability to manipulate emulsion gels with specific structures and textures is important for both physical functionality (heat stability, spreadability, mouthfeel, etc.) and nutritional properties (e.g. nutrient delivery).1, 2

Conventional gelling technologies Under conventional mixing conditions, emulsion gel characteristics are commonly manipulated by two types of formulation lever. The first involves adjustment of the dispersed phase volume fraction to achieve optimum dispersed phase continuity and / or inter-droplet bridging, matched to the characteristics of the emulsion components. At low dispersed phase fraction levels, typical gel textures rely on gelation of the continuous phase, amongst which dispersed phase droplets are embedded.3 By contrast, in high-internal phase emulsions (when the dispersed phase fraction is 0.7 v/v or higher) the close packing of emulsion droplets can be used to promote the formation of gel-like textures.4-9 The second is through

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incorporation of food additives, such as thickeners, stabilisers or gelling agents. These are commonly used to promote and reinforce gel formation in foods, such as low-fat dairy products, where this is no longer possible by simple manipulation of emulsion phase volume fractions.10 However, although additives such as pectin, carrageenan, gelatin and plant gums can provide excellent technical solutions, their use adds cost to the formulation. They also add complexity at a time when there is increasing consumer demand for simpler, ‘clean label’ products.11

Turbulence-induced emulsion gels In research conducted recently within the ARC Dairy Innovation Hub, we have investigated the potential for a novel strategy to overcome some of the limitations of these conventional approaches, through the application of high-shear processing to form turbulence-induced emulsion gels (TIEG).12 While the role of turbulent flows in producing liquid emulsions has long been understood, the same aspect has been largely overlooked in terms of its effect on emulsion texturisation. Compared to other conventional gelling approaches, the most distinctive difference with the TIEG process is the rapidity of gel formation, triggered by high-intensity turbulent flows and the ability to form a wide range of textures - from free-flowing liquids to highly viscous gels - through tuning the intensity and duration of the treatment.12

Based on studies of a wide range of emulsion systems, some apparently universal TIEG formation criteria were discovered. It was found that the requirement for TIEG formation is not system-specific (neither aqueous stabilisers nor water-immiscible liquids) but rather can be generalised according to the following criteria: • A colloidal particle (CP) aqueous suspension as the stabiliser with a distinctive size range (D4,3> 0.1 μm). For example, turbid protein suspensions are generally suitable for TIEG formation, whereas a clear protein solution consisting of smallsized albumins or globulins is not • A particular oil fraction window between 0.4-0.6 v/v. Unlike conventional high-internal phase emulsions, which typically require an oil fraction higher than 0.7 v/v, TIEGs can typically be formed between 0.4-0.6 v/v • A high-intensity turbulent emulsification method as the physical trigger. The intensity of turbulence should be considered based on the microscale of the turbulent field, not simply increasing bulk energy input level. We found that both power ultrasound and high-pressure homogenisation are capable of providing a similar level of highintensity turbulence for TIEG formation, which is two orders of magnitudes higher than rotor-stator mixing.12 Leveraging the different advantages of these two technologies, ultrasonic devices can be extremely useful for early R&D proposes such as

Figure 1. Schematic of TIEG formation criteria and its potential advantages for food systems.

unknown candidate exploration, parameters examination and kinetic investigation, whereas high-pressure homogenisation offers easier scalability, with high and consistent throughput for commercial process development work. We further revealed the mechanism of TIEG formation, which is based on a unique and universal dualcomponent (CPs and CP-stabilised droplets) close packing model with two critical stabilisation processes, namely, inter-droplet bridging and CP void filling.12 The size of CP and the high-intensity turbulence are the key factors to establish interdroplet bridging and CP void filling, and hence are responsible for the macroscopic transition in rheological properties. These insights represent a major new development in the ability to manipulate and control emulsions at a fundamental level (Figure 1).

Potential food applications Our research so far has identified TIEG formation using more than 10 types of natural biopolymers in combination with a range of

commonly used edible fats and oils in model food systems. Some of these studies may well have commercial relevance. For example, mayonnaise is a typical type of high internal phase food emulsion gel, commonly stabilised by lecithin and requiring a fat content of 0.8 v/v or higher. Using an alternative TIEG approach, it appears possible to produce an equivalent, stable product at a lower oil content, formulated using solely natural food ingredients and food oils, without the need for stabilising additives. We also found that TIEGs are relatively stable to further agitation procedures, such as blending in dry or liquid seasonings, thereby opening windows for further flavor and textural tunability. Commercial low-fat spreads provide another example. These commonly have an oil content around 0.65 v/v (i.e. 60g/100g), with most products requiring additional stabilising and thickening agents. Using the TIEG platform, we formulated spreadable butter analogs using either canola oil or butterfat at a lower oil fraction (0.5 v/v) and

compared their melting behaviors and microstructures with a commercial low-fat spreadable butter product (Figure 2). Microscopically, the canola oil analog exhibited a well-ordered, close packing pattern with the smallest oil droplet size of the three systems (Figure 2A). By contrast, the gel-like consistency of the commercial product relied on the presence of large particles of solidified fat in the continuous phase (Figure 2C). The microstructure of the butter analog was similar to that of the canola product, but with a larger droplet size (Figure 2B). Both TIEG analogs were relatively stable on heating, as evident from both bulk appearance and microstructure (Figure 2). On the other hand, the commercial product underwent a major phase separation on heating, once the melting point of the butterfat had been reached (Figure 2). In this case, microstructural analysis indicated that the superior heat stability of the TIEG products was likely due to a combination of enhanced inter-droplet bridging as well as CP void-filling.

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60oC 20s


Figure 2. Confocal micrographs of TIEG-based spreadable butter analogs (A and D, skim milk powder and canola oil; B and E, skim milk powder and butterfat) and commercial low-fat butter spread (C and F) before (A-C) and after heating at 60˚C for 20s. Fluorescent dyes were applied to visualise the emulsion microstructure of proteins in aqueous phase (stained yellow) and the oil phase (stained magenta). The bulk appearance of the samples is shown in the middle row (TIEG-Ca and TIEG-BF stand for canola oil and butterfat analogs, respectively). Scale bars: 50 um. l

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The discovery of turbulence-induced emulsion gels and characterisation of the droplet-bridging and voidfilling mechanisms associated with them has opened up a new field of emulsion science, which may have implications for a wide range of industrial processes. Initial research indicates some potentially interesting applications in novel, clean-label food systems, although we are still at a very early stage-gate in industrial process development.

1. Barbut, S., Importance of fat emulsification and protein matrix characteristics in meat batter stability. Journal of Muscle Foods 1995, 6 (2), 161-177. 2. Barrantes, E.; Tamime, A.; Sword, A.; Muir, D.; Kalab, M., The manufacture of set-type natural yoghurt containing different oils—2: Rheological properties and microstructure. International Dairy Journal 1996, 6 (8-9), 827837. 3. Dickinson, E., A model of a concentrated dispersion exhibiting bridging flocculation and depletion flocculation. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 1989, 132 (1), 274-278. 4. Cameron, N. R., High internal phase emulsion templating as a route to well-defined porous polymers. Polymer 2005, 46 (5), 1439-1449. 5. Jiao, B.; Shi, A.; Wang, Q.; Binks, B. P., HighInternal-Phase Pickering Emulsions Stabilized Solely by Peanut-Protein-Isolate Microgel Particles with Multiple Potential Applications. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2018, 57 (30), 9274-9278. 6. Tan, H.; Sun, G.; Lin, W.; Mu, C.; Ngai, T., Gelatin particle-stabilized high internal phase emulsions as nutraceutical containers. ACS applied materials & interfaces 2014, 6 (16), 13977-13984. 7. Huang, X.-N.; Zhou, F.-Z.; Yang, T.; Yin, S.-W.; Tang, C.-H.; Yang, X.-Q., Fabrication and characterization of Pickering High Internal Phase Emulsions (HIPEs) stabilized by chitosan-caseinophosphopeptides nanocomplexes as oral delivery vehicles. Food Hydrocolloids 2019, 93, 34-45.

Acknowledgements We acknowledge research funding provided by a Melbourne Research Scholarship, the Albert Shimmins Research Continuity Funding, and the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Research Program.

8. Xu, Y.-T. Liu, T.-X.; Tang, C.-H., Novel pickering high internal phase emulsion gels stabilized solely by soy ß-conglycinin. Food Hydrocolloids 2019, 88, 21-30. 9. Xu, Y.-T.; Tang, C.-H.; Binks, B. P., High internal phase emulsions stabilized solely by a globular protein glycated to form soft particles. Food Hydrocolloids 2020, 98, 105254. 10. Imeson, A., Food stabilisers, thickeners and gelling agents. Wiley Online Library: 2010. 11. Asioli, D.; Aschemann-Witzel, J.; Caputo, V.; Vecchio, R.; Annunziata, A.; Næs, T.; Varela, P., Making sense of the “clean label” trends: A review of consumer food choice behavior and discussion of industry implications. Food Research International 2017, 99, 58-71. 12. Li, W.; Martin, G. J.; Ashokkumar, M., Turbulence-induced formation of emulsion gels. Ultrasonics Sonochemistry 2021, 105847.

Dr Wu Li, Dr Martin Palmer and Professor Muthupandian Ashokkumar are with the School of Chemistry, and Associate Professor Greg Martin is with the Department of Chemical Engineering, at the University of Melbourne. f

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FOOD FILES Dr Russell Keast, Agnes Mukurumbira and Dr Gie Liem

Descriptive analysis versus consumer acceptance Descriptive analysis has been the gold standard method for describing the perceived flavour of products. The basic premise is a group (n=616) of people with highly tuned sensory systems and the ability to express what they experience are trained for up to 120 hours to eventually provide an objective perceptual flavour map of a food product. The data derived from descriptive analysis can be used to compare products within a category, it can identify changes in flavour when an ingredient/process changes, and it can be combined with consumer acceptance data to identify the drivers of liking for products. The one downside of descriptive analysis is the cost and there have been many attempts to find alternate methods that are quicker and less expensive to yield similar data.

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New research out of South Korea compared the ability of a trained panel descriptive analysis, combined with consumer acceptance data and free comment data, to see which explained drivers of liking for a complex food. A similar study design was used to compare the volatile composition and sensory characteristics of different products made with orange-blossom honey, rosemaryblossom honey or sugar alone (control). Both the trained descriptive analysis panel and consumers found more intense honey flavour than smell and classified the products in the following order: orange-blossom > rosemary-blossom > control. In this study only the trained panel was able to correctly identify which products were made with which type of honey indicating the trained panel provided more detailed quality data. In the Korean study, to assess

the two approaches, tomato sauces with different levels of garlic were prepared and evaluated for flavour profile by a trained descriptive analysis panel (n=8) and a consumer panel (n=84). The authors found the descriptive analysis data did not correlate well with the consumer data, and therefore could not clearly identify the driver of liking. They found that consumer free choice words on the reason why they liked or disliked the samples did correlate with drivers of liking and differentiated well between the samples. There does appear to be a logic in the results, which is also a flaw - the same consumers who are rating liking are also stating why they like or dislike the sample. So you would expect there to be correlations and the ability to differentiate. It is too simplistic to say consumer free choice works better than descriptive analysis to identify the driver of liking.

Park S, Lee S et al. (2022) ‘Consumers better explained drivers of liking for products containing complex flavor with subtle differences than trained panelists: Comparison between consumer-driven free comment analysis and descriptive analysis of tomato sauce with added garlic flavorings.’ Journal of Sensory Studies.

The new food environment The environment in which food choices are made has a significant impact on the type of food choices we make and the foods we consume. Our food environment is increasingly dominated by the digital food environment in which physical (located) food choices (e.g. in supermarkets and restaurants) are partly replaced by online food choices through websites and mobile apps. A new environment in which social media, food blogs, online recipes and YouTube act as a vehicle for food advertisements, social norm setting and health information. A recent publication in Obesity Reviews identified 312 peer reviewed papers about the digital food environment. Most of these papers concern content analyses and only 11% of the published papers report an experimental study. This suggests that research into the digital food environment is relatively new, with a strong growth in publications since 2015. Most of the published papers are focussed on food and nutrition, followed by marketing, business and economics. Interestingly, the digitisation of our food environment can be seen at every level of our food choices, from in-restaurant digital menus to online food ordering and food related online games. So far, the published studies show that the digital food environment impacts food accessibility, convenience, affordability,food desires, choice and consumption. The digital and physical food environments are inter-connected and form a strong marriage, with many children to take care of in the near future. Granheim, SI, Løvhaug, AL, Terragni, L, Torheim, LE, Thurston, M. (2022) ‘Mapping the digital food environment: A systematic scoping review.’ Obesity Reviews; 23( 1):e13356. obr.13356

Active packaging for controlling food microbes The last few decades have witnessed an evolution in the role of food packing, from traditional functions of containment to now encompassing specialised functions such as moisture absorbance and ensuring microbiological safety. This shift has led to the birth of innovative and highly functional packaging such as active packaging. This study describes active packaging as a “specialised type of packaging that has the ability to interact with the food product through absorbing and/or releasing compounds into or from the food product or the environment surrounding the food product.” Sustainable, antimicrobial active packaging holds promise in easing the burden of food spoilage and pathogenic microbes and improving food safety and security by extending product shelf-life. When producing antimicrobial active packaging, synthetic or ‘natural’ compounds can be assimilated into the packaging films as antimicrobial additives. Natural antimicrobials such as essential oils are increasingly gaining popularity due to the rise in ‘green consumerism’ and the emergence of antimicrobial resistance to some conventional synthetic antimicrobials. The volatility of essential oils also enables them to exert antimicrobial activity by diffusing from the packaging into the headspace without direct food contact. Many essential oils are powerful antimicrobials and have GRAS status making them permissible to use in food-related applications. Although direct incorporation of pure essential oils in films is a feasible option, their encapsulation prior to assimilation in films is advantageous on many fronts. Pure essential oils are highly aromatic, volatile and biologically unstable. Encapsulation may counteract some of these limitations. In a recent study published in LWT, Sun and colleagues used

an emulsification technique to encapsulate lavender essential oils. The encapsulated oils were then directly incorporated in a gelatinbased film-forming solution and cast to produce films. The antimicrobial efficacy of the films was tested in vitro against three common food pathogens, namely Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes. The films were used to package cherry tomatoes and their antimicrobial efficacy was tested for seven days. The antimicrobial release properties of the films were determined considering they are a significant index of evaluating the long-term antimicrobial activity of the films. Using ethanol as a food simulant, the films were found to have sustained-release properties and strong in vitro antimicrobial activity against all three pathogens. The activity was concentrationdependent with higher essential oil concentrations in the films resulting in a higher inhibitory effect. In comparison to control films (containing no oil), there was an overall decline in the total viable counts of the pathogens throughout the seven day storage period, particularly for the films containing higher concentrations of the essential oil. The findings of this study suggest that sustainable antimicrobial active packaging may be a revolutionary solution to reduce microbial proliferation and deterioration of packaged foods. However, considering essential oils are highly odoriferous, it is vital to conduct sensory studies to determine consumer acceptability. Sun, Xinyu, et al. (2021) ‘Development of functional gelatin-based composite films incorporating oil-in-water lavender essential oil nano-emulsions: Effects on physicochemical properties and cherry tomatoes preservation.’ LWT 142: 110987. lwt.2021.110987

Dr Russell Keast is Professor, Dr Gie Liem is Associate Professor and Agnes Mukurumbira is a PhD candidate at the CASS Food Research Centre at Deakin University. f

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Tea and sleep: a focus on active ingredients Words by Amanda Bulman and Drs Nathan M D’Cunha and Nenad Naumovski


leep disturbances, inadequate amounts of sleep and poor sleep quality have become a global issue since the novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2), began to spread throughout the human population in early 2020. After being declared a pandemic, anxiety and stress levels have increased in all corners of the globe. As the pandemic continued into 2021, numerous studies reported an increase in disturbances in sleeping patterns directly related to COVID-19 in surveys of healthy people and individuals with mental health disorders. The studies used self-reported psychological and sleep surveys which indicated increased prevalence of anxiety, depression and insomnia when compared to pre-COVID-19.1 Several factors including anxiety, depression, and stress are associated with the quality of sleep

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and the cyclic effects of insomnia.2 Furthermore, inadequate sleep and disturbed sleeping patterns are also associated with seven of the top 15 leading causes of death such as accidents, cardiovascular disease (CVD), cerebrovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and hypertension.1,2 This consequently impacts the economy through loss of productivity, staff absences and workplace injuries, and is a major contributor to motor vehicle accidents.3 A recent global sleep survey reports that approximately 45% of participants were not satisfied with their sleep.4 Sleep can be impacted by numerous factors including clinical sleep disorders (obstructive sleep apnoea, restless leg syndrome), lifestyle factors including jet lag, shift work, poor diet, lack of exercise, blue light exposure (television and phone use, especially in the evening), surrounding noise and environmental

temperature. Over the past two years, despite how resilient the population and individuals have been, many people have felt the effects of work, financial and relationship stressors brought on by a 24/7 society, in addition to living through the pandemic that has compounded these stressors through job losses, job insecurity, fear of getting sick and restrictions.

The function of sleep Sleep is not just a passive state of unconsciousness. Research has revealed that a variety of active physiological processes occur during sleep including cellular growth and repair, immune function, memory consolidation and metabolism. Sleep consists of four stages - three stages of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep where the depth of sleep increases, and one stage of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in which dreaming occurs (Figure 1).5

traditional medicine for insomnia. Some of the more common teas include chamomile, ashwagandha, valerian root, passionflower and lemon balm. In many cases, the evidence to support their use is anecdotal and scientific evidence for their effectiveness is lacking. With increased consumer interest, more studies are being conducted to determine the effectiveness of these plants, their extracts and some functional foods on sleep quality.

Tea varieties and their sleep promoting compounds

Figure 1 – The sleep cycle (adapted from ref. 7) These four stages are cycled through four to six times throughout the night and are regulated by neural pathways involving several wake-promoting or sleeppromoting neurotransmitters in the brain. One of the most important sleep promoting pathways is the ‘GABAergic system’ which involves the synthesis of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and levels of this neurotransmitter can impact our ability to relax and deal with stress and are associated with greater levels of sleep disturbances.6

Sleep aids Pharmaceutical sleep aids (sleeping pills) are commonly sought due to their quick action. They work by targeting the main neural pathways involved in the sleep-wake cycle, one being the GABAergic system. These drugs bind to specific receptors, predominantly the GABAA receptor (one of three GABA receptors that regulate the different aspects of the sleep-wake cycle), increasing the

transmission of GABA. However, they are only recommended for short term use and can cause side effects such as fatigue and dependency. Due to this, the last few decades have seen an increase in consumer interest in natural remedies for sleep due to their low side effects compared to some modern medications. These products contain several different bioactive compounds associated with improvements in sleep, lower inflammation and overall health benefits. These compounds include phenolic acids, flavones, flavonoids, terpenes and various amino acids that have a direct or indirect role in the GABAergic system.7 Tea is one of the most consumed beverages in the world after water and, in many cultures, it has been used for centuries for the treatment of various ailments including neurological conditions, inflammation, hypertension, dyslipidemia and insomnia.2,8 Different herb and plant varieties have been used for centuries in

The tea derived from the Camellia sinensis plant has been consumed for several millennia and its beneficial health effects are well established in historical literature. Tea is classified based on processing techniques and can be divided into seven types such as ‘green’ (unfermented), ‘yellow’, ‘white’ and ‘oolong’ (partially fermented), ‘black’ (completely fermented), ‘aged pu-erh’ (drastically fermented and aged) and ‘ripened pu-erh’ teas. This manufacturing process involves the oxidative polymerisation of monomeric flavan-3-ols by the enzyme polyphenol oxidase that can lead to the formation of bisflavanols and therabugins and some other oligomers. In contrast to the other teas, freshly harvested leaves for green tea are exposed to steam or hot air that inactivates enzyme polyphenol oxidase and provides tea with its characteristic colour and bioactive properties.9 Green tea consumption is popular in Asia and is renowned for its stress reducing properties. In countries outside of Asia, green tea consumption has only become popular in the last few decades, mainly due to its potential health benefits. These beneficial health effects are mainly associated with the catechins, in particular epigallocatechin (EGCG), and amino acids such as L-theanine, which is found in higher concentrations in green tea than all other tea varieties. Tea also contains caffeine, however, consumption of tea containing a reduced caffeine content has shown improvements in sleep quality in

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older adults. Reducing the caffeine content increases the concentration of L-theanine. This amino acid has been studied extensively and has a number of health benefits, in particular, it reduces stress and anxiety and improves cognition. A few studies have also shown it to be effective in improving sleep quality at concentrations between 200 – 900mg per day.2,8 One of the most popular herbal tea varieties is Chamomile (made from Chamomile flowers) which has been consumed for centuries for its relaxant and sleep promoting properties. It contains more than 120 bioactive constituents, but is particularly rich in the flavonoid, apigenin. Apigenin has been reported to cross the blood brain barrier where it has a direct effect on the sleep promoting neurotransmitter GABA by binding to the benzodiazepine binding site on the GABAA receptor. Studies examining the effectiveness

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of chamomile in improving sleep quality have presented mixed results. A two-week intervention of one cup per day chamomile tea reduced perceived physical symptoms related to sleep inefficiency in a group of postpartum women. Older adults supplementing with a 200mg chamomile extract capsule daily also reported improvements in sleep quality. However, people with chronic insomnia who supplemented with 270mg chamomile extract capsule twice per day did not report any improvements. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the regular consumption of tea preparations over prolonged periods of time, compared to the consumption of extracts high in ‘active’ ingredients, may not always yield similar results.2 Ashwagandha tea has been traditionally used in Ayruvedic medicine for neurological conditions due to its anxiolytic and sedative properties. The major bioactive

constituents in this plant are the steroidal lactones, withanolides and triethylene glycol. These compounds bind to both the GABAA and the GABAC receptor and are believed to be responsible for its effects. Clinical trials evaluating the effectiveness of Ashwagandha on sleep have used up to 600mg per day. It was shown to be effective in improving sleep quality in both healthy individuals and individuals living with insomnia and some other sleep disturbances.2,7,10 Valerian root tea is also known for its sedative effects, and it is commonly consumed in the general population. It contains three potential candidate compounds for improving sleep through modulation of the GABAA receptor. These include 6-methylapigenin, valerenic acid and valernol. Its application for improving sleep has also been reported using 300–600mg (capsules of valerian extract) however, the evidence is not conclusive, and findings are potentially attributable to the variable quality of the extracts.7 Passionflower tea, similarly to Chamomile tea, also contains apigenin, among other phytochemicals. Studies on the use of passionflower tea extracts have identified that apigenin and some other active compounds bind to both the GABAA and GABAB receptors. Consumption of passionflower tea for seven days was able to improve subjective sleep quality in a study of individuals with insomnia supplemented with 60mg passionflower extract nightly for two weeks. Overnight polysomnography, a comprehensive test used to diagnose sleep disorders, showed a significant improvement in total sleep time compared to the placebo group.11 Lemon balm tea (Melissa officinalis) is traditionally used to assist with low mood, anxiety and tension. It has also been shown to produce a calming and relaxing effect on the nervous system mainly due to rosmarinic acid. Rosmarinic acid is a polyphenol and a constituent in several culinary herbs and tea, exerting its effects by inhibiting GABA transaminase preventing the degradation of

GABA itself. Clinical studies using the extract of lemon balm have shown improvements in sleep quality, however these have been in combination with valerian extract.12

In summary and future directions The evidence for improving sleep for many of these tea varieties is promising, however, there is a lack of substantial clinical evidence to show their effectiveness. Additionally, it is important that future research investigates the individual compounds present in these plant varieties and their mechanism of action on the sleep wake cycle. Extraction and purification of these compounds could lead to a further understanding of their roles and possible combinations that could enhance the effects on sleep. Robust clinical trials in different populations are also required using standardised protocols that can be then translated to the development of natural sleep aids for use as supplements and functional beverages. Nevertheless, the composition of different teas based on their active ingredients may lead to increased

benefits for improving sleep quality and consequently, overall quality of life. Needless to say, excessive tea consumption, especially prior to going to bed, can pose some undesired issues such as frequent urination that can cause disruption and a reduction in the overall quality of sleep.

References 1. Li I-C, Chang F-C, Kuo C-C, Chu H-T, Li T-J, Chen C-C. Pilot Study: Nutritional and Preclinical Safety Investigation of Fermented HispidinEnriched Sanghuangporus sanghuang Mycelia: A Promising Functional Food Material to Improve Sleep. Frontiers in Nutrition. 2022;8. 2. Bulman A, D’Cunha NM, Marx W, McKune AJ, Jani R, Naumovski N. Nutraceuticals as Potential Targets for the Development of a Functional Beverage for Improving Sleep Quality. Beverages. 2021;7(2):33. 3. Czeisler CA, Wickwire EM, Barger LK, Dement WC, Gamble K, Hartenbaum N, et al. Sleepdeprived motor vehicle operators are unfit to drive: a multidisciplinary expert consensus statement on drowsy driving. Sleep Health. 2016;2(2):94-9. 4. Seeking Solutions: How COVID - 19 changed sleep around the world. Philips; 2021. 5. Carley DW, Farabi SS. Physiology of Sleep. Diabetes Spectr. 2016;29(1):5-9. 6. Hepsomali P, Groeger JA, Nishihira J, Scholey A. Effects of Oral Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Administration on Stress and Sleep in Humans: A Systematic Review. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2020;14(923). 7. Bruni O, Ferini-Strambi L, Giacomoni E, Pellegrino P. Herbal Remedies and Their Possible Effect on the GABAergic System and Sleep. Nutrients. 2021;13(2):530. 8. Williams JL, Everett JM, D’Cunha NM, Sergi D,

Georgousopoulou EN, Keegan RJ, et al. The Effects of Green Tea Amino Acid L-Theanine Consumption on the Ability to Manage Stress and Anxiety Levels: a Systematic Review. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2020;75(1):12-23. 9. Naumovski N, Foscolou A, D’Cunha NM, Tyrovolas S, Chrysohoou C, Sidossis LS, et al. The Association between Green and Black Tea Consumption on Successful Aging: A Combined Analysis of the ATTICA and MEDiterranean ISlands (MEDIS) Epidemiological Studies. Molecules. 2019;24(10):1862. 10. Cheah KL, Norhayati MN, Husniati Yaacob L, Abdul Rahman R. Effect of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2021;16(9):e0257843-e. 11. Lee J, Jung H-Y, Lee SI, Choi JH, Kim S-G. Effects of Passiflora incarnata Linnaeus on polysomnographic sleep parameters in subjects with insomnia disorder: a doubleblind randomized placebo-controlled study. International Clinical Psychopharmacology. 2020;35(1):29-35. ´ 12. Swiader K, Startek K, Wijaya CH. The therapeutic properties of Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.): Reviewing novel findings and medical indications. J Appl Bot Food Qual. 2019;92:327-35.

Ms Amanda Bulman is a PhD candidate in Food Science and Human Nutrition and Technical Officer, Dr Nenad Naumovski works as an Associate Professor in Food Science and Human Nutrition and Dr Nathan D’Cunha is an Assistant Professor in Human Nutrition. All work in the Discipline of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Canberra, ACT, Australia. f


Life Cycle Assessment can guide sustainable packaging design Words by Nerida Kelton


o optimise circular and sustainable design, packaging technologists need to look at the potential environmental impacts of the product across its lifetime. Environmental impact categories can include carbon/greenhouse gas emissions, water depletion, mineral consumption, land transformation, eutrophication, toxicity and many more, and can be undertaken through a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). This assessment can look holistically at environmental

impacts of products and associated packaging, from raw materials to production, through to household and then at end-of-life. Now, more than ever, sciencedriven information derived from LCA is such an important step in ensuring your product and packaging have the lowest environmental impact wherever possible across the entire value chain. When used in the packaging industry, LCA can provide accurate data to guide a business in the choice

of materials, pack shapes and sizes, but also when looking to move to a ‘more sustainable’ material or pack. The recyclability of the packaging, the ability to re-use and refill the packaging and meeting global and regional packaging targets must also be considered and can be checked as a design choice with LCA. Using LCA within this decisionmaking process ensures the business has all available datasets in front of them to make informed choices. LCA can eliminate second-guessing

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and assumptions about sustainable packaging choices and can provide concrete information that crosses all areas of the supply chain.

Start with a Life Cycle Map Before you undertake a LCA, establish a cross-departmental and cross-supply chain team to create a Life Cycle Map of your product and packaging. The Life Cycle Map needs to provide a clear and concise representation of the steps required to source and produce the product-packaging system and the distribution system, as well as its use, disposal and recovery. Determining inputs and outputs to life cycle stages on the map, such as energy, materials and emissions should then start to reveal blind spots and impact categories or priority areas to focus on. The map will also help identify areas of improvement, challenges and unexpected consequences of possible product or packaging choices.

Streamlined LCA or full LCA Once you have established your Life Cycle Map, the next step is to decide whether you would like to undertake a streamlined LCA or a full LCA on the product. To do this you need to define the goal and scope of the LCA. This includes the purpose of the study (i.e. internal improvement or public claims), the

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system boundaries, the inventory to be collected, the impact assessment to be applied and the interpretation method that will enable the business to arrive at conclusions and recommendations. Streamlined LCA is ideally suited when a business is looking to better understand the blind spots and any major areas of focus within the life cycle of a product, or to make internal decisions about something to change in the life cycle. Streamlined LCA can produce results quickly, are ideal for SME’s and are invaluable for meeting global and regional packaging targets. They are also a great way to determine if a full LCA is required. Full LCAs are comprehensive reports that meet international ISO 14040/14044 standards for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The data is permitted to be used for internal assessment purposes and within the public domain when undertaking either a standalone assessment or when comparing more than one product or packaging system. If publicly disseminating a study, the ISO standards suggest peer review, which is often conducted for companies going down this road by an external panel or party. An example of a full LCA is a comparative study called ‘Beverage and Food Packaging in Australia and New Zealand’ that was recently commissioned by Tetra Pak Oceania.1

Benefits of LCA There are so many benefits of embedding LCA into all areas of the business, including lowering environmental impacts, optimising packaging material choices, improving the sustainability of a product and its whole-of-life and improving your triple bottom line. LCA can also contribute to making more informed decisions when it comes to sustainability and carbon foot printing. These decisions are made easier when a packaging technologist embeds LCA into packaging design. When embarking on the use of LCA, it is important to note that the process is not a silver bullet. LCA should be seen as an investigative and comparative process that can identify areas of improvement within the whole-of-life of your product and packaging. LCA is quite simply an additional tool in the tool belt to ensure decisions are well-informed and science driven. As Dr Karli Verghese FAIP said in her book ‘Packaging for Sustainability’, “Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) can produce convincing evidence that intuition is no longer enough.” Nerida Kelton (MAIP) is Executive Director of the Australian Institute of Packaging and Vice President Sustainability & Save Food at the World Packaging Organisation (WPO). f



The identification of potential food safety hazards in seaweed Words by Clare Winkel


he consumption of seaweed has many health and nutritional benefits and Australia currently imports a significant amount of seaweed for human consumption. Between 2017-2018, seaweed imports were worth $40 million and 85% of that was for human consumption. Every year there are at least 36 recalls or import alerts worldwide for seaweed-based foods. In 2019, Australia instigated at least 50% of these recalls or rejections. There are currently only a small number of domestic harvesters, growers and processors producing and selling seaweed for human consumption, but given the food safety concerns with imported seaweed, how does the local product compare?

AgriFutures To assist this small industry, AgriFutures has funded Integrity Compliance Solutions (ICS) to undertake a project to identify potential food safety hazards and develop HACCP Plans (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) for two seaweed case studies. These documents will provide the basis of a readily adaptable program for seaweed processors and

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guidance for regulators in terms of minimising risks in the processing of seaweed for human consumption. The project is focused on two seaweed species: one grown and one wild harvested. The first case study is Phyco Health & Venus Shell Systems, run by Dr Pia Weinberg. This business grows sea lettuce in large ‘swimming pools’ which is then heat dried and processed. The second case study is Sea Health Products, run by Jo Lane. This business harvests kelp from the beach which it then sun dries and processes. The end-products from both businesses in the case studies are similar dried flaked products that can then be further processed into almost any type of processed foods including pasta, seasonings, chips, cheese, chocolate and coated snacks such as roasted nuts. To start the hazard identification process, a literature review was undertaken. One study by the European Union Rapid Alert System1 identified 22 food safety hazards in European seaweed - four were considered major, five moderate and thirteen minor. The four major hazards identified

were: arsenic, cadmium, iodine and Salmonella. Some of the minor hazards included pesticide residues, dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls, brominated flame retardants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pharmaceuticals, marine bio toxins, allergens, nano plastics, pathogenic bacteria and viruses. The pathogenic bacteria include Salmonella and viruses include norovirus and hepatitis B. These minor hazards are organisms or chemicals that are found within the European environment. Some are naturally occurring, such as marine biotoxins, and some are clearly a result of human activities such as nano plastics, pesticides, dioxins and flame retardants. There are safety concerns related to adverse events associated with seaweed consumption, particularly the variable and potentially dangerously high concentrations of iodine and heavy metals (including inorganic arsenic) in certain seaweeds.2,3 Only one publication by the University of Connecticut4 focused on seaweed sold to the consumer (including raw and chilled), whether in restaurants or as a processed product. The food safety hazards identified

Jo Lane collecting Golden Kelp (Ecklonia radiata) at dawn from case study 2. Photo taken by Honey Atkinson and supplied by Jo Lane.

were pathogens from the harvest area, which were potentially significant because the seaweed may be consumed as a raw product, without any additional processing kill step. Pathogens of concern include Vibrio, Salmonella, E.coli O157:H7, Shigella, Norovirus and Hepatitis. Environmental chemical contaminants were considered potentially significant as certain species of seaweeds exhibit a high affinity for accumulating heavy metals and other contaminants in their tissues. Natural toxins from the harvest area including outbreaks related to the consumption of several Gracilaria species. These toxins are often heatstable and even if seaweed is cooked before consumption, the toxin will remain in the final product. The spores of Clostridium botulinum, that form botulinum toxin, are naturally occurring in the marine and estuarine environment. It could be considered for seaweed products that are raw or blanched and then packaged in a modified/reduced atmosphere package (e.g. vacuum packed). Almost all papers reviewed were based on Northern hemisphere seaweed species and environments. In addition to the literature review, the project reviewed 20 years of worldwide recall notices and border rejections using the Horizon Scan database.5 This process identified the

following food safety hazards: • Iodine: 262 incidents between 2000 – 2022 • Inorganic arsenic: 64 incidents between 2000 – 2022 • USA Import refusals: 35 incidents between 2002 – 2021 including labelling failure, processing failure, ‘filth’ and unauthorised colours • Cadmium: 13 incidents between 2005 – 2020 • Salmonella: 11 incidents between 2011 – 2018 • E. coli O7:H4: 3,000 school students and staff in Japan in 2020 (red seaweed salad) • Chemical hazards: Nitrofurans, sulphites, benzopyrene and aluminium • Unauthorised colours • Unauthorised irradiation • Microbiological organisms: Listeria, mould and coliforms • Allergens: soy, gluten and sesame • Fraud: documentation (labelled as organic from Nth Korea in 2020) and species substitution (Vietnam 2021). The process steps undertaken in the case studies were reviewed for actual food safety hazards, control measures and critical control points (CCP). The hazards identified were quite different to those identified in most of the publications. These were: • Allergens: crustaceans and molluscs - controlled by washing in fresh water • Physical contamination: sand and marine debris - controlled by washing in fresh water • Micro contamination: Salmonella - controlled by the drying process resulting in a final product of Aw below 0.83 and salt content • Chemical contamination: iodine – possibly controlled by blanching of raw material • Almost all hazards were controlled or eliminated by growing seaweed in controlled tank conditions. Variables that need to be considered to identify further controls for the identified food safety hazards include: • Species specific hazards in local seaweed species

• Seaweed plant age and which parts of the plants are used • Local harvest environmental conditions • Rainfall levels in the local harvest area and harvest water temperature • Blanching process.

Project partners: 1. Sea Health Products: https://www. 2. Phyco Health & Venus Shell Systems:

References 1. Banach, JL, Hoek-van den Hil, EF, van der FelsKlerx, HL. Food safety hazards in the European seaweed chain. Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf. 2020; 19: 332– 364. 2. Holdt SL, Kraan S. Bioactive compounds in seaweed: functional food applications and legislation. J Appl Phycol. 2011;23:543–597. 3. Suleria HA, Osborne S, Masci P, Gobe G. Marinebased nutraceuticals: an innovative trend in the food and supplement industries. Mar Drugs. 2015;13:6336–6351. 4. University of Connecticut, USA https://seagrant. 5. Horizon Scan Database of worldwide recalls and border rejections

Clare Winkel is the Executive Manager – Technical Solutions for Integrity Compliance Solutions (ICS). f

Photo supplied by Pia Winberg: finished product (dried farmed seaweed- Ulvophyceae) from case study 1.

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+ Exhibition + Conference 7-8 July 2022 Gold Coast Convention Q: A key theme to emerge from the 2021 AIFST Convention was the importance of collaboration and Exhibitionacross Centre the agri-food system. What does effective collaboration look like to you with respect to food science and technology? Nick Hazell CEO at v2foods From v2food’s perspective, collaboration with Universities, CSIRO, industry partners and other startups is an essential part of our growth model. Indeed it is the only way to rapidly grow our business, our technology and the industry ecosystem. We focus on results and insights, do not SCAN FIND key OUTtechnology) MORE worry too much about owning every outcome (though we do TO protect believing that in our mission solving the problem of feeding the planet sustainably is consideration number one and there will be many winners if we make rapid progress. We collaborate with the meat industry, CSIRO, other startups, universities and have formed the Australian Proteins Council to create industry cohesion. Together we can advance the science and technology needed to unlock the plant based meat opportunity, and work to expand the industry into a globally significant entity that could make a major difference at a planetary scale.

The destination for food innovation

Dr Mirjana Prica Managing Director the Food and AgriBusiness Growth Centre (FIAL)

Australia’s only food and drink NPD event. SCAN TO FIND OUT MORE

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What is the role of innovation in food science in delivering consumer choice? Q: How can innovation in food science deliver consumer choice? Professor Roger Stanley Professor Food Science and Technology, Director of Centre for Food Innovation, University of Tasmania As consumers, we all look for something different in food choices to suit our particular needs within the cost, availability, cultural and situational constraints and circumstances at the time. The ultimate Star Trek technology, not quite there yet, is on-demand 3-D food printing of individually personalised flavours, textures and nutrition. In the meantime, making a wide variety of choices available in ready-to-eat products relies on ingredient science to accentuate and stabilise the tastes with natural extracts and create textures and flavour release profiles to give us high levels of food satisfaction. Delivering sufficient shelf life to facilitate choice has also required innovation in packaging, trending towards mono-molecular layer barriers to inhibit oxygen and water transfers. However, shelf life is also being minimised with rapid 10-minute home delivery of made-to-order restaurant quality foods enabled by digital transaction and new delivery platforms. Personalised profiling may even end up making the choice for you. Dr Brenda Mossel R&D Manager Trisco Foods Pty Ltd As a result of changing technology, consumer preferences, globalisation and demographics, the food ecosystem is increasingly complex and interdependent, creating opportunities to deliver consumers with choices better aligned with their wants, needs and values. Innovation is being integrated into every part of the industry from manufacture of novel foods (e.g. synthetic meats) to the rise of technology-enabled platforms

connecting food businesses directly to consumers. These innovations – from groceries to ready-to-eat meals – continue to deliver greater consumer choice. Consumers demand products that are nutrient rich, convenient and support a healthy lifestyle (e.g. probiotic enriched). Adoption of innovations such as 3-D food printing can deliver consumers healthier, more personalised products. However, these solutions must not only be short and simple, but must also offer high quality and superior taste to consumers. Industry adoption of innovative process technologies such as Microwave Assisted Thermal Sterilisation (MATS), which allows shorter heating steps and less damage to sensitive nutritional components, can deliver higher quality and superior tasting convenience products. To economically and sustainably feed an estimated global population of 10 billion (by 2050), an industry response of innovative solutions into all aspects of mass manufacturing is required across supply chains, processing, packaging, logistics and retailing. Dr Michael Depalo Founder ANZ Food Innovation and Compliance Network Imagine a world with no innovation and no food science. Would it be a cornucopia of fresh and abundant whole foods or would we see a world of malnutrition and famine? Innovation and consumer choice go hand in hand. From flat bread to leavened bread, from milk to cheese and from barley to beer our history, and the history of food, is the story of food innovation leading to consumer choice and the increasing abundance of food. The development of new ingredients, processes and packaging offers consumers the diversity and choice of products to meet their needs and choices. Food scientists have an integral role to play in bringing together the ideas from many disciplines into great



tasting, affordable and safe foods that meet both existing and new consumption occasions. Dr Hazel MacTavish-West Founder, Seedlab Tasmania and co-Founder Seedlab Australia We mostly eat food to survive, i.e. for nutrition, but also for hedonistic and social reasons, for pleasure and to ‘belong’. From a food innovation perspective, once our nutritional needs are met, other factors direct our food purchasing choices, such as appearance and aroma. Purchase choice factors include cost/affordability/value, availability, convenience and taste. They also include the idea of sustainability and ethical, wholesome production, processing and distribution, which is encompassed in the idea of provenance. Therein lies the answer to where innovation in food science can deliver consumer choice, and this includes not just traditional science, but also consumer psychology and the ability to respond to that through marketing. Food science delivers useful innovation when the food industry understands what consumers value and want, and then uses the science to satisfy those expectations and desires. This (vast) array of options includes more sustainable and ‘provable’ production and harvest methods, less damaging processing (e.g. MATS, HP, cold plasma, sous vide) and more sustainable packaging – for traceability, shelf life, quality and visual appeal. Given these apparently conflicting demands, ‘lean’ processing – valorising all components of raw inputs and choosing raw inputs that are simply ‘fit for purpose’ - is also needed to satisfy consumer expectations at an affordable price. For this edition we have given our contributors a bit more space to share their thoughts. Fast Five will be back next edition.

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