Inquiry into Certification Schemes Begins
South Australian Liberal senator Cory Bernardi has achieved his ambition
to secure an inquiry into certification of halal, kosher, organic and
genetically modified food.
Bernardi moved a motion in the Senate to launch an investigation
into food certification schemes, including whether the public was given
enough information about certifiers' financial records.
Senators voted 34 in favour to 30 against the six-month inquiry by the
Senate's economic references committee. It passed with the support of
the government along with six crossbenchers: Jacqui Lambie, Bob Day,
Glenn Lazarus, David Leyonhjelm, John Madigan and Ricky Muir. The Labor
party and the Greens opposed the motion. Bernardi said the inquiry would
not be confined to halal alone.
"There seems to be a number of concerns about some certification schemes
that are operating and in the interests of transparency and establishing
the facts and being able to act in the national interest I think it's
wise for the parliament to consider all certification schemes and how
they operate," the conservative backbencher said.
"I keep getting told any number of things about certification schemes
and I don't know what's true and what's not true, so I want to establish
Several high-profile companies have been targeted by anti-halal
campaigners. In January, the head of one of Australia's largest
certifiers launched defamation proceedings in the New South Wales
supreme court after a campaigner made allegations about a financial link
to terrorist organisations.
The parliamentary inquiry will be asked to examine "the extent of food
certification schemes and certifiers in Australia including, but not
limited to, schemes related to organic, kosher, halal and
genetically-modified food and general food safety certification
The terms of reference include labelling requirements, certification
fees paid by food producers, and "whether current schemes provide enough
information for Australian consumers to make informed purchasing
Tony Abbott has previously played down calls by several members of his
own party for an inquiry into halal certification. During a visit to a
halal-certified meat producer in Tasmania in March, the prime minister
said he was "really pleased that a business like this is growing its
exports all the time, particularly to the Middle East".
"If we want to export to the Middle East, we have to have certain
procedures in place and this is just part of exporting to the Middle
East and if we want our exports to grow all the time, this is what we
need to do and I think that's what Australians want," Abbott said at the
The agriculture minister, Barnaby Joyce, has also warned his colleagues
against against "picking a fight that we never needed to have" because
of consequences for Australian exporters.
"Unless it's halal certified, we can't sell it. That means the whole
processing line becomes unviable," Joyce, the deputy leader of the
Nationals, said last month. "If we didn't have the halal market in beef,
that could really affect thousands of meat workers in Australia."
Sustainable Foods Summit
The future direction of eco-labels and certification schemes, such as
Organic, Fairtrade, UTZ Certified, etc. are featured in the Sustainable Foods Summit.
The European edition will be hosted in Amsterdam
on 4-5 June. In 2016, the summit will also take place in North & Latin
America. More details are on the
New Zealand: Anchor Organic Milk Launched
Fonterra is launching organic milk under
its Anchor brand.
Blue (whole) and Trim (skimmed) Anchor Organic milk - packaged in
Anchor's two-litre 100% recyclable lightproof bottle - will be available
in supermarkets across New Zealand, as well as to cafes, foodservice
outlets and dairies.
In a statement, Fonterra said it is responding to growing demand from
baristas and households in New Zealand, where it claims organic milk
sales have increased more than 50% in the last year.
Organic milk is, however, "very expensive" in New Zealand and
availability is limited to certain regions, it said. Accordingly, the
Auckland-based dairy cooperative set itself the "mission" to make
organic milk more widely available "at a fair price."
"We've done just that through our nationwide distribution and providing
Anchor Organic at an everyday price that works out at only about 20
cents extra per glass compared to our standard Anchor milk," said Tim
Deane, managing director, Fonterra Brands New Zealand.
"We're confident of a good response from consumers," he said. "72% of
Kiwis tell us that if organic milk was more affordable they would buy it
more often. A further 25% told us that it it was available in their
regular supermarket that would also make a difference."
Anchor Organic will be sourced from Fonterra farmers in Manawatu on New
Zealand's North Island.
Source: News Release
Australia: Indian Investment for Organic Cosmetics Firm
South Australian organic personal care
company Fravin Ltd, now majority owned by Indian cosmetic giant Emami,
will be transformed into a AUS $100 million manufacturing business over
the next decade.
Fravin founder Peter Francis, who completed the estimated AUS $4
million-plus sale of 67 per cent of his business to Emami this year,
said the deal was a "captain's pick" by Emami's founders RS Agarwal and
The state will be at the heart of Emami's push to expand its global
multibillion-dollar empire into organic skin and hair care products, Mr
"Emami's plans are to build a AUS $100 million manufacturing business
out of South Australia over the next decade through our company. It's a
strategic move by the Indian company, which has more than 260 products
in its portfolio, to enter the premium organic care markets in India and
"Fravin's existing range of salon products and the kids range will work
well in India. We will also be expanding Fravin's existing range to push
exports using Emami's extensive networks overseas and in India.
"I will also be helping Emami create a new Ayurvedic organic product
range that will be manufactured there," he said.
Private label manufacturing is also likely to receive a boost under the
new co-ownership deal. Mr Francis, who studied trichology - health of
hair and scalp - at TAFE, founded Fravin more than 30 years ago.
Fravin's Abache Organics and eco.kid brands are made at a Melrose Park
factory using 70 per cent organic ingredients and are certified by the
US Department of Agriculture and are Australia Certified Organic. The
company employs 25 staff in Adelaide but is likely to need more at its
factory as it gradually expands.
They are currently sold through retail chains Hair House Warehouse and
Price Attack and the company-owned hair salon at Glenelg, which also
houses an R&D laboratory.
The diversified Kolkata-based "fairness" product manufacturer Emami
Group, established in 1974, operates in more than 63 countries,
employing over 2000. Cosmetic products form one part of its business,
which also includes making ball pen tips, edible oil, infrastructure and
development, cement and biodiesel and owning hospitals. Emami appointed
a new financial and operations controller to Fravin, Rahul Sharda, who
moved to Adelaide a few weeks ago. He will assist Mr Francis, who
remains managing director.
Mr Sharda, who has links with the Agarwal family, said his focus was
currently on consolidating and integrating the businesses. "Appointing
distributors is the next step as we look at setting up the business for
future growth," Mr Sharda said.
Mr Francis said there was a "great deal of buzz and excitement" with the
Emami deal, which would also involve research partnerships with Flinders
University, including working with green chemistry and nanotechnology
expert Professor Colin Raston.
"Emami wants to partner with Australian research, our clean, green image
and our expertise to help us both grow," Mr Francis said. "That's
helping us get lots of new ideas in the pipeline."
By coming under the Emami umbrella, Fravin will benefit from the Indian
company's investment. The Australian company will be able to expand its
manufacturing capacity and access new export markets. Emami will also
benefit from the 'green chemistry' of the Australian firm. The Abache
Organics brand won the Green Formulations award at the 2014 Sustainable
Beauty Awards. More details are on
The Asian Market for Natural
& Organic Cosmetics
The Advertiser (Australia) / OM