Home' Grower : December 2009 Contents The South Australian Grower -- December 2009/January 2010 1 3
AUSVEG / Olives
Fresh face brings renewed
potato industry enthusiasm
By RICHARD MULCAHY
AUSVEG Chief Executive Officer
FORMER Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers
Association executive officer John Rich has been
appointed chair of the fresh and processed potato
Industry Advisory Committees.
Mr Rich brings extensive experience in the
horticulture industry, particularly in the potato
sector, having previously been the Australian and
New Zealand representative on the World Potato
Congress Advisory Committee.
Mr Rich has been involved in a range of
international meetings on issues related to the
potato industry, was a member of the industry
management committee of HAL and held an
advisory role to the Federal Government on exotic
pests and diseases.
The IACs have an important role providing
recommendations to HAL for the allocation of
grower levies sourced from growers and
processors and collected by the Federal
Levies go towards supporting research and
development proposals submitted to HAL by a
range of research providers and organisations.
HAL matches levies with funds received from the
Australian Government, and in 2008-09 the fresh
and processed potato IACs recommended $2.8
million of project investments to HAL for funding.
Unfortunately, not all proposals can be accepted,
so a thorough process of assessment by both HAL
and the IACs is undertaken, with the IACs making
recommendations to HAL after giving proposals a
weighting of significance based on chance of
success, value of return to growers, relative cost,
and significance to the industry as a whole.
Expressions of interest for membership to the
fresh and processed potato IACs were recently
invited, with applications received from potato levy
payers around the country. Applications for
membership of the vegetable IAC have just
Requirements for existing members and new
applicants were the same, with all IAC appointees
required to show they are levy payers and have
knowledge and a commitment to horticultural
industry issues and R&D work.
They must also have the ability to participate in
monthly one hour teleconferences to discuss R&D
proposals, as well as the ability to attend face-to-
face meetings on two occasions each year and be
able to demonstrate they are capable of reading
and reviewing R&D project proposals.
Interviews will be undertaken as part of the
selection process for the committee, with
preference given to applicants demonstrating
involvement with established industry networks
that provide linkages with other growers of their
product at state or national level.
The appointment of Mr Rich was made on
recommendations from AUSVEG and the Potato
Processing Association of Australia.
Mr Rich is already a valuable asset to the
industry and it is expected he will become even
more valuable through his service on the IACs.
On behalf of AUSVEG, as well as the wider potato
industry, many thanks go to the outgoing chair
John Gallagher of Western Australia, for many
years serving the industry through his work on the
Details: AUSVEG 03 9544 8098
The fresh and processed potato industry advisory committees provide recommendations to
Horticulture Australia Limited for the allocation of grower levies.
THE Australian Competition and Consumer
Commission has cracked down on extra
virgin olive oil quality, running a series of
tests and identifying three sub-standard
Aimed at increasing consumer confidence,
the tests were conducted after the ACCC
received information that a number of
products sold in Australia as extra virgin
olive oil may have been of poor quality,
refined, or adulterated with other oils -- such
as canola or rapeseed oil.
"Certain importers, distributors and
retailers will now conduct more testing to
verify that the extra virgin olive oil they
supply is as claimed," ACCC chairman
Graeme Samuel said.
"Consumers can pay a premium for this
type of oil, which is often touted as being
fresher, healthier and tastier than other
cooking oils -- and they should get what they
Although there is no mandatory standard
for extra virgin olive oil in place, it is widely
accepted by the industry and consumers that
it is the highest grade oil obtained from the
first press of the best quality olives, is not
blended with other oil and there are no
solvents or refining in the process.
The ACCC tests were commissioned on a
selection of imported and locally produced
oils labelled extra virgin olive oil against the
International Olive Council's trade standard
for olive oil.
The IOC standard defines extra virgin olive
oil and sets criteria for purity and quality.
While the standard is not mandatory, it is a
useful and recognised guide for establishing
the essential elements of genuine extra virgin
Results of the ACCC tests indicated that
three samples were not extra virgin olive oil,
as defined by the IOC.
The consumer organisation believes that by
representing that these products were extra
virgin olive oil the products' distributors are
likely to have engaged in false, misleading
and deceptive conduct in breach of the Trade
Practices Act 1974.
The three companies found to be selling
questionable product as extra virgin olive oil
will now need to obtain a certificate of
analysis from their suppliers demonstrating
the product's compliance with the specified
"A representation that a product is extra
virgin olive oil is what I would call a
'credence claim' -- consumers can't tell
whether oil is extra virgin just by looking at
or tasting, it so they have to rely on the
credibility of the supplier to provide truthful
and accurate information," Mr Samuel said.
The ACCC tested olive oils labelled as extra
virgin after it obtained information that a
number of products may have been refined,
adulterated with other oils - such as canola
or rapeseed oil - or of poor quality.
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