Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Legislation for egg stamping and food safety issues are a washout

The new regulations for egg farmers look like they are a dismal failure as they were intended to help protect consumers and provide traceability of all eggs back to the farm on which they were produced. The industry broadly supported the proposal drawn by by FSANZ (Food Safety Australia and New Zealand, but the legislation was writen separately in each state. Here in Victoria, some people who sell eggs have not bothered to register with the Department of Environment and Primary Industries and they are not stamping the eggs they produce with a farm identification number. They claim there is a loophole in the regulations which came into effect in November. They say that as they have 50 chooks or less, they don't need to register and are not required to stamp their eggs or comply with food safety standards.
It's just another example of bureaucratic stupidity. In the interests of the health of the community and traceability, the new regulations should apply to everyone who sells eggs. They should either apply to all egg producers, or none of us. It is simply not fair on those in the industry who meet the costs of complying with regulations when some sellers at markets or retail stores are allowed to flout them. It's not a small thing. While individual backyarders might only sell 20 dozen or so each week,  Throughout Australia, at least 100,000 dozen eggs each year are produced in  backyard operations and sold to unsuspecting consumers at markets or retail outlets. These producers have no understanding of the need for temperature control or other food safety requirements. Often they use secondhand cartons and do not meet labelling standards.

Another issue with egg stamping is that the legislation does not ensure that eggs are stamped on-farm. The stamping can be carried on a grading floor - which means that almost any stamp can be put on the eggs if they are sent to a grading floor for packing. This make a mockery of traceability claims.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

It's becomming clearer that MH 370 was shot down by the US

After months of fruitless searching it is emerging that in all probability, Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 didn't just fall out of the sky - it was shot down by the US military. This puts Australia's Prime Minister in a difficult position.; Does Tony Abbotthave the guts to threaten to'shirt-front' Barack Obama? And will he demand that the US reimburses Australian taxpayers for the costs involved in the extensive sea search for MH370?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Myths about eggs

The widespread concern over the definition of 'free range' will be sorted out when the ACCC has taken a few more big egg producers to court for their deceptive practices, and State Ministers for Fair Trading have finally established a legal standard for what constitutes a free range egg.  Genuine producers in the industry have followed the Model Code which sets a maximum outdoor stocking density of 1500 hens per hectare and prohibits beak trimming as a matter of course. Hopefully it will all be done and dusted by April.  Even when a definition is finally agreed the crooks will still try to find ways around the regulations.
But there are other issues too. There are so many myths around eggs some of which we have dealt with on a new page on our website: http://www.freeranger.com.au/myths-about-eggs.html

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chinese egg exports to Australia?

China is the world’s largest grower of egg laying hens and has been the largest producer of eggs for the last 28 years.

It has a massive volume of egg exports – around 260 million a year value at around $15 million. Many of those eggs go to the United States, but given the new trade deal signed between China and Australia, some of that volume could be heading here.

In an effort to stabilize egg prices by increasing liquidity and promote stable development in the egg industry, the China Securities Regulatory Commission endorsed the Dalian Commodity Exchange to initiate egg futures trading. The first egg futures traded in November 2013.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Farm gate sales

We are now offering eggs to customers at the farm gate. We have set up a large cool box just inside the front gate. So even though we have a biosecurity sign on the gate advising 'no unauthorised entry'. It's OK to enter just to buy eggs - as long as people don't proceed any further.
Farm gate sales are a growing part of our business
Demand has been increasing steadily with growing revelations from the ACCC about the  consumer deception organised by major egg businesses. As a result of their actions, consumers no longer trust labels and logos. Consumer interest is widespread in what is happening. Our Facebook 'likes' topped 1000 today  - largely driven by media reports of the industry scam.  Thank you Australian Egg Corporation Ltd. If you wish to like our facebook page, visit us at  https://www.facebook.com/FreerangerEggs
Apart from gate sales, our eggs are available at Angel's Health Foods, Cowes, Corinella General Store and Farmers Markets at Churchill Island on the fourth Saturday every month and The Old Cheese Factory at Berwick on the second Saturday.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Using Hydrogen from water as a power source

Hydro Infra Technologies (HIT), a Swedish company based in Stockholm, has developed a patent pending approach for neutralizing carbon fuel emissions by generating a gas it c alls Hydro Nano Gas (HNG).

In spite of all the happening in the energy sector, global economies still depend on fossil fuels for transport , power generation etc. The cost of completely replacing fossil fuels with more sustainable options is a challenge even for the richest nations.

This in turn effects the climate change scenario which has been continuously increasing as more pollution and green house gases are created from burning fossil fuels on a daily basis.

This requires a, cost effective solution; and maybe HIT’s Hydro Nano Gas is an answer.

On the farm, we have been looking at running our delivery vehicle on water – but without success.

Water contains 2 basic elements, Hydrogen and Oxygen. These elements can be split, divided and utilized. Splitting water (H2O) is a known science. But the energy costs of splitting outweigh the energy created from hydrogen when the Hydrogen is split from the water molecule.

HIT says it has found a way to split water in an energy efficient manner to extract a high yield of Hydrogen at a low cost.

The process of creating HNG involves pulsing a range of low energy frequencies into water. The pulsing treatment effectively manipulates the molecules to line up for the splitting process. The result is HNG.

The gas displays some different properties from normal hydrogen. For instance: HNG seems to neutralizes carbon fuel pollution emissions; HNG can be pressurized up to 2 bars; HNG combusts at a rate of 9000 meters per second while normal Hydrogen combusts at a rate 600 meters per second; oxygen values actually increase when HNG is inserted into a diesel flame; and finally, HNG acts like a vortex on fossil fuel emissions causing the flame to be pulled into the centre thus concentrating the heat and combustion properties.

Injecting HNG into a combustion chamber produces several effects that increase the burn efficiency of the fuels. HNG gasification effectively burns unburned residue and completes the burn process quicker. This could have long term benefits with the on going economic-climate change debate.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Shonky egg farms on the run

It's way past time for  big businesses involved in the Australian egg industry to wake up and stop their deceptive practices designed to bolster profits by labelling eggs from their intensive 'farms' as free range - and charging a premium.
The industry has known for years that this has been going on but politicians and bureacrats have refused to take action - sticking to supporting their mates and allowing industry 'self-regulation'.
Now that is suddenly coming to a halt with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission taking on the big operators in the Federal Court.
Yet another egg farm is going to have to defend action in the Federal Court over claims by the ACCC that it has committed serious breaches of Consumer Law. The ACCC says Darling Downs Fresh Eggs, which is based in Queensland, labelled their products as “free range” between 31 December 2013 and 6 October 2014 when the hens had in fact never had access to the outdoors.Darling Downs Fresh Eggs is just the latest in a string of egg producers to face court action for misleading claims. Many more are expected to be put through the wringer.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said  consumers deserved to know if what they are buying is in fact free range.
“The ACCC considers ‘free range’ eggs to mean that the laying hens can and do go outside and move around freely on an open range on most days,”
He said.“The ACCC considers that the alleged misrepresentations in this case are particularly serious, because it is the ACCC’s case that the Darling Downs Fresh Eggs hens were never given outdoor access.”

Now is an appropriate time for heads to role at the Australian Egg Corporation which has encouraged the long term deception of consumers. It claims to act for the whole of Australia's egg industry - but in reality it works against the interests of free range producers even though they provide funding to AECL through levy payments on every hen.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Eco Eggs in court over 'free range' claims

It seems that the big players in Australia's egg industry still don't recognise that their days of conning consumers are over. The latest big operators to face court over false 'free range' claims are the Port Stephens companies behind the Eco Eggs brand which is sold in major supermarkets across Australia.

As with Pirovic Enterprises which was fined $300,000 for false labelling, Eco Eggs hasn't being doing anything differently from dozens of other major egg producers who have set up their businesses to meet the standards endorsed by the Australian Egg Corporation. Eco Eggs realised that they were doing something wrong when Choice presented them with a Shonky Award in 2013.  Big operators should have seen the writing on the wall - but the lure of the huge dollars to be made out of their dodgy labels blinded them to the reality of their position.  The ACCC just has to walk around the major supermarkets to take to court just about every  business behind  eggs labelled as free range.d It will be easy pickings for them.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Egg stamping results in more honesty in the industry

The introduction of compulsory egg stamping is starting to bring the crooks out of the woodwork. At least one stallholder at markets accredited by the Victorian Farmers' Markets Association is now admitting  that some of the eggs he sells are bought from others. He has now chosen to reveal this on his Facebook page even though he has been re-selling eggs for years. At last he is being honest with his customers. The Victorian Farmers Markets' Association claims that re-sellers are banned from its accredited markets - but it has consistently turned a blind eye. The accreditation process needs to be balanced  and fair if the VFMA is to survive.
We also had a call yesterday from a 'backyarder' on Phillip Island asking if he could buy 20 dozen eggs. He said that he was going to on-sell them so he wanted them unstamped. I told him to go away!!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Effective industry standards and regulations may be on the Government agenda

The big playeers in the Australian egg industry are desperately trying to manipulate the outcome of the Federal Government's White paper on agriculture.
Poultry industry consultations with Australan Govenment representatives were held in Sydney on November 6. The sessions will help develop an Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, which will form the Federal Government's plans for the agriculture sector.

Industry participants apparently considered that a standards regulatory body and government endorsed quality assurance teams were preferable to following the agendas of third parties. They acknowledged the benefits of approved farming schemes (such as RSPCA accreditation) but said that the quasi-regulations and accompanying audits add to the administrative burden for poultry farmers.

Farm biosecurity, critical for maintaining productivity and access to export markets, was raised in the context of small farmers and backyarders.

Participants agreed that while there was an important place for small farmers and backyarders, it was vital to include them under the net of biosecurity arrangements.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Climate manipulation could damage all agricultural production - and everything on the planet

When you look up, what do you see? In the future, if you sometimes see strange patterns of thick vapour trails in the sky – they may not be just condensation trails from a high flying jet – you could be witnessing the results of a chemical seeding program in the upper atmosphere. A program which involves an Australian company.

The proposed chemtrail sprays have various elements like carbon which can be used to absorb microwaves. Some of these sprays include metal flakes intended to make aircraft invisible to radar. Known as Spoofer sprays, they may be used to create  magnetised plasmas to cloak fighter jets.

The spraying of aluminium, barium and sulphur into the upper atmosphere has been planned for some years and complements a major multinational experiment known as HAARP – High frequency Active Aural Research Project, built in Alaska, which is intended to help develop a global surveillance and communication system as well as controlling climatic conditions for military purposes. The program is mainly funded by the US Air Force, US Navy and the shadowy UK body, Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency. A spin-off from that Agency is BAE Australia with a head office in South Australia. BAE provides military systems and equipment to the Australian defence forces and operates the Williamstown shipyard in Victoria.

 Russia started field testing climate geoengineering in the atmosphere in 2009, but the US is reported to be close behind. The issue of unmarked military aircraft (tankers) dumping tonnes of chemicals into the atmosphere has been reported in many countries but there is no hard evidence  hat it is currently happening.It is known that Russia's version of HAARP, began to be built at Vasilsursk in the 1980's.

For those who are dubious about widespread international attempts at Geoengineering, here's a paper from the Office of Australia's Chief Scientist on the issue. It looks particularly at pumping sulphate aerosols into the upper atmosphere to prevent sunlight from reaching the earth.
For  more insight, here are some views of Professor Clive Hamilton who likens the prospects of
geoengineering to Stanley Kubricks' film Dr Strangelove. Prof Hamilton advises that geoengineering is not currently underway.

Major news organisations here in Australia dismiss this as simply a conspiracy theory with a few loony followers. They ignore the many academics and scientists who have expressed their concerns and t5he huge volume of data and photographs avalable on the web. Here's a paper from the European Parliament - they take it seriously: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/press/sdp/backg/en/1998/b980209.htm