News briefs 29-7

Jon Condon, 29/07/2011

NZ gains access to the Grainfed Quota

The European Commission has announced that New Zealand has been added to the list of countries that can access the EU’s 20,000 tonne grainfed beef quota, joining Australia, the US and Canada. Details on New Zealand supply requirements for assessing age and government employed graders have not been made public. As NZ only has one significant commercial feedlot, its capacity to supply the market could be somewhat limited. However the addition of NZ only highlights the need for those Australian cattle producers opposing an expansion of available cattle for the EUCAS system to reconsider the opportunities that exist in the EU through the grainfed quota and to do so before other countries start to utilise the access available, the Australian Meat Industry Council says.


Food safety less important than price

The latest results from the UK Food Standards Agency’s half-yearly public attitudes survey tracker have indicated that UK consumers are less concerned about food safety than other food issues such as food prices (61pc), the amount of salt in food (50pc), the amount of fat in food and food waste (both at 44pc).
The latest research was undertaken in May, with a total of 2078 respondents interviewed. Subject areas include food-related concerns, labelling and awareness of hygiene standards in retail and eating establishments.


Tassie R&D grant to processor

The Federal and Tasmanian Governments will contribute to a $1.1 million grant to boost employment and efficiency at the Greenham Tasmania processing plant near Smithton, in the state’s northwest. The grant is part of a $17 million Northwestern & Northern Tasmania Innovation & Investment Fund, and aims to create between 17 to 23 new jobs in the region in expanding the company’s production complex.


Costco Opens in Sydney

US-based warehouse retailer Costco opened its first Sydney store in Auburn covering 13,500sq m of floor space recently. This is the second of ten stores planned for Australia, the third of which is scheduled for Canberra near the airport.

Costco is the world’s eighth largest retailer but like Aldi has been impeded by strict zoning laws and a lack of suitable sites. It took Costco two years to secure approval for the Melbourne site and four years to gain approval and build the Auburn store.

The outlets are typically three or four times the size of conventional supermarkets in Australia and sell fresh, frozen and packaged food as well as general merchandise.


Russian 2012 beef import quota unchanged

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced this week that the Russian government will support the plan proposed by its Ministries of Economics and Agriculture regarding 2012 meat import quotas. Although the quota volumes are tentative, and will only become official once the appropriate regulation is signed, beef import volumes under the quota allocations will remain unchanged next year at 560,000t. Although the figure has remained the same for three years, it has risen steadily prior to that from 457,000t in 2005. Other proteins have fared much worse than beef, however. Russia’s poultry quota volumes will decrease 6pc under the proposal to 330,000t, while pork quota volumes would drop 26pc to 350,000t.


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