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Analysis and Comment (26)

If we tend to the local food industry, we could reap the harvest. If we tend to the local food industry, we could reap the harvest. donkeycart/Flickr

Let’s reap the economic benefits of local food over big farming

While Australia’s national food and agriculture debate centres on boosting production and increasing exports, our local food industry is being neglected. That’s a shame because countries such as the United…
Give me five of these any day. Give me five of these any day. Nancy D. Regan

Explainer: what is nutrigenomics?

“Eat your five-a-day” is a health slogan that has been kicking around since the 1980s. The UK government made it an official campaign in 2003. But understanding the exact benefits (and harms) that our…
In 2008, Chinese baby formula and milk products were tainted with melamine, killing six babies and hospitalising many more. In 2008, Chinese baby formula and milk products were tainted with melamine, killing six babies and hospitalising many more. EPA/Wu Hong

SPC Ardmona’s bailout is crucial given China’s food safety record

SPC Ardmona’s $22 million lifeline from the Victorian government seems to have saved Australia’s largest food packaging company. Yet the firm’s recent tribulations are a reminder of why I regularly choose…
Incoming message: Nice glass of rioja and a baked camembert. Incoming message: Nice glass of rioja and a baked camembert.

Is that a risotto in your pocket? The app that smells like dinner

Even though we are communicating in more ways than ever using online technology, we remain largely confined to the audiovisual when we do it. An app that has been on sale in Japan for some time aims to…
We need more, but more of what? Perhaps not this. We need more, but more of what? Perhaps not this. David Giles/PA

How to feed nine billion people, and feed them well

Resource-intensive agriculture, despite its productivity, nevertheless has failed to feed the world’s current population, never mind the nine billion people expected by 2050. This system that currently…
Being tired is linked to eating unhealthy foods that may cause weight gain. Being tired is linked to eating unhealthy foods that may cause weight gain. Shuttershock

Does a bad night’s sleep make you likely to overeat?

Few people would argue with the idea that sleep is good for us, but not many of us know that a lack of sleep can cause weight gain. The health benefits of sleep are extremely well-documented. It provides…
Prawns sold in Australian supermarkets must be labelled with the country of origin. About half of the prawns we buy are from overseas. Prawns sold in Australian supermarkets must be labelled with the country of origin. About half of the prawns we buy are from overseas. Flickr: avlxyz

Slip a more sustainable prawn on your barbie this Christmas

Australians are set to munch through half a billion prawns this Christmas. But where do all those prawns come from? And can we feel good as we throw another one on the barbie? About half of the prawns…
Our food environment could influence the type of food we buy. Our food environment could influence the type of food we buy. Hopkinsii/flickr

The ACT’s food environment plan is good – here’s why

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government has introduced a Healthy Weight Action Plan aimed at curbing the number of obese people in the territory. As its name suggests, the plan seeks to create…
People should not be hungry with the food, resources, and technology at our disposal. People should not be hungry with the food, resources, and technology at our disposal. PA

Staying alive shouldn’t depend on your purchasing power

How much would you pay for staying alive? How much would you pay for breathing pure air? That may seem a silly question since air is everywhere, accessible to all. Air is a global public good, part of…
Many people worry that eating before exercise will cause indigestion. Many people worry that eating before exercise will cause indigestion. Flickr/escaped.monkey

Food for fitness: is it better to eat before or after exercise?

There’s a lot of confusion surrounding food intake and exercise – is it better to eat beforehand or afterwards? And what type of exercise benefits most from eating? Eating before exercising is important…
Gastric reflux is brought on by spicy and acidic food and drink, alcohol and overeating. Gastric reflux is brought on by spicy and acidic food and drink, alcohol and overeating. Image from shutterstock.com

Explainer: what is gastric reflux?

If you’re prone to gastric reflux, you’ll probably be watching closely what you eat and drink during the pre-Christmas party season. You’re certainly not alone; modern, heavy eating habits and a rise in…
Vomiting since 500-470 BC. Vomiting since 500-470 BC. Stefano Bolognini

Why it’s safer to eat shellfish in months with a letter ‘R’

As I was growing up, any time my mother suggested buying mussels or cockles for dinner, my gran would pipe up with the old adage that “you should only be eating shellfish when there’s an ‘R’ in the month…
Restaurant blogging is not simply an exercise in consumerism gone wild. Restaurant blogging is not simply an exercise in consumerism gone wild. missmeng

Changing tastes: why foodies are the new food critics

Smartphones at the table. Food blogs. Photographs of perfect meals posted online before anyone has taken a bite. Amateur restaurant reviews. Many people don’t just want to cook good food and eat it. They…
Fructose is associated with US obesity rise but Europe allows health claims. Fructose is associated with US obesity rise but Europe allows health claims. Macz_out

EU Fructose ruling means dodgy health claims are easier to make

An EU decision to allow health claims to be made about fructose has angered obesity experts who blame the fruit sugar for rising obesity levels in the US. The decision allows food and drink manufacturers…
A couple of these and a nice chianti. A couple of these and a nice chianti. Severin Tchibozo

Insects are key for food security in a growing world

Protein is a shrinking part of the diets of humans and animals. The deficiency is spreading rapidly across the world, but is particularly pronounced in Africa, even though many sources of protein can be…
Not nuts about nuts? Neither is your bank account. Not nuts about nuts? Neither is your bank account. Macinate

Food allergies cost families more than peanuts

Across Europe and the US, the cost of treating food allergies is incredibly high. The reasons remain unclear but rates of food allergies in the UK have risen sharply in the past 20 years and hospital admissions…
How many food miles in a ham sandwich? How many food miles in a ham sandwich? Kolya

School food plan helps waistlines, hinders the planet

The School Food Plan for England released last week is supposed to be the blueprint that improves lunches in schools across the country. The important role of head teachers, a funding commitment from the…
Love your gingerbread? Thank your Red Ferrosols. Love your gingerbread? Thank your Red Ferrosols. Flickr/sheilaz413

The good earth: Buderim Red Ferrosol and ginger

Australia has some of the world’s most ancient soils, many of which grow delicious produce. In this series, “The good earth”, soil scientist Robert Edis profiles some of those soils and the flavours they…
“Burgerisation” has made waste as common in the food system as take-away wrappers on streets. “Burgerisation” has made waste as common in the food system as take-away wrappers on streets. Niall Carson/PA

Food waste is the symptom, not the problem

Foundation essay: This article on food waste by Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at City University London, is part of a series marking the launch of The Conversation in the UK. Our foundation essays…
Does the government’s recently released National Food Plan provide for the needs of food insecure and marginalised Australians? Does the government’s recently released National Food Plan provide for the needs of food insecure and marginalised Australians? AAP/Alan Porritt

National Food Plan: most Australians are food secure, but can we do more?

The National Food Plan, launched on May 25, spelt out the government’s intentions for Australia’s food industry. Several advocacy groups and academics have highlighted the flawed assumptions in the plan…
From the plate to the power station. From the plate to the power station. Flickr/tomylees

It stinks, but food waste is feeding our hunger for energy

The amount of scrap food thrown away worldwide is staggering. WRAP, a government-funded non-profit set up to encourage recycling and clamp down on waste, reports that in the UK we discard more than 7.2m…
Community gardens are becoming a viable urban source of food. Community gardens are becoming a viable urban source of food. stc4blues/Flickr

Not all community gardens are environmental equals

Food safety, availability and affordability are now global issues. Rapid urbanisation has increased demand for food in cities, where most people now live. Growing demand for food has been met by growth…
Christmas is a time of plenty - but to ensure we keep eating well in the future, it’s time to rethink the way we buy and produce food. Christmas is a time of plenty - but to ensure we keep eating well in the future, it’s time to rethink the way we buy and produce food. Barbeque image from www.shutterstock.com

Eat, think, and be merry

As we gather to share a meal with friends and family this festive season, it is the ideal time to reflect on our relationship with food, including our dependence on those who grow it for us. Australians…
Harvest time: Asia’s rising incomes and demand for food are no guarantee of a mining-style payday for Australian farmers. Harvest time: Asia’s rising incomes and demand for food are no guarantee of a mining-style payday for Australian farmers. AAP/EPA/Raminder Pal Singh

Australia’s place in the global food chain: time to wise up

In recent weeks Australia’s PM, a shadow minister, and a state premier have heralded the opportunities for Australian farmers to capitalise on a global food-shortage and, in particular, rising demand for…

Research and News (1)

Research Briefs (8)

‘Pine mouth’ remains a mystery

Thousands of people have experienced disturbances in taste after eating pine nuts, but the cause remains unknown. A bitter…

Spoon fed babies may end up fatter

What is seen as a staple food for many babies may be detrimental as researchers have found that babies who were spoon fed…

You are what you think you eat

A person’s state of mind may influence how physically satisfied they feel after a meal and how likely they are to consume…

Tax sugary drinks to reduce demand

Taxing sugary drinks could reduce the amount consumed by almost a quarter, according to an America study. Yale University…