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Why doesn’t water help with spicy food? What about milk or beer?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/daniel-eldridge-1494633">Daniel Eldridge</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>Spicy foods taste spicy because they contain a family of compounds called capsaicinoids. Capsaicin is the major culprit. It’s found in chillies, jalapeños, cayenne pepper, and is even the active ingredient in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31334983/">pepper spray</a>.</p> <p>Capsaicin doesn’t actually physically heat up your mouth. The burning sensation comes from receptors in the mouth reacting to capsaicin and sending a signal to the brain that something is very hot.</p> <p>That’s why the “hot” chilli sensation feels so real – we even respond by sweating. To alleviate the heat, you need to remove the capsaicin from your mouth.</p> <p>So why doesn’t drinking water help make that spicy feeling go away? And what would work better instead?</p> <h2>Water-loving and water-hating molecules</h2> <p>To help us choose what might wash the capsaicin away most effectively, it’s helpful to know that capsaicin is a hydrophobic molecule. That means it hates being in contact with water and will not easily mix with it.</p> <p>Look what happens when you try to mix hydrophobic sand with water.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/H8cj9CpHW7w?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>On the other hand, hydrophilic molecules love water and are very happy to mix with it.</p> <p>You’ve likely seen this before. You can easily dissolve hydrophilic sugar in water, but it’s hard to wash away hydrophobic oils from your pan using tap water alone.</p> <p>If you try to wash hydrophobic capsaicin away with water, it won’t be very effective, because hydrophilic and hydrophobic substances don’t mix.</p> <p>Going for iced water will be even less effective, as hydrophobic capsaicin is even less soluble in water at lower temperatures. You may get a temporary sense of relief while the cold liquid is in your mouth, but as soon as you swallow it, you’ll be back where you started.</p> <p>Instead, a good choice would be to consume something that is also hydrophobic. This is because of an old-but-true adage in chemistry that “like dissolves like”.</p> <p>The idea is that generally, hydrophobic substances will not dissolve in something hydrophilic – like water – but will dissolve in something that is also hydrophobic, as this video shows:</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/s5yfs-Pr_y8?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <h2>My mouth is on fire. What should I drink instead of water?</h2> <p>A swig of oil would likely be effective, but is perhaps not so palatable.</p> <p>Milk makes for an ideal choice for two reasons.</p> <p>The first is that milk contains hydrophobic fats, which the capsaicin will more easily dissolve in, allowing it to be washed away.</p> <p>The second is that dairy products contain a protein called casein. Casein is an emulsifier, a substance that helps oils and water mix, as in this video:</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/S4XeQhZRLDE?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Casein plays a large role in keeping the fat mixed throughout your glass of milk, and it also has a strong affinity for capsaicin. It will readily wrap up and encapsulate capsaicin molecules and assist in carrying them away from the receptor. This relieves the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36510373/">burning sensation</a>.</p> <h2>OK but I hate drinking milk. What else can I try?</h2> <p>What about raita? This dish, commonly served with Indian curries, is made primarily from yoghurt. So aside from being its own culinary experience, raita is rich in fats, and therefore contains plenty of hydrophobic material. It also contains casein, which will again help lock up and remove the capsaicin.</p> <p>Ice cream would also work, as it contains both casein and large amounts of hydrophobic substances.</p> <p>Some studies have also shown that consuming <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9328490/">drinks with large amounts of sugar</a> can relieve spiciness.</p> <p>What about reaching for that ice cold beer?</p> <p>This is commonly suggested as a suitable approach to stop the burning. At first glance, this may seem a good idea because capsaicin is highly soluble in alcohol.</p> <p>However, most beers only contain between 4–6% alcohol. The bulk of the liquid in beer is water, which is hydrophilic and cannot wash away capsaicin. The small amount of alcohol in your beer would make it slightly more effective, but not to any great degree.</p> <p>Your curry and beer may taste great together, but that’s likely the only benefit.</p> <p>In truth, an alcoholic beverage is not going to help much unless you go for something with a much, much higher alcohol content, which comes with its own problems.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226624/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/daniel-eldridge-1494633">Daniel Eldridge</a>, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image </em><em>credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-doesnt-water-help-with-spicy-food-what-about-milk-or-beer-226624">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Food & Wine

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With all this bird flu around, how safe are eggs, chicken or milk?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/enzo-palombo-249510">Enzo Palombo</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>Recent outbreaks of bird flu – in <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/avian-flu-summary.htm">US dairy herds</a>, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2024-06-04/third-victorian-poultry-farm-declares-outbreak-avian-influenza/103932694">poultry farms in Australia</a> and elsewhere, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/bird-flu-is-hitting-australian-poultry-farms-and-the-first-human-case-has-been-reported-in-victoria-heres-what-we-know-230691">isolated cases</a> <a href="https://www.statnews.com/2024/05/30/bird-flu-third-case-human-infection-caused-respiratory-symptoms/">in humans</a> – have raised the issue of food safety.</p> <p>So can the virus transfer from infected farm animals to contaminate milk, meat or eggs? How likely is this?</p> <p>And what do we need to think about to minimise our risk when shopping for or preparing food?</p> <h2>How safe is milk?</h2> <p>Bird flu (or avian influenza) is a bird disease caused by specific types of influenza virus. But the virus can also infect cows. <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/avian-flu-summary.htm">In the US</a>, for instance, to date more than 80 dairy herds in at least nine states have been infected with the H5N1 version of the virus.</p> <p>Investigations are <a href="https://www.aphis.usda.gov/livestock-poultry-disease/avian/avian-influenza/hpai-detections/livestock">under way</a> to confirm how this happened. But we do know infected birds can shed the virus in their saliva, nasal secretions and faeces. So bird flu can potentially contaminate animal-derived food products during processing and manufacturing.</p> <p>Indeed, fragments of bird flu genetic material (RNA) were found in <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-bird-flu-virus-fragments-get-into-milk-sold-in-stores-and-what-the-spread-of-h5n1-in-cows-means-for-the-dairy-industry-and-milk-drinkers-228689">cow’s milk</a> from the dairy herds associated with <a href="https://www.statnews.com/2024/05/30/bird-flu-third-case-human-infection-caused-respiratory-symptoms/">infected US farmers</a>.</p> <p>However, the spread of bird flu among cattle, and possibly to humans, is likely to have been caused through contact with <a href="https://www.agriculturedive.com/news/contaminated-milk-equipment-potential-source-of-bird-flu-spread-to-cattle/712555/">contaminated milking equipment</a>, not the milk itself.</p> <p>The test used to detect the virus in milk – which uses similar PCR technology to lab-based COVID tests – is also highly sensitive. This means it can detect very low levels of the bird flu RNA. But the test does not distinguish between live or inactivated virus, just that the RNA is present. So from this test alone, we cannot tell if the virus found in milk is infectious (and capable of infecting humans).</p> <p>Does that mean milk is safe to drink and won’t transmit bird flu? Yes and no.</p> <p>In Australia, where bird flu has not been reported in dairy cattle, the answer is yes. It is safe to drink milk and milk products made from Australian milk.</p> <p>In the US, the answer depends on whether the milk is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/B978184569216250013X?via%3Dihub">pasteurised</a>. We know pasteurisation is a common and reliable method of destroying concerning microbes, including influenza virus. Like most viruses, influenza virus (including bird flu virus) is inactivated by heat.</p> <p>Although there is little direct research on whether pasteurisation inactivates H5N1 in milk, we can extrapolate from what we know about heat inactivation of H5N1 in <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0362028X22060732?via%3Dihub">chicken</a> and <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2036-7481/13/4/60">eggs</a>.</p> <p>So we can be confident there is no risk of bird flu transmission via pasteurised milk or milk products.</p> <p>However, it’s another matter for unpasteurised or “raw” US milk or milk products. A recent <a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2405495">study</a> showed mice fed raw milk contaminated with bird flu developed signs of illness. So to be on the safe side, it would be advisable to avoid raw milk products.</p> <h2>How about chicken?</h2> <p>Bird flu has caused sporadic outbreaks in wild birds and domestic poultry worldwide, including <a href="https://theconversation.com/bird-flu-is-hitting-australian-poultry-farms-and-the-first-human-case-has-been-reported-in-victoria-heres-what-we-know-230691">in Australia</a>. In recent weeks, there have been <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2024-06-04/third-victorian-poultry-farm-declares-outbreak-avian-influenza/103932694">three reported outbreaks</a> in <a href="https://agriculture.vic.gov.au/biosecurity/animal-diseases/poultry-diseases/avian-influenza-bird-flu#h2-0">Victorian poultry farms</a> (two with H7N3 bird flu, one with H7N9). There has been <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2024-05-23/bird-flu-detected-western-australia-chicken-farm/103880002">one</a> reported outbreak in <a href="https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/livestock-biosecurity/avian-influenza">Western Australia</a> (H9N2).</p> <p>The strains of bird flu identified in the Victorian and Western Australia outbreaks can cause human infection, although these <a href="https://agriculture.vic.gov.au/biosecurity/animal-diseases/poultry-diseases/avian-influenza-bird-flu#h2-8">are rare</a> and typically result from close contact with infected live birds or <a href="https://www.who.int/emergencies/situations/avian-influenza-a-(h7n9)-virus-outbreak">contaminated environments</a>.</p> <p>Therefore, the chance of bird flu transmission in chicken meat is remote.</p> <p>Nonetheless, it is timely to remind people to handle chicken meat with caution as many dangerous pathogens, such as <em>Salmonella</em> and <em>Campylobacter</em>, can be found on chicken carcasses.</p> <p>Always handle chicken meat carefully when shopping, transporting it home and storing it in the kitchen. For instance, make sure no meat juices cross-contaminate other items, consider using a cool bag when transporting meat, and refrigerate or freeze the meat within two hours.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/no-you-shouldnt-wash-raw-chicken-before-cooking-it-so-why-do-people-still-do-it-192723">Avoid washing your chicken</a> before cooking to prevent the spread of disease-causing microbes around the kitchen.</p> <p>Finally, cook chicken thoroughly as viruses (including bird flu) <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0362028X22060732?via%3Dihub">cannot survive</a> cooking temperatures.</p> <h2>Are eggs safe?</h2> <p>The recent Australian outbreaks have occurred in egg-laying or mixed poultry flocks, so concerns have been raised about bird flu transmission via contaminated chicken eggs.</p> <p>Can flu viruses contaminate chicken eggs and potentially spread bird flu? It appears so. A <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0196655306011862?via%3Dihub">report</a> from 2007 said it was feasible for influenza viruses to enter through the eggshell. This is because influenza virus particles are smaller (100 nanometres) than the pores in eggshells (at least 200 nm).</p> <p>So viruses could enter eggs and be protected from cleaning procedures designed to remove microbes from the egg surface.</p> <p>Therefore, like the advice about milk and meat, cooking eggs is best.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.fda.gov/food/egg-guidance-regulation-and-other-information/questions-and-answers-regarding-safety-eggs-during-highly-pathogenic-avian-influenza-outbreaks">US Food and Drug Administration</a> recommends cooking poultry, eggs and other animal products to the proper temperature and preventing cross-contamination between raw and cooked food.</p> <h2>In a nutshell</h2> <p>If you consume pasteurised milk products and thoroughly cook your chicken and eggs, there is nothing to worry about as bird flu is inactivated by heat.</p> <p>The real fear is that the virus will evolve into highly pathogenic versions that can be transmitted from <a href="https://theconversation.com/bird-flu-is-hitting-australian-poultry-farms-and-the-first-human-case-has-been-reported-in-victoria-heres-what-we-know-230691">human to human</a>.</p> <p>That scenario is much more frightening than any potential spread though food.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/231280/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/enzo-palombo-249510">Enzo Palombo</a>, Professor of Microbiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/with-all-this-bird-flu-around-how-safe-are-eggs-chicken-or-milk-231280">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Food & Wine

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Mum fined for pumping breast milk in the car

<p dir="ltr">A mum from Queensland has received a hefty fine for something she has done many times before. </p> <p dir="ltr">Meagan Schmock and her husband Benjamin were travelling home from their honeymoon on the Gold Coast when Meagan, who is a breastfeeding mum, started to feel unwell. </p> <p dir="ltr">"I was getting quite engorged and it was getting incredibly uncomfortable for me. It's throbbing, it's hot," Mrs Schmock told <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/queensland-mum-fined-after-pumping-breast-milk-in-passenger-seat/e2a4be4a-7201-43df-896c-ddbff34acee8" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>A Current Affair</em></a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Meagan was in the passenger seat while her husband drove, so Meagan was able to pump breast milk for her 10-month-old son Billy. </p> <p dir="ltr">"To have to sit in the car for an hour-and-a-half, maybe two hours, waiting to get home to feed my little one, It just wasn't going to happen," Mrs Schmock said.</p> <p dir="ltr">While pumping, traffic cameras snapped a picture of the mum adjusting herself for a split second, resulting in a fine. </p> <p dir="ltr">"They have captured me taking my seatbelt off, putting it underneath my arm so I can unhook my breast pump," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mrs Schmock said her seatbelt remained fastened the whole time and only slipped under her armpit for a split second.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, the manoeuver has now landed her husband a hefty infringement notice for driving with a passenger who failed to wear their seatbelt correctly.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It was $1161 and four demerit points. I was gob-smacked. I was shocked," Mrs Schmock said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I saw the money fine first and I was just like, 'what's happened'? And then as I've unfolded the letter, I've seen this photo and then looked closer and been like, 'that's me pumping'."</p> <p dir="ltr">Mrs Schmock said she had no idea you could be fined for readjusting your seat belt, and shared the story of the fine on social media. </p> <p dir="ltr">Other mums chimed in on the incident, saying they were grateful for Meagan’s story. </p> <p dir="ltr">"I felt a lot of support from that - realising that a lot more (mums) didn't know," Mrs Schmock said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Another Queensland mum also learned the same lesson the hard way.</p> <p dir="ltr">The same seatbelt camera also captured her in the passenger seat pumping breast milk and she was fined $413 and three demerit points.</p> <p dir="ltr">"As a breastfeeding mum - and I'm sure any other mums who have breastfeed or who have pumped before know that - you can't just really wait," Mrs Schmock said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Meagan and Benjamin Schmock are now disputing the fine with the Department of Transport and Main Roads, and they are considering exploring the potential for a seat belt exemption due to a medical condition.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: A Current Affair</em></p>

Legal

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Mum shamed and denied food for bottle feeding her baby

<p>A Brisbane mother has been left feeling "devastated, guilty and enraged" after being targeted by a controversial rule after she took her baby to the emergency room. </p> <p>It was the middle of the night when Sarah Stoddart's 12-week-old daughter became extremely unwell. </p> <p>The baby, who Sarah had decided to bottle feed, was vomiting and running a temperature, prompting her worried mother to take her to the emergency department of Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane's north. </p> <p>Things started to go wrong for Sarah when she was handed a "welcome sheet" after arriving at the hospital.</p> <p>"They had circled and brought to my attention that only breastfeeding mothers were entitled to meals," she <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/queensland-mum-denied-food-at-hospital-for-not-breastfeeding-child/f8ea2db9-b448-4ce8-8dfb-6e65657cc5ab" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener" data-i13n="cpos:5;pos:1" data-ylk="slk:told Nine News;cpos:5;pos:1;elm:context_link;itc:0" data-rapid_p="12" data-v9y="1">told <em>Nine News</em></a>.</p> <p>"First of all [it] made me feel devastated and guilty but then quite enraged, that is a decision that is being made in this country and this state in 2023."</p> <p>Furious, Ms Stoddart claims staff eventually told her that they could "make an exception" and would "sneak through an approval" so that she could get fed.</p> <p>According to Sarah, her partner was at home looking after the couple's other kids, and the whole ordeal left her feeling guilty over a decision that was made for the health of their child.</p> <p>She added that mothers are "already struggling with enough" in the first trimester and "don't need the judgement from the government as to how they chose to feed their child".</p> <p>After speaking out about her treatment at the hospital and raising the issue with Metro North Health, the hospital has changed their policy.</p> <p>"The Prince Charles Hospital now provides meals to parents of children six months and under who are admitted into our care," Prince Charles Hospital said in a statement.</p> <p>"Parents of all patients admitted to the Paediatric Ward at The Prince Charles Hospital have access to food, water, tea and coffee. Further paid options, including fresh food vending machines, cafes and a stocked fridge, are accessible 24hrs a day."</p> <p>Queensland's Health Minister Shannon Fentiman she would work with other hospitals across the state to ensure a similar scenario does not occur again.</p> <p>"It shouldn't really matter whether you are breastfeeding or not, it should be about trying to make our parents who are doing the best they can to look after their sick kids as comfortable as possible," she said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News</em></p>

Caring

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Returning and Earning for your community

<p>Charities and community groups across NSW are cashing in empty drink containers to support their important work in the community, all with the added benefit of helping the environment. It’s an easy win-win to fundraise through Return and Earn, and it makes donating to a local charity or community group very easy.</p> <p>Return and Earn is the incredibly successful container deposit scheme in NSW, where 10 cents is refunded for every eligible drink container returned for recycling through the network of 600+ return points across the state.</p> <p>Since launching over five years ago, <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Return and Earn</a> has become an important and well used channel for charities and community groups fundraising to support a range of local and broader causes. Groups such as Rotary and Lions Clubs, animal rescue organisations, and fire and rescue services are just a few of the many different cohorts that have partnered with Return and Earn and relied on the generosity of NSW citizens to help them do vital work in their communities.</p> <p>“We’ve seen many groups really embrace the scheme, showing a humbling passion for giving back to the community – whether it’s to help fund an event for a local club, or to donate to a charity,” said Danielle Smalley, CEO of scheme coordinator, Exchange for Change.</p> <p>“Some of these groups have raised a lot of money from recycling drink containers through Return and Earn. Often local residents and businesses are handing over their containers or donating their refunds to support the cause, proving there is enormous goodwill in the community.”</p> <p>The Gerringong Lions Club recently celebrated one million containers collected, raising $100,000 that was donated to a variety of causes including medical research, local sporting facilities, as well as helping both Australian and oversees Lions Clubs provide relief during catastrophes.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-67811" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Gerringong-Lions-Club-image-2-for-article-2_RD.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p><em>The Gerringong Lions Club are now raising around $20,000 each year.</em></p> <p>The COVID shutdowns and restrictions put a halt to the activities that would normally bring funds to the club. Return and Earn was the only means for the club to generate an income to help the community during this time.</p> <p>As routine users of the scheme, the Gerringong Lions Club are now raising around $20,000 each year, all the while making positive impacts to the environment.</p> <p>Bruce Ray is a past president and active member of the club, and says he gets a sense of satisfaction knowing they are helping the community while also looking out for the environment.</p> <p>“We have the bins at the hotel, the bowling club, and campgrounds. The club also provides the container collection bins for events such as weddings and uses them at local New Years’ Eve events,” said Mr Ray.</p> <p>In Cobar, the local Rotary Club is also using Return and Earn to support the work in their community. They partnered with the local Girl Guides who help the club sort through any drink containers collected. They’ve now raised more than $25,000 since they began in early 2020.</p> <p>Club Secretary Gordon Hill said that one of the benefits for the Girl Guides is the real-world experience in seeing how much locally created waste can be recycled.</p> <p>“It also provides a healthy opportunity for a challenge to see which girls can pack the most containers during a 1.5 to 2 hour session. The record currently stands at 3,080, but the challenge continues,” Gordon added.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-67813" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Cobar-Rotary-Club-image-for-article-2_RD.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p><em>In Cobar, the local Rotary Club has partnered with the Girl Guides to help with sorting!</em></p> <p>Since Return and Earn launched in December 2017, over $42 million has been raised through donations and return point hosting fees. The funds have made a significant difference to individuals and groups who have received the support.</p> <p>“There are a lot more collection drives in the community that we don’t track, so the total fundraising amount is in fact even higher,” Ms Smalley said.</p> <p>“We encourage all our Return and Earn users to consider donating containers to a local charity or community group either at the nearest Return and Earn machine or using the Return and Earn app.</p> <p>“And if you’re a member of a group looking for an easy and effective way to fundraise, consider Return and Earn where you can double the benefit by raising funds while also helping the environment.”</p> <p>Every Return and Earn machine features a local donation partner, to whom users can donate part or all of their refunds to. The charity listed changes every six months to give as many groups as possible the opportunity.</p> <p>Charities and groups can also elect to be listed on the Return and Earn app, allowing anyone using the app at a machine or automated depot to donate direct to their favourite charity. There are currently over 170 charities featured on the app.</p> <p>When using a Return and Earn machine, select donate, then select which of the charities listed you want the funds to go. If you’re using the Return and Earn app, simply select donation as your payout option and then select the charity or group you would like to donate your refund to.</p> <p>“Contributions don’t need to be big to make a difference. It can be as easy as collecting a few eligible drink containers and donating them to a charity, helping local communities thrive while looking after the environment.” said Ms Smalley.</p> <p>For more information on donating through Return and Earn visit <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/donate/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">returnandearn.org.au/donate/</a></p> <p><em>Images: Supplied</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Return and Earn.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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6 things a food poisoning expert would never eat

<p>If you want to know how to avoid food poisoning, you better listen to food poisoning expert and lawyer Bill Marler.</p> <p>He’s a products liability and personal injury attorney specialising in food-borne illnesses as well as the managing partner of Marler Clark, dubbed “The Food Safety Law Firm”. With twenty years in the industry, he’s won more than $600 million in compensation claims for his clients since 1998.</p> <p>In an article posted in the <a href="http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/six-foods-bill-marler-never-eats/#.VrJ3Kvl96uV" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Food Poisoning Journal</em></span></strong></a>, Bill has revealed the six foods he refused to eat.</p> <p><strong>Unpasteurised (“raw”) milk and packaged juices</strong></p> <p>Unpasteurised milk, sometimes called “raw” milk, can be contaminated with bacteria, viruses and parasites. Between 1998 and 2011, there were 148 food poisoning outbreaks linked to raw milk and raw milk products in the US—and keep in mind that comparatively few people in the country ever consume these products, so 148 outbreaks is nothing to ignore. As for unpasteurised packaged juices, one of Marler’s earliest cases was the 1996 E. coli outbreak from unpasteurised Odwalla apple juice. As a result, he won’t go near raw milk or juice. “There’s no benefit big enough to take away the risk of drinking products that can be made safe by pasteurisation,” he says.</p> <p><strong>Raw sprouts</strong></p> <p>Uncooked and lightly cooked sprouts have been linked to more than 30 bacterial outbreaks (mostly of salmonella and E. coli) in the US since mid-1990s. As recently as 2014, salmonella from bean sprouts sent 19 people to the hospital. All types of sprouts - including alfalfa, mung bean, clover and radish sprouts - can spread infection, which is caused by bacterial contamination of their seeds. “There have been too many outbreaks to not pay attention to the risk of sprout contamination,” Marler says. “Those are products that I just don’t eat at all.” He did add that he does eat them if they’re cooked.</p> <p><strong>Meat that isn’t well-done</strong></p> <p>Marler orders his burgers well-done. “The reason ground products are more problematic and need to be cooked more thoroughly is that any bacteria that’s on the surface of the meat can be ground inside of it,” Marler says. “If it’s not cooked thoroughly to 160°F throughout, it can cause poisoning by E. coli and salmonella and other bacterial illnesses.” As for steaks, needle tenderising - a common restaurant practice in which the steak is pierced with needles or sliced with knives to break down the muscle fibres and make it more tender - can also transfer bugs from the surface to the interior of the meat. If a restaurant does this (Marler asks), he orders his steak well-done. If the restaurant doesn’t, he’ll opt for medium-well.</p> <p><strong>Prewashed or precut fruits and vegetables</strong></p> <p>“I avoid these like the plague,” Marler says. Why? The more a food is handled and processed, the more likely it is to become tainted. “We’ve gotten so used to the convenience of mass-produced food - bagged salad and boxed salads and precut this and precut that,” Marler says. “Convenience is great but sometimes I think it isn’t worth the risk.” He buys unwashed, uncut produce in small amounts and eats it within three to four days to reduce the risk for listeria, a deadly bug that grows at refrigerator temps.</p> <p><strong>Raw or undercooked eggs</strong></p> <p>You may remember the salmonella epidemic of the 1980s and early ’90s that was linked mainly to eggs. If you swore off raw eggs back then, you might as well stick with it. The most recent salmonella outbreak from eggs, in 2010, caused roughly 2,000 reported cases of illness. “I think the risk of egg contamination is much lower today than it was 20 years ago for salmonella, but I still eat my eggs well-cooked,” Marler says.</p> <p><strong>Raw oysters and other raw shellfish</strong></p> <p>Marler says that raw shellfish - especially oysters - have been causing more foodborne illness lately. He links this to warming waters, which produce more microbial growth. “Oysters are filter feeders, so they pick up everything that’s in the water,” he explains. “If there’s bacteria in the water it’ll get into their system, and if you eat it you could have trouble. I’ve seen a lot more of that over the last five years than I saw in the last 20 years. It’s simply not worth the risk.”</p> <p><em>Images: Shutterstock</em></p>

Food & Wine

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URGENT RECALL: Popular almond milk brand linked to severe illness

<p>A popular brand of almond milk is being urgently recalled from stores around New South Wales after the product was linked to a case of botulism.</p> <p>Inside Out almond milk, which is stocked at Woolworths, is being removed from the shelves over fears that bottles may contain botulinum, a neurotoxin that can cause disease.</p> <p>NSW Health has confirmed one case of botulism, a rare but fatal illness caused by toxins attacking the body’s nerves, has been linked to the product.</p> <p>The person suffered “severe symptoms” and was admitted to the hospital.</p> <p>The director of NSW Health’s One Health branch said the illness can be fatal.</p> <p>"Early symptoms of foodborne botulism include weakness, fatigue and vertigo," Glasgow said.</p> <p>"While these symptoms occur commonly due to a number of health conditions, with botulism it is usually followed by blurred vision, dry mouth and difficulty swallowing. Nausea and vomiting may also occur."</p> <p>"These symptoms can progress to paralysis of the arm muscles and continue down the body to the trunk and legs, and paralysis of breathing muscles can be fatal." She added.</p> <p>"We are urging anyone who has consumed this product and experiences these serious symptoms to seek immediate medical attention.”</p> <p>Glasgow warned that “most cases” can recover if treated early.</p> <p>"In foodborne botulism, symptoms may begin from a few hours to several days after consuming the contaminated product," she said.</p> <p>Any affected products have a used-by-date of March 1, 2023.</p> <p>The warning comes just a day after a basketball ring set that was sold at leading sports stores across Australia for over two years was also recalled.</p> <p>In late January, Hyundai had to recall thousands of cars to fix a software glitch interfering with the “fail-safe” driving mode, a fault capable of causing a crash.</p> <p>Image credit: Getty</p>

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The most feel-good way to recycle

<p>Long-time Return and Earner "Scooter Dave" has been a keen participant in the NSW container deposit scheme <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">since the program started, and the Illawarra local has returned 500,000 containers in that time.</span></p> <p>Dave gets about on a scooter and any day when weather and health permits, he completes his route to collect rubbish from Windang Bridge in Shellharbour. Along the way he picks up eligible drink containers from residents and businesses who keep them in their yards ready for his scooter collection service. </p> <p>He has donated all of the $50,000 in refunds to many charities, including the Smith Family, the Sydney Children’s Hospital, and children’s ward in Wollongong, bushfire appeals and the Illawarra Convoy. </p> <p>“It gives me something to do, and I know that I am doing something to help people," says Scooter Dave. "People always say that there should be more people like me. There are, but they aren’t cleaning up rubbish like I am.” </p> <p>In a world that’s becoming more eco-conscious, we’re seeing more and more initiatives implemented to reduce the impact we’re having on the planet – from the single-use plastic bans to adopting reusable packaging and recycling. </p> <p>Recycling remains one of the best ways to help protect the environment. The benefits of recycling include reducing the amount of rubbish that ends up in landfill or as litter in our local environment, and reducing the need to extract raw materials from the earth to create new products such as mining raw aluminium to create cans. And with <a style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;" href="https://returnandearn.org.au/?utm_source=over-60&utm_medium=article&utm_content=native-article&utm_campaign=grey-partnership" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Return and Earn</a><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">there are even more direct benefits for you.</span></p> <p>Return and Earn is one of many drink container return schemes that have been adopted around the world, where customers who return their used eligible drink containers for recycling can collect a refund.</p> <p>“With Return and Earn, you earn a 10c refund for every empty can, glass or plastic bottle, carton, juice box or popper that you return through one of its 600 return points across NSW.</p> <p>“Since the scheme launched five years ago, over 8.6 billion containers have been returned for recycling by the NSW public resulting in over $860 million in container refunds back in people’s pockets,” says Danielle Smalley, CEO of Exchange for Change, scheme coordinator for Return and Earn.</p> <p>The scheme is entirely funded by the beverage industry, aiming to place responsibility for container recycling firmly back with the industry. </p> <p>The scheme targets commonly littered items and includes most 150ml to three litre plastic, glass, aluminium, steel, and liquid paperboard containers. Eligible containers featuring the 10 cent refund mark can be redeemed for the refund.</p> <p>“Return and Earn is an extraordinary example of how individual action can have a collective impact,” says Smalley.</p> <p>The environmental benefits of the scheme have exceeded expectations – reducing the volume of drink container litter by 52 per cent compared to pre-scheme levels and sending over 755,000 tonnes of material to be recycled.</p> <p>Plus the Return and Earn app makes recycling your containers even easier because you can check the map to see where the nearest return points are to your location and make sure they’re open. Another fantastic feature on the app is the container checker which helps you avoid taking containers that are not eligible. Simply scan the barcode on your container and the app tells you if it can be returned for recycling at a return points. If not, they can go straight into your household recycling bin.</p> <p><strong>Choose your recycling experience</strong></p> <p>To return your containers, you can choose from four types of return points, depending on what suits you and what is nearby.</p> <p>There are Return and Earn machines - a self-service option where you return your containers one-at-a time. You’ll receive a receipt which is redeemable for cash at the partner redemption location or payment straight to your bank account by downloading the Return and Earn app. There are also Return and Earn Centres which are larger format indoor locations featuring multiple machines inside.</p> <p> <img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/01/Tomra1.png" alt="Return and Earn" width="741" height="423" /></p> <p>For larger numbers, heading to your nearest automated depot is your best option. Here staff will take your bags of eligible containers and process them in their automated counting system called a singulator. Once counted, they’ll provide you with your cash refund. </p> <p>Even local businesses are taking part, with some corner stores, newsagents, fruit shops and some Surf Life Saving Clubs able to take your containers and give you your refund.</p> <p>To find your nearest return point, visit <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/return-points/?utm_source=over-60&utm_medium=article&utm_content=native-article&utm_campaign=grey-partnership" target="_blank" rel="noopener">www.returnandearn.org.au</a>. </p> <p><strong>Top tips for returning and earning</strong></p> <p>When you’re ready to return your first collection of containers, here are some tips to make your experience even easier:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Download the Return and Earn app:</strong> use the app store available on your mobile phone. </li> <li><strong>Sort your containers before you go:</strong> if you’re using a Return and Earn machine, sort your glass containers from your plastic bottles and cans as these are return using separate chutes on the machine. If you’re using an automated depot or an over-the-counter return point, there’s no need to sort. </li> <li><strong>Check if your containers are eligible:</strong> Use the Return and Earn app to check if your containers are eligible for a refund. And make sure they’re uncrushed, with the barcode visible and keep the lid on.</li> <li><strong>Plan your trip:</strong> make sure to check opening times of your nearest return point via the Return and Earn app or website. You can even optimise your trip by checking the busiest and quietest times to visit.</li> </ul> <p>With these tips under your belt, you can make the most of your Return and Earn experience and reap the benefits for your wallet and for the environment.</p> <p><iframe title="YouTube video player" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OYDROMQIDbU" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>For more information, visit <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/?utm_source=over-60&utm_medium=article&utm_content=native-article&utm_campaign=grey-partnership" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Return and Earn.</a></p> <p><em>All images: supplied</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/?utm_source=over-60&utm_medium=article&utm_content=native-article&utm_campaign=grey-partnership" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Return and Earn</a>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

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The verdict: Full fat versus low fat milk

<p>The idea of full low milk being healthier for us began circulating in the 1950s. It was shown that saturated fat increased blood cholesterol levels, with certain statistical evidence leading to the assumption it resulted in higher rates of heart disease and obesity.  </p> <p>This idea is not totally wrong. Full fat milk does indeed have a high saturated fat content, about 65 percent in fact.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.simoneaustin.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Simone Austin</a></strong></span>, accredited practising dietitian and spokesperson for the <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://daa.asn.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Dietitians Association of Australia</a></strong></span> addresses the claims that saturated fat should be avoided when it comes to weight management.</p> <p> “We are still recommending saturated fat should be kept to a minimum as there is still a link between saturated and plasma cholesterol levels, however full cream milk is only 4% total fat and is therefore not a high fat product, depending on quantity of course.”</p> <p>Health and nutrition coach and whole foods chef, Lee Holmes, believes that low-fat milk is a great option for those trying to lose weight.  Even though the fat is skimmed, the milk itself still contains an abundance of calcium and protein, and these are essential to weight loss.</p> <p>“Low-fat milk is better for overall weight control and maintenance as it only contains 0.15% fat as opposed to full-cream milk which contains 3.8% fat” she explains.</p> <p>The New Zealand Ministry of Health recommends enjoying mostly low and reduced fat milk and milk products, as it can reduce the total daily kilojoule intake to aid with weight management. This is generally believed to lead to weight loss and reduced risk of heart disease.</p> <p>However, Simone explains why it is not quite that straight forward. “Fat can give some feeling of satiety. If you are having less milk overall, and it is more filling to have full cream milk, then this might decrease overall volume of food consumed and therefore not be detrimental”.</p> <p>This approach is supported by recent research conducted by <a href="../%20http:/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26746178"><strong>Swedish researchers</strong></a>, looking at the dairy consumption of a group of middle aged men. If found that those who ate full fat dairy products were less likely to become obese over a period of 12 years, compare with men who rarely ate high- fat diary.  This is because the weight-loss effect of reducing saturated fat depends on what replaces it in the diet, which is usually sugar and carbohydrates. Unfortunately, most of us are susceptible to consciously or unconsciously replacing a larger reduction in calories with something else.</p> <p>So, if you drink low-fat varieties of milk in order to reduce calorie intake, you must ensure you are not making up these calories elsewhere for this approach to be effective.</p> <p>However, in your quest for a slimmer waist line, it is important not to overlook other important health factors.</p> <p>Milk is a primary source of nutrients, and according to both Simone and the <strong><a href="http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2032&amp;context=sspapers" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>ABS</span></a></strong>, most over-60s simply aren’t getting what they need.</p> <p>“In New Zealand the annual per capita consumption of milk has declined by 30% in the last 20 years, and 20% of the New Zealand population has an inadequate intake of calcium”.</p> <p>Simone stresses that simply aiming to meet serves is the priority. “Milk also provides a valuable source of protein and as we age our efficiency at using protein reduces, so we need to have a little more”.</p> <p>Lee Holmes echoes this, stating that ideally, people over 60 years of age should be having two to three glasses of cow’s milk daily to absorb the necessary amounts of calcium. If you don’t want to consume that much milk, are lactose intolerant or prefer to opt for non-cow’s milk (such as almond) you need to make these nutrients up elsewhere.</p> <p>“You may want to consider a quality, natural supplement to ensure you are giving your body all the nutrients it needs."</p> <p>So whether it be low-fat or full-fat, say cheers to milk and manage your weight loss in accordance with other health factors.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Food & Wine

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Floods, pandemics, wars and market forces: what’s driving up the price of milk

<p>At the end of 2021, the cost of a litre of home-brand milk in an Australian supermarket <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2021-11-25/dairy-farmers-welcome-woolworths-milk-price-lift/100650118" target="_blank" rel="noopener">was about $1.30</a>. It’s now about $1.60.</p> <p>What will it cost at the end of 2022? That depends on the continued effect of flooding on prime dairy-production regions in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, as well as on global economic conditions.</p> <p>The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science has projected <a href="https://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/research-topics/agricultural-outlook/dairy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a 28% increase</a> in the farm-gate milk price in 2022-23 – to 72.5 cents per litre, a record high. With less milk being produced, it could be even more.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>Australia’s dairy regions</strong></p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/490779/original/file-20221020-19-64n8np.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/490779/original/file-20221020-19-64n8np.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/490779/original/file-20221020-19-64n8np.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=464&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/490779/original/file-20221020-19-64n8np.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=464&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/490779/original/file-20221020-19-64n8np.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=464&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/490779/original/file-20221020-19-64n8np.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=583&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/490779/original/file-20221020-19-64n8np.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=583&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/490779/original/file-20221020-19-64n8np.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=583&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/research-topics/surveys/dairy#financial-performance" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ABARES</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">CC BY-NC-ND</a></span></figcaption></figure> <hr /> <p>It’s a case of higher demand and lower supply. Production has been declining since 2014. In the first half of 2022, ABARES says milk production was about 7% lower than the same period in 2021:</p> <blockquote> <p>This was driven by extreme weather events: a drier than average start of the year in southern Victoria and northwest Tasmania, flooding in regions of Queensland and northern New South Wales. Also, with export prices for Australian dairy products increasing substantially at the start of 2022, less milk was available to the domestic market.</p> </blockquote> <p>Obviously, things aren’t all rosy. Some dairy farmers face the devastation of natural disasters. All face the same post-COVID challenges as other primary producers. Russia’s war on Ukraine has help drive up <a href="https://www.austrade.gov.au/news/insights/insight-farm-food-costs-rise-due-to-higher-energy-prices" target="_blank" rel="noopener">costs of inputs</a>, from fertilisers to <a href="https://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/data/weekly-commodity-price-update/australian-agricultural-prices" target="_blank" rel="noopener">feed</a>. Labour is <a href="https://www.reuters.com/business/australia-needs-workers-million-are-stuck-door-2022-08-31" target="_blank" rel="noopener">hard to find</a>.</p> <p>But for all that, the record high farm-gate price is good news for an industry where the number of farmers has declined by a quarter in the past decade (from <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/DocumentStore.ashx?id=b16a172f-6300-4ee0-918a-b235cf9da725">about 7,500</a> in 2011 to <a href="https://www.dairy.com.au/our-industry-and-people/our-regions">about 5,700</a> now).</p> <p><strong>Deregulation stirs the pot</strong></p> <p>Until 2000, farm-gate milk prices were regulated. State and territory governments set minimum farm-gate prices that maintained farmer income.</p> <p>This was abandoned in July 2000. With deregulation, farmers, processors and supermarkets were set free to negotiate prices.</p> <p>In economic theory, free trade works fine when you have a large number of buyers and sellers, all with the same amount of information about what is happening in the market.</p> <p>But in the milk industry, thousands of producers sell to a handful of milk processors, who then sell to even fewer retailers. The major supermarkets control almost <a href="https://milkvalue.com.au/australian-dairy-market/sales-trends/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">60% of total milk sales</a>.</p> <p>This is not always such a problem. It is not often you hear fresh producers screaming at supermarkets, in what is a very similar arrangement. But with the dairy industry, as noted in a <a href="https://www.agriculture.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/review-report-dairy-industry-code.docx" target="_blank" rel="noopener">2021 report</a> from the Department of Agriculture, Waters and the Environment, there is a “perceived market failure”.</p> <p>Why? It has to do with how supermarkets have used their power.</p> <p><strong>Waging the milk price war</strong></p> <p>To give time for the market to find an equilibrium, the Howard government introduced a “Dairy Adjustment Levy” of 11 cents per litre to support farmers through deregulation. This levy remained in place until 2008, when it was abolished by the Rudd government.</p> <p>Then, in 2011, the “milk war” broke out. Coles had the idea of luring shoppers from Woolworths by selling milk <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/milk-wars-leave-sour-taste-in-farmers-mouths-20120120-1q9st.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">at $1 a litre</a>. Woolworths responded. Aldi joined the move. And the war kept prices artificially low for almost a decade.</p> <p>Supermarkets put the squeeze on processors, who had little option but to accept what was offered for crucial supermarket contracts. Processors then put the squeeze on farmers.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="5TukM" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/5TukM/1/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Many decided the effort was not worth it, and quit farming. Milk production peaked in 2014 then declined.</p> <p>Supermarkets finally abandoned $1/litre milk in 2019, under considerable public and <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-23/milk-wars-whats-at-the-heart-of-dairys-battles/10838390" target="_blank" rel="noopener">political pressure</a> to acknowledge that, after eight years with no increase, some rebalancing was needed.</p> <p>During this time, overseas demand for dairy products has also been increasing, especially in Asia. Now <a href="https://www.dairyaustralia.com.au/westvic-dairy/industry-statistics/industry-reports/australian-dairy-industry-in-focus#.YzA0_nZByM9" target="_blank" rel="noopener">about 32%</a> of Australian dairy production is exported – not as fresh milk, but as cheese, butter and other dairy products. (It takes about 10 litres of milk to make <a href="https://www.dairysafe.vic.gov.au/consumers/dairy-foods/cheese" target="_blank" rel="noopener">1 kilogram of cheese</a>, and 20 litres to make <a href="https://www.dairysafe.vic.gov.au/consumers/dairy-foods/butter" target="_blank" rel="noopener">1kg of butter</a>.)</p> <p>On top of that, lately US and European dairy farmers have had a hard time <a href="https://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/research-topics/agricultural-outlook/dairy#milk-production-to-increase-but-export-volumes-to-fall" target="_blank" rel="noopener">with drought</a>, increasing international prices. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization’s Dairy Price Index increased by more <a href="https://www.fao.org/3/cc1189en/cc1189en.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">than 17%</a> from 2020 to 2021, and is expected to rise another 15% by the end of this year.</p> <hr /> <p><strong>Australian milk production and farm-gate price</strong></p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/486429/original/file-20220926-15788-17niif.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/486429/original/file-20220926-15788-17niif.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=350&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/486429/original/file-20220926-15788-17niif.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=350&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/486429/original/file-20220926-15788-17niif.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=350&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/486429/original/file-20220926-15788-17niif.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=440&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/486429/original/file-20220926-15788-17niif.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=440&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/486429/original/file-20220926-15788-17niif.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=440&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /><figcaption><span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.agriculture.gov.au/sites/default/files/images/ac-sept-2022-dairy-fig-1-2.png">ABARES; Dairy Australia</a></span></figcaption></figure> <hr /> <p>The projected 28% rise in farm-gate milk prices in 2022-23 will bring the value of the Australian dairy production to a record <a href="https://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/research-topics/agricultural-outlook/dairy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">$6.2 billion</a>.</p> <p>Which is good news for the long term sustainability of dairy farming in Australia. You might not appreciate it, but to keep dairy farmers in business, a fair price must be payed for your fresh milk.</p> <p><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><em><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/191064/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" />Writen by Flavio Macau. Republished with permission from <a href="https://theconversation.com/floods-pandemics-wars-and-market-forces-whats-driving-up-the-price-of-milk-191064" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.<!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"Honey, we are about to fight": Woman kicked off flight for hurling water bottle

<p dir="ltr">A woman who was told to get off a flight for not following the rules turned aggressive toward another passenger after she realised she was being filmed.</p> <p dir="ltr">Footage shared to Reddit shows a calm flight attendant asking the woman to take her dog off her lap on a flight to New York from Atlanta.</p> <p dir="ltr">The woman became aggressive when she was told to get off the flight after refusing to take her dog off her lap. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Oh no, no, honey we are about to fight then.I didn’t f***ing do anything to you guys,” she can be heard saying.</p> <p dir="ltr">“My dog was sitting on my lap, I put him in the bag.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The traveller is then offered a refund on her ticket and once again asked to leave the flight before she swears at the flight attendant and everyone.</p> <p dir="ltr">“F**k you. F**k all of you,” she yells as she packs up her belongings. </p> <p dir="ltr">As she packs her bags, someone could be heard shouting at her to “get off the plane”. </p> <p dir="ltr">““I am! Shut the f**k up,” she yells back before noticing another passenger filming her and throws her water bottle at them. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Turn your f***ing phone off!” she yells.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Why is she recording me?” she asks another flight attendant.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Anyone can record anything. You just struck a passenger with a bottle,” the flight attendant responds.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Nobody acting this way flies on a flight with us.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Social media users called the woman out for her disgusting behaviour saying she deserved to be kicked off the flight. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I love how she's wearing pigtails and acting like a first grader,” someone commented.</p> <p dir="ltr">“That dude was such a boss. Calm, cool, and collected the whole time and got her off the plane,” someone wrote. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Now we wait for that person's footage, and also the footage of her getting arrested,” another wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">Watch the footage <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-advice/flights/woman-unleashes-on-plane-throws-bottle-at-passenger/news-story/7887c8bb3bb4ece68aebaae13c7349e9" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Reddit</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Udderly ridiculous: Price of milk next in line for huge hike

<p>With the cost of living soaring, we can now add home-brand milk to the long list of products being hit by significant price hikes.</p> <p>In yet another hit to household budgets, Coles and Woolies will start charging more for the grocery staple, in a move that's being chalked up to rising prices at the farm gate – which in turn are being passed on to consumers.</p> <p>Both supermarkets will charge $1.60 for a litre of homebranded milk, $3.10 for two litres and $4.50 for a family-sized three litre.</p> <p>That's a steep increase of 25c on the one litre, 50c for two litres and a whopping 60c jump on three-litre bottles.</p> <p>Coles will also increase the cost of its long-life UHT milk from $1.35 to $1.60.</p> <p>“The farmgate prices paid to dairy farmers have risen significantly this season, and as a result we’re paying our own brand suppliers more for milk,” a spokesperson for Woolworths said.</p> <p>Coles chief commercial officer Leah Weckert said the company was aware of increased cost of living pressures and remained committed to delivering value to its customers.</p> <p>"Raising prices is never something we do lightly, however, the increased supply chain costs we are seeing, including higher payments to dairy farmers and processors, have necessitated these increases on Coles brand milk products,” she said.</p> <p>Coles started paying its dairy farmers more for their product from the beginning of this month and has also agreed to higher costs asked by processors who source the milk themselves to supply the company.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Man's very own retro milk bar brings '50s shops back to life

<p>An Aussie man has impressed thousands with an incredible replica of an old school milk bar that he created in his home. </p> <p>Sharing his project to the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/504232366322711/posts/5471834082895823/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Old Shops Australia</a> Facebook page, Anthony Launer said he was inspired by his wonderful memories as a child to create his very own vintage store. </p> <p>Anthony built the store at his home in Thailand by bringing over the memorabilia from his native Australia, saying it "really feels like home now".</p> <p>"When you love the memories of the Old Shops so much as a child that you need to create one at home. A mix of wonderful memories all in the one room," the '50s-fan said. </p> <p>The retro room is decked out with vintage signs, advertisements, gas cans, photos, trinkets and even food and drinks. </p> <p>The nostalgic replica store shows how times have changed over the years with Milo being advertised as a 'tonic', cigarette signs a-plenty and displays for long-gone brands such as Bex medicines, Leed Lemonade, and Monkey Brand soap. </p> <p>Anthony's incredible collection awoke memories for many other group members, with the post racking up hundreds of comments. </p> <p>One woman said, "This is where i would sit for my morning coffee for sure, I love it."</p> <p>Another was so impressed they wanted to visit, asking Anthony, "What are your opening hours?!"</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Food & Wine

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James Cromwell glues hand to Starbucks counter in support of animal rights

<p dir="ltr"><em>Babe</em> actor James Cromwell caused quite a stir in a Starbucks after gluing his hand to the counter in support of animal rights.</p> <p dir="ltr">The popular coffee chain recently announced an extra charge for plant based milk which has infuriated the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.</p> <p dir="ltr">Activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals organised the protest, with Cromwell taking the lead and gluing himself to the counter, calling for the surcharge to be removed.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Non-dairy products all over the world…France, they give these things away. There’s no charge for it. Here, there’s an exorbitant charge,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Why, when it’s so important now to address climate change and to understand the violence to animals to go on to make dairy products that are served here? There’s no reason for it except greed.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Police were called to the Starbucks asking the protestors to leave which they did with no arrests made.</p> <p dir="ltr">In a statement, Starbucks explained how customers are also slugged a surcharge when ordering other non-dairy milk with their orders.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Customers can customise any beverage on the menu with a non-dairy milk, including soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, and oat milk for an additional cost (similar to other beverage customisations such as an additional espresso shot or syrup)," the statement read.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Pricing varies market by market."</p> <p dir="ltr">Police were eventually called to the Starbucks and asked the protestors to leave with no arrests made.</p> <p dir="ltr">Watch the video <a href="https://www.facebook.com/official.peta/videos/2237669893078098" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Twitter</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Vodka cruiser reveals giant new bottle

<p dir="ltr">There are plenty of Aussies who would have fond memories of dancing away with a Vodka Cruiser in hand. Fans will be excited to know that the popular ready-to-go drink has had a massive upgrade.</p> <p dir="ltr">In celebration of its 21st birthday and the reopening of dance floors across Australia, Vodka Cruiser will be giving 21 lucky Aussies a chance to get their hands on the impressive 3.1L Double Magnum bottles – available in fan-favourite flavours Wild Raspberry, Juicy Watermelon, and Lush Guava.</p> <p dir="ltr">The winners will be able to invite four friends each to the Magnum Cruiser experience.</p> <p dir="ltr">The humungous bottles, which replicate the classic Cruiser in a glamorous Champagne-esque design, can hold almost 11 standard Cruisers and require two bar staff to pop and pour.</p> <p dir="ltr">Speaking about the launch, Brand Manager of Vodka Cruiser, Michael O’Donoghue said: “It’s been a tough few years for bars and clubs across the country.</p> <p dir="ltr">“While we weren’t able to celebrate Vodka Cruiser’s 21st birthday last year with the ups and downs of the pandemic, we are beyond excited to really get the party started in 2022 by launching the Cruiser Magnums with our partner venues.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Magnum Cruiser experience will be available in Sydney at the Marlborough Hotel; in Melbourne at Billboard The Venue; in South Australia at The Highway and The Jetty Bar; and in Cairns at Gilligans.</p> <p dir="ltr">To enter, you can head over to Vodka Cruiser’s entry page on <a href="https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/c7CACvl1lzI7y7gqLfzkuUy?domain=facebook.com">Facebook</a> and share your favourite flavour of vodka.</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook.</em></p>

Food & Wine

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A supermarket in Britain has removed use-by dates in favour of the 'sniff test'

<p>Image: Getty </p> <p>Grocery chain ‘Morrisons’ is being slammed after announcing a decision to scrap “use-by” dates on milk, instead asking customers to use a “sniff test” to determine if the milk has gone bad.</p> <p>The supermarket will switch to using “best before” dates on 90% of its home brand milk packaging from the end of January, <em>The Sun</em> reports.</p> <p>The date will remain the same but Morrisons is asking customers to not automatically assume the milk is off, but instead sniff to see whether it has expired first.</p> <p>Best before dates indicate that a product will have a better quality if consumed before that day, but use by means food might not be safe to eat after that point and runs the risk of making the customer sick.</p> <p>Morrisons said the move is intended to reduce food wastage, as millions of litres of milk are thrown away each year.</p> <p>It is estimated that 48 million litres of milk are wasted due to customers following “use-by” labels.</p> <p>Research shows milk is often fine to be used days after the use-by date the supermarket said. So yes, customers are being encouraged to smell their milk to check if it has actually gone bad before throwing it away.</p> <p>A sour aroma or curdled consistency are both signs milk has been spoiled.</p> <p>Shoppers took to Twitter to complain about the decision, with many asking how they can smell the milk while in store.</p> <p>However, Morrisons said that won’t be necessary because it won’t sell milk that is near the best before date.</p> <p>One customer said: “So, Morrisons – can we open the bottle in order to sniff it before purchase? Or do we have to go home, sniff it, then bring it back if it’s off?”</p> <p>Another added: “I can open the milk whilst still in Morrisons to check then I guess?”</p> <p>Others pointed out that one of the main symptoms of Covid is losing your sense of smell.</p> <p>“Generations before us have always used the sniff test – and I believe we can too” According to Ian Goode, senior milk buyer at Morrisons.</p>

Food & Wine

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McDonald's introduce cult favourite milk nation wide

<p><em>Image: Getty </em></p> <p>McDonald’s have announced the long-awaited introduction of a cult favorite milk to its menus nationwide.</p> <p>The fast food giant revealed on Thursday the exciting news that oat milk would finally be available for customers to have in their McCafe drinks.</p> <p>“Together, at last. MILKLAB Oat Milk has officially joined the McCafe line-up,” a post from the restaurant’s Facebook account read.</p> <p>In a comment, a McDonald’s employee confirmed extra charges would apply for people who opted to have oat milk, which only be available at “participating restaurants”.</p> <p>The announcement comes as a welcome to hundreds of new Aussies who flooded the comments with excitement over the new inclusion.</p> <p>“I have been waiting so long to get an iced vanilla latte with oat milk from Maccas”, one woman wrote.</p> <p>Someone else joked the news was so good that “this might be the best day of my life”.</p> <p>While McDonald’s is yet to release a full list of stores, it was understood those with a McCafe would stock oat milk.The production of the plant milk contributes 80 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions and uses 60 per cent less energy than cow milk, while also using about ten times less water.</p> <p>It has earned hype among lactose intolerant people, vegans and meat eaters alike for its texture and likeness to cow’s milk.</p> <p>Nutritionists warn, that while it is lower in saturated fat than cow milk, it also contains less protein and calcium.</p>

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