ACA goes after faux import beer

Guess what? Blogging can change the food system. A few months back I wrote about faux import beer: the beer that looks imported but is actually brewed locally or by some third party. Yesterday, in The Age:

The Australian Consumers Association is demanding clearer, more prominent labels on bottles of foreign beer made locally under licence, to show drinkers exactly what they are buying.

Beck’s, Heineken, Stella Artois, Kirin, Guinness, Kronenbourg and Carlsberg are some of the foreign brands being made here.

The Sunday Age bought a random selection from a liquor store in St Kilda last week. A 330 millilitre bottle of Heineken ($3.39) was brewed in Sydney and a 330 millilitre bottle of Carlsberg ($3.49), which had “Copenhagen, Denmark” and “by appointment to the Royal Danish Court” on the front, was brewed by Foster’s Australia in Victoria.

Now, lets argue about correlation equalling causality.

Future of Fish in the NYT

It’s taking me a while to catch up on my reading at the moment, but Mark Bittman’s overview of the decline of fish is worth a look. From Bittman:

Industrial aquaculture — sometimes called the blue revolution — is following the same pattern as land-based agriculture. Edible food is being used to grow animals rather than nourish people.

This is not to say that all aquaculture is bad. China alone accounts for an estimated 70 percent of the world’s aquaculture — where it is small in scale, focuses on herbivorous fish and is not only sustainable but environmentally sound. “Throughout Asia, there are hundreds of thousands of small farmers making a living by farming fish,” said Barry Costa-Pierce, professor of fisheries at University of Rhode Island.

But industrial fish farming is a different story. The industry spends an estimated $1 billion a year on veterinary products; degrades the land (shrimp farming destroys mangroves, for example, a key protector from typhoons); pollutes local waters (according to a recent report by the Worldwatch Institute, a salmon farm with 200,000 fish releases nutrients and fecal matter roughly equivalent to as many as 60,000 people); and imperils wild populations that come in contact with farmed salmon.

Originally, Last Appetite was going to be about the collapse of fish. Maybe I should revisit that when the fish stocks that have already collapsed hit 50%. Which is possibly now.

Food Pornographers against Internet Censorship

bananas
Bananas!

If you haven’t been following Australian news, the Australian Government is about to embark upon its attempt to censor the Internet (or at least, censor websites and not HTTPS, IPv6, encrypted data or the torrentz, which is where the depraved of Australia will flee to get their porny fix). For me, it is going to be a great time to be working in the “Internet industry” and have the rest of the industry elsewhere laughing at you.

To take a guess, the first websites to be banned as “false positives”, (where a site that the filter says is illegal, but is in fact, not) will be food websites. Who else turns charcuterie objects into a fetish or makes the same volume and diversity of dick jokes about vegetables? These are freedoms that are dear to the heart of many Australians and need defending.

If you’re keen to do something about it, the irrepressible GetUp is running a campaign.

Alternatively:

Call the Minister

Express you opprobrium in person. Call Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy’s office on (03) 9650 1188 and have at them.

Write to the Minister.

A physical letter to the Minister clogs their inbox in a way that email cannot. Mail to:

Senator Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Level 4, 4 Treasury Place
Melbourne Vic 3002

Email the Minister

Pretty much a waste of time, but worth a try. Email Senator Conroy at: minister@dbcde.gov.au.