News (29)

Australian food products receive a new look with country-of-origin label

Food products from Australia don a new country-of-origin label in its packaging.

In an effort to standardise and authenticate food products sold in Australia, the government along with Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) implements a new Information Standard that includes a country-of-origin labelling system—Country of Origin Food Labelling (CoOL) Information Standard 2016. This label explains where the raw materials and/or the product itself was made.

The label consists of a bar chart, descriptive text, and with or without the kangaroo.

The new label is required for all food products intended for human consumption and retail sales in Australia—including imported goods. It mainly covers priority food—meat, seafood, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, cereals, bread, nuts, honey, and non-carbonated fruit juices—and may be optional for non-priority food—seasonings, confectionery, biscuits and snack food, bottled water, sodas and sports drinks, tea and coffee, and alcoholic beverages.

Additionally, it can be classified according to production requirements: ‘Grown in’—ingredients are grown in Australia; ‘Produced in’—products manufactured in Australia; and ‘Made in’—major processing or the last substantial transformation occurred in Australia. On the other hand, ‘Packed in Australia’ is used for products packed in the country, yet do not meet the requirements to claim to be grown, produced or made in Australia.

Through this new country standard, Australians can help give out support to their local farmers and food producers as it will be easier for them to spot which products are grown, produced and made locally. Although exported food products are required to have this label on their packaging, those who do so will give consumers assurance about their products. Thus, this standard provides more safety for consumers by restricting suppliers from giving misleading information about where their food came from.

To make sure that businesses are complying with the new standard, the ACCC conducts market surveillance checks on about 10,000 food products.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019 17:47

How to shop your groceries like a pro

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How to shop your groceries like a pro

Going on a trip to the supermarket is a tricky task. Admit it, you never go grocery shopping and come out with what you just really came there for, you always come out more than what your shopping list says--like that bag of salty crisps that is “on sale” or that pack of sugar-filled juice that you got “3 for the price of 1”. You feel so proud of yourself afterwards because you think you got a sweet deal, but did you really? Or were you just tricked into consuming more than what you planned?

Here are some ways to help you shop like a pro to save money and choose the healthier option as well:

  1. Make a list and stick with it

Plan ahead of what items you’ll need. It helps to make a meal plan for the week which also includes the odd treat(s) and use it to make your list. And make sure you see through that list and stick with what is only included. This enables you to be more in control as well as stay within the budget.

  1. Eat first, before shopping

Avoid shopping with an empty stomach as it makes you think less rational and reach for sugary foods. It’s easier to get tempted when you’re hungry. A full bladder helps as well since it gives you less time wandering around the aisles. 

  1. Reach up or crouch down for that product

All items in the supermarket are strategically placed and are always in favor of the best-selling products. Products in the eye-level shelves are those that are best-sellers or at times paid to be placed there by big manufacturers and distributors. It has been already proven that shoppers are less likely to reach up or crouch down and instead stick with those they can easily see and reach regardless if the extra effort yields to the healthier choice. So, instead of just going through the store and reaching for the easier products, opt to stretch up or bend down for the other options laid out for you, it saves you money and it’s a good bit of exercise too!

  1. Don’t be fooled by bargains

Most often than not, manufacturers still make a profit out of those deals that you think are a good cop. Don’t fall for those mindless promotions that are set to trick you because it only makes you buy and consume more and none of it is a win-win situation. When you are faced with more than the usual amount of food, you tend to eat more making you gain that extra bad kilojoules.

  1. Inspect food labels

If you are skeptic about how better options are placed out of your reach, check and compare nutrition panels. You can read more about understanding food labels here (insert link for article about food labels).

  1. Carry that basket

It’s better to shop using a basket instead of the trolley as it makes you second guess whether it’s worth to carry that extra weight of unnecessary product. With this in mind, it cuts down impulses to buy items that are not on your list.

  1. Skip the queue and go for the self-checkout

Those products placed by the till are meant influence you to make an impulse purchase. You don’t really need that chocolate or sweets, don’t add it to your stuff. Avoid that temptation by opting for the self-checkout or those “junk-free” checkouts.

  1. Master the layout of the supermarket

If you know where and which aisles the products you need are placed, it will be easier to navigate around the store. This way, you can avoid passing through aisles that will only tempt you to pick out items you won’t need.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019 17:30

More support provided to farmers of South-West Victoria

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More support provided to farmers of South-West Victoria

Last year, March 2018, a fire devastated south-west Victoria—ripping through Gazette, Garvoc, Terang, and Gnotuk--wherein over 18,000 Ha of prime dairy farmland got caught including 56 dwellings, 3,000km of fencing, and about 1,000 heads of dairy livestock, making this the worst fire conditions of the season. 7,000 tons of fodder were also destroyed, to which was replenished by generous donations. The first to respond were the emergency services from all over the state including the Country Fire Authority (CFA), State Emergency Services (SES), Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFM VIC), Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB), Victoria Police, and Ambulance Victoria. While relief agencies including Australian Red Cross, Victorian Council of Churches, Salvation Army, and local council, and health services immediately put up relief centres for more than 800 people who needed help, guidance, and support.

After the catastrophe, the community and dairy industry organisations rallied to show support for those who were affected. According to WestVic Dairy’s Dairy Recovery Coordinator, Helen Chenoweth, some farmers are attempting to restore their properties on their own recognizing them as a ‘tough bunch’.

Efforts to help farmers and those affected are continuously provided. Grants were made available by the government and other organisations. For instance, WestVic Dairy and Agriculture Victoria are offering one-on-one advice on pasture recovery as well as fodder budgeting to further hasten recovery. Additionally, the region delivered Occasional Counsellor workshops wherein simple and practical strategies are taught to assist farmers.

Having “others are worse off” mentality, service providers aim to help farmers’ mental health and provide emotional support. And based on the ongoing workshops, those who participated shared that through this effort, they gained confidence in discussing sensitive topics.

Aside from these, a Community Relief Fund was launched by Emergency Management Victoria in partnership with Bendigo Bank. The Fund supports communities affected by the fires which destroyed homes and farmlands. It allowed the public to donate money directly through a formal channel. Bendigo Bank branches and network are in-charge with the collection and distribution of the funds donated. Other banks like Cobden and Camperdown Community Bank also participated in this project by providing an initial of 5,000AUD into each Community Relief Fund.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019 17:12

Saputo takes over Murray Goulburn

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Saputo takes over Murray Goulburn

Global dairy giant Saputo last week settled a $1.3 billion takeover for Murray Goulburn, in what is one of the quickest transactions in an industry notorious for being able to get farmers' approval for deals. Just two years ago, Murray Goulburn was suffering a crisis. Ari Mervis, the chief executive was tasked to do a repair job of the company. He needed to manage the market share and put the cooperative on stable footing. He knew that capital is essential to cooperate. So many competitors are waiting. It wasn’t going to be an easy task for him to get the company to recover. The group's former managing director Gary Helou had embarked on an aggressive expansion strategy that drove up debt and left the company exposed to falling milk prices.

The company Murray Goulburn ended up cutting milk prices paid to its farmers, forcing them to cull herds, quit their farms or switch to rival processors. The production of milk was in a free-fall which became a big problem for them because they are low-margin processing business with a fixed cost base.

Mervis strategised a “restructure” for the company. But of course they needed capital to do it. They hired Alex Cartel, head of mergers and acquisitions in Deutsch bank. Murray Goulburn's milk supplies were tanking at a far greater pace than expected. Just two years earlie, it collected a record 3.6 billion litres of milk from farmers. By the time Longstaff was brought in milk supplies had sunk to 2.7 billion litres and were falling fast. It is forecasting an intake of 1.9 billion litres this financial year, losing its place as the nation's biggest processor to New Zealand co-operative Fonterra.

Murray Goulburn is in a bad position, the less milk is collected, the less profit they made. The less profit they made, the harder it was to pay high milk price and remain their competitive position in the market. They knew that it was getting worse than expected.

Murray Goulburn experienced a “Spring flush”, milk production rises and dairy herd calves(fresh cows make more milk) they have their ups and downs. But by the end of 2017, capacity would free up, allowing competitors to offer higher milk prices and win over farmers of Murray Goulburn to their operations.

Mervis set a meeting about a deadline for their farmers and unit holders. He wanted to put a proposal to have certainty on their farmers, and stop further milk losses. The Murray Goulburn board, led by John Spark, wanted more than just a fair price for its assets.

It wanted to enshrine some co-operative principles from would-be corporate buyers. It wanted a better milk price for its farmers and commitments to pick up milk from all of them. This would protect those farmers that were a fair distance from processing assets that some corporate processors may bypass. It also needs a fair price for their unit holders.

The likely favorite for a deal was Kidder Williams advised Bega Cheese. It is a homegrown hero that could win over farmers and regulators. Saputo chief executive Lino Saputo Jnr, who beat Murray Goulburn and Bega for nearby Warrnambool Cheese & Butter in 2013, knew that winning any deal would require winning the hearts and minds of farmers, and doing so early.

Its $1.3 billion deal included $114 million in milk price payments to farmers – a measure designed to retain supply and, therefore, protect the business it was buying. It agreed to pricing and milk collection "into the future".

When the board accepted the bid, Lino Saputo goes on a business trip across country Victoria, meeting Murray Goulburn farmers and selling the merits of its proposal. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) weren’t happy. They had concerns about the competition.

Instead of walking away, Saputo agreed with the ACCC to sell Murray Goulburn's Koroit plant in western Victoria – one of three biggest assets in its stable. The regulator approved the deal on April 4, just one day before farmers were due to meet in Melbourne to vote on the transaction.

The farmers were on board. Nearly 96 percent agreed to sell to the Canadians.Saputo is now looking to regain market share, aiming to grab 600 million litres of milk and boost intake to 2.5 billion litres.

Much has been written about the disastrous retrospective milk price cuts. But industry and banking sources say the structure established by Macquarie created a straitjacket for management. It tied dividends to a milk price. It tied also executive remuneration to a milk price. It was a structure that worked in good times, but left the co-operative exposed in bad times.

With the ongoing severe drought in Australia, its agriculture continues to suffer. Based on the recent forecast of the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), farm production drops by 3% to A$59 billion this 2019-2020 season. Additionally, earnings from exports will also decrease by 4.5% with the decline in beef, wool, lamb, and cotton. Due to this phenomena, Australia-owned grain giant, Manildra Group was forced to import high protein wheat from Canada until the end of the year. The imported wheat will also be processed into gluten and starches that are needed for food and industrial manufacturing.

Australian drought affects agriculture and dairy industry

ABARES assures that despite the forecast of a drier and warmer than average winter by the Bureau of Meterology, the reports for spring could increase the country’s grain production.

Because of the fall in the supplies of grain, livestock and cattle industry are gravely affected as well. Exports value for livestock is to drop by 11% while the cattle herd faces an all time low since the 1990s with a head count of 25 million. Aside from imports on grain, as fodder costs reached extreme heights, farmers were compelled to import processed stockfeed while producers protract off loading of cattle. For two consecutive months, female cattle kill have reached 58%. Furthermore, breeding stock are being sold for premature slaughters. A similar occurrence is happening with the lamb industry.

Meanwhile in southern Murray-Darling Basin the price of irrigation water has escalated over the past season. For the farmers of cotton and rice, the increase on price means that their interest in growing crops will be low, leaving immense areas of the NSW Riverina with no plants to grow.

ABARES reported that between the 2017-18 and 2018-19 season that Australia’s cotton production decreased by fifty percent (50%) , and that in the upcoming 2019-20 season a forty percent (40%) drop would also occur.

Dairy farmers are also caught in the dry spell, with high water price and a decreasing margin between cost and profit, for dairy farmers this situation has already hit the fan.

Even at a low culling price dairy cow population is still dropping for the past three years and an eight percent (8%) decrease in milk production was also reported by ABARES, for 2018-19.

ABARES also expect that the average farm gate milk price will increase by 47.6 cents per liter helped by the falling Australian dollar.

Despite the misfortunes caused by the draught, confidence is still growing based on a survey by agri-lender Rabobank. They still believe that late rains will be able to at least decrease the impact brought by the tremendous drought.

Thursday, 18 July 2019 15:13

Understanding Food Labels for a Healthy Diet

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In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, as much as everyone would like to be healthy, most fail as they see it as an extra task and just don’t have the time and energy to exert the extra effort. But who says it should be bothersome? The trick to start shredding some extra pounds or just simply wanting to live healthy is by choosing the healthy options. How? By understanding how to check food labels, shopping for nutritious food will be easy and you’ll surely make better decisions.

But with all the food products available in the market, where do you start? We narrow things down by first learning which kinds of food are best for you through the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.  

Happy Valley Dairy - Understanding Food Labels for a Healthy Diet

This chart shows everyday food can be categorised into five (5) groups (grains, fruits and vegetables, proteins, dairy, and healthy fats) and distributed it according to the amount it could be consumed. This will guide you on which type of foods you could indulge most as well as those that should be taken moderately and in little portions. So, before you start picking out foods, identify first where on these 5 food groups they belong. But of course, if your goal is to lose weight, then it would be best to stick with the main food groups and abstain from those loaded with extra kilojoules, sugars, and fats. Once you’ve figure it all out, it’s time to check on the food labels.

Every food package is required to have a nutritional information panel. This indicates product-specific information such as serving size, kilojoules, and dietary information which includes fats, sodium, and fiber content. By looking through it, you will be able to compare similar packaged food products and also see whether that snack you’ve been eyeing is worth the kilojoule. 

Here’s how you inspect the nutritional panel: (

Happy Valley Dairy - Nutritional panel

Additionally, a new labelling scheme called the Healthy Star Rating (HSR) System has been developed in Australia and New Zealand that gives shoppers a much simpler view of the relevant nutritional information (energy, saturated fat, sugars, sodium, and nutrient) including an overall health star rating. Thus, it helps make you easily decide which food products to choose by just comparing stars. More stars mean it’s a healthier option for you. See, choosing the healthy option is easy-peazy!

Happy Valley Dairy - Healthy Star Rating

Aside from these nutritional facts and guides, you should also be cautious with nutrition content and health claims. Just because that snack claims to have ‘reduced fat’ means you can go and grab it. Make sure to check the label first and see whether its ingredients and nutritional value support its nutrition content claim. Meanwhile health claims can be classified into two (2): general level and high-level health claims. The first involves a certain substance or content that has an effect to a health function, while the latter states that a particular nutrition content can prevent a severe disease. Nevertheless, these claims are now subject to a criteria and standards by the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand.

Being skeptic isn’t always negative, it pays to be particular and mindful of what you feed to your body. And efforts put into being healthy are never wasted nor unnecessary. After all, what will you lose if you choose to live healthy?

Good News! Australian Fine Foods is now CAC HACCPVER:2003 - CODEX HACCP accredited.  Our mission to be internationally recognised as the premium Australian exporter of quality foods and quality service. We will continue to deliver the finest, freshest Australian products in the best condition, without exception. Our service is on time, every time – throughout Asia-Pacific and beyond. 

“This is to certify that: Australian Fine Foods Pty Ltd ABN 39 007 132 336 57-73 Lambeck Drive Tullamarine VIC 3043 AUSTRALIA operates a FOOD SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM which complies with the requirements of CAC HACCPVER:2003 - CODEX HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) for the following scope The procurement storage and dispatch of packaged chilled, frozen and ambient food products.

Certificate No: FSM44342

Issued: 5 April 2019

Originally Certified: 5 April 2019

Expires: 4 April 2022

Current Certification: 5 April 2019”

Reference: Australian fine foods CAC HACCPVER:2003 - CODEX HACCP Certificate.

Australian fine foods CAC HACCPVER:2003 - CODEX HACCP Certificate

At Australian Fine Foods we are proud to offer our services to you, backed by ISO accreditation. We remain committed to our promise of delivering you the finest foods on time, every time. You don’t just have to take our word for it.

“This is to certify that: Australian Fine Foods Pty Ltd ABN 39 007 132 336 57-73 Lambeck Drive Tullamarine VIC 3043 AUSTRALIA operates a QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM which complies with the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 for the following scope. The procurement storage and dispatch of packaged chilled, frozen and ambient food products.

Certificate No: QEC29148

Issued: 5 April 2019

Originally Certified: 1 May 2012

Expires: 30 April 2021

Current Certification: 5 April 2019”

Reference: Australian Fine Foods ISO Certificate

Australian Fine Foods ISO Certificate

Taste the Australian Food Show - Australian Ambassador to Taiwan Gao Gerui and Australian celebrity chefs on-site cooking

In response to the Australian office's representative Gary Cowan's theme at the Australian National Day reception earlier this year, "Share the treasures with Taiwan and create a better future." Taiwan is a very important trading partner of Australia. Australia is Taiwan's fourth largest supplier of agricultural products and food. The main items exported to Taiwan are beef and mutton, cereals, wine and dairy products. Taiwanese consumers are in supermarkets. You can also buy many high quality ingredients and drinks from Australia.

With Taiwan's increasing emphasis on food safety, personal health and quality of life, Australia has a pure, non-polluting natural environment, coupled with strict hygiene and safety standards and quarantine checks, making Australia's rich and safe ingredients and food increasingly vulnerable. Taiwan's restaurant industry and consumers are welcome.

Taste the Australian Food Show - Australian Ambassador to Taiwan Gao Gerui and Australian celebrity chefs on-site cooking

In view of this, the Australian office held this year's "Taste of Australia" food exhibition at the Far East International Hotel in Taipei on March 14th, hoping to introduce more Australian quality food to Taiwan, the most highly regarded of which is the use of grain raising. Howstin beef, which is rich in natural nutrients such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for more than 100 days, is the first choice for the oldest. There are also red-shrimp shrimps caught in the waters of the 200-300 meters deep waters and the natural and pollution-free Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The live shrimps are immediately frozen on the boat and the meat is fresh and sweet. And gin, edible oil, yogurt, health care and baby food.

Taste the Australian Food Show - Australian Ambassador to Taiwan Gao Gerui and Australian celebrity chefs on-site cooking

Gao Gerui stressed that the trade between Australia and Taiwan is the main reason why we can find pure, green, high-quality and trustworthy Australian food and beverages in Taiwanese restaurants, restaurants and households. But the point is, if you are not open to trade and competition, you can't understand the benefits of trade. Australia's openness to trade has helped the agricultural sector improve productivity and product quality, as well as higher incomes for farmers and rural areas. At present, two-thirds of Australia's agricultural products are exported overseas every year. When Taiwan hopes to increase agricultural exports, find new markets and increase rural incomes, continuing the process of agricultural trade liberalization will give Taiwan farmers and consumers more benefits.

I boarded Yushan in October last year and rode a bicycle to Huadong for public welfare. Gao Liru, a representative of the Australian office who is very fluent in Chinese and very fond of food, is an Australian food ambassador with Australian chef Harley Gerlach. The food show kicked off the show. The culinary show is made with Australian Antarctic ice fish, sashimi-grade red thorn shrimp and Korean beef, and made into a dessert with Australian national food Vegemite concentrated vegetable spread. Among the demonstrations, the Heshideng beef is more nutritious than the general shepherd beef. It has rich oil-flower distribution, low melting point of oil, and retains the sweetest flavor during cooking. It is soft and juicy. The delicious eating experience is similar to Australia and cattle.

Taste the Australian Food Show - Australian Ambassador to Taiwan Gao Gerui and Australian celebrity chefs on-site cooking

While sharing Australian food with Taiwanese consumers, the Australian office representative Gao Gerui is also a champion of Taiwanese food. When the Taipei Michelin Guide was released last year, he also asked the secretary to buy him a special book. I heard that Michelin in Taipei in 2019. The food guide will be released next month, and the high representative is also looking forward to it. (Prohibition of drunk driving, excessive drinking, ̇ harmful health)

Reference: Commercial Times(ctee) :

New market engagement program trialled in key Southeast Asian markets

A new and improved market engagement program has been trialled by Dairy Australia’s Trade and Strategy team in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Featuring key elements of Dairy Australia’s long-running and highly successful Southeast Asia scholarship program, the revitalised market access initiatives were rolled out in Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City and Manila in December 2018.

Participants from the annual scholarship program were encouraged to continue their involvement by nominating up to three of their colleagues for a one-day workshop.

During the workshops, participants had the opportunity to learn more about the principles of Australia’s dairy food safety system and the Australian dairy market.

Dairy Australia international market access manager Stewart Davey said the new process of targeted information sharing provided additional benefits to alumni across the region.

“We are strengthening the ongoing relationship we have with key dairy industry companies in each of these key markets,” Mr Davey said.

“In doing so, we are able to leave participants with a better understanding of Australia’s role as a key supplier of safe, high quality dairy products.”

By visiting key export markets, Dairy Australia was able to engage directly with younger participants who had not yet had the opportunity to visit Australia.

Those who attended the workshops have been inspired to apply to participate in the full scholarship program, and gain firsthand knowledge and understanding of the food safety systems being applied throughout the entire dairy supply chain.

Building on the momentum from its 2018 trial, Dairy Australia will continue to roll out refreshed market access programs in other Southeast Asian markets in early 2019.

For more information on Dairy Australia’s market access program, visit:

Second Taste Australia event showcases premium Australian produce

Australia’s finest produce was on full display in one of the nation’s key export markets last month, in an effort to reinforce Australia’s position as a key supplier of premium food and wine.

Four of Australia’s key Rural Development Corporations (RDCs) joined forces to stage the latest Taste Australia event at the New World Hotel in Beijing, in a combined effort to highlight the quality of Australian agricultural products.

It was the second event organised by the collaboration partners – Dairy Australia, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), Hort Innovation and Wine Australia – following a successful event in Shanghai earlier this year.

China is Australia’s largest dairy export destination, with a total export volume of 230,364 tonnes in 2017-18, accounting for 27% of Australia’s dairy exports.

More than 100 guests attended the latest event, including key customers of Australian food and wine, as well as Chinese media and government representatives.

Australian Ambassador to China Jan Adams also attended and addressed the event.

Dairy Australia international market manager Sarah Xu said the Taste Australia events continue to strengthen Australia’s global reputation for premium food and wine.

“These events are vital to ensuring that China, as one of Australia’s key dairy export markets, is reminded of just how premium the quality of our food is,” Ms Xu said.

“The events are an opportunity for key Chinese stakeholders to learn more about Australian produce, the quality of our foods and the stories of our farmers.

“Guests depart with an even greater appreciation of the outstanding food and wine Australia has to offer.”

China Dairy Industry Association Ms Meiju Liu said the Taste Australia event shared and promoted fine Australian cuisine.

“During the event, the hosts set up a display stand with a range of Australian dairy products, which was greatly appreciated by the event participants,” Ms Liu said.

The event included a full run sheet which featured a joint media session with each of the RDCs.

A number of Chinese media outlets took part, including BQ Weekly, Global Gourmet magazine, Absolute magazine,, and AoHua Interactive Technolgy Ltd.

“The Chinese media was particularly interested in the history of food and wine production in Australia, as well as the natural environment of our production areas,” Ms Xu said.

“The media were also keenly interested in the strengths of our production when compared with our competitors, as well as the innovation of our agricultural industries and the future outlook of supply into the Chinese market.”

Guests were treated to display areas to sample products from each industry, as well as a cooking demonstration featuring Australian ingredients by Aussie chef Tim Hollands.

Prizes were awarded to guests who correctly answered questions about each agricultural industry, while the event also included a formal dinner which featured premium Australian ingredients and wines.

The Taste Australia event was bookended by a welcome address by MLA international markets manager Michael Finucan, and a keynote speech by Ms Adams.

Dairy Australia is committed to building on the success of this year’s Taste Australia seminars and conferences, and to working with other RDCs to promote Australian agricultural exports to China.

To find out more about Australian dairy exports and read the latest figures, download the Dairy Industry In Focus report here:

Photo: Australian Ambassador Jan Adams joins Dairy Australia international market manager Sarah Xu at the dairy display stand, prior to the Taste Australia dinner commencing


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