[This post was first published in the Fairfax NZ Sunday Star Times on 24 August 2014]
Evidence that A1 beta-casein might be a human health issue has been available for more than 15 years. However, the mainstream dairy industry has always fought against the notion that it might be important. Continue reading
[This post was first published in the Fairfax NZ Sunday Star Times on 17 August 2014]
Back in 1988, Japan was our most important market for both total exports and agri-food exports. Now, some 25 years later, the share of total exports going to Japan has declined from more than 18 percent down to less than six percent. In part this is because of the phenomenal rise of China. Also, in that 25 year period our global exports have increased greatly, so a loss in percentage is not necessarily surprising. But our exports to Japan have been declining in absolute as well as percentage terms. So what went wrong? Continue reading
[This post was first published in the Fairfax New Zealand Sunday Star Times on 10 August 2014]
Last week I wrote how the OECD and FAO secretariats expect many agricultural prices to drop in real terms over the next ten years as supply ramps up across the world. This is particularly the case for staple crops such as wheat, corn and soybeans. However, in the last ten days it has become increasingly apparent that major price decreases are playing out right now in front of us. With the early Northern Hemisphere harvest reports for wheat now coming through, with increasingly positive pre-harvest reports for both corn and soybean, and with existing high global stocks, the prices have all been tumbling.
The first place to look when considering international grain prices is the USA. The USA is by far the most technologically advanced cereal growing country in the world, and has huge global influence. Continue reading
The results of a human trial comparing A1 and A2 beta-casein have been published recently in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which is a high ranking journal of the Nature Publishing Group. The trial demonstrated statistically significant differences in faecal consistency, with the faeces on A1 being overall looser. Also, for those people who on the A1 milk had the looser and runnier faeces, there was very strong evidence (p<.001) that this was associated with more stomach pain, whereas this relationship did not hold on the A2.
The trial was undertaken at Curtin University and led by Associate Professor Sebely Pal. I was part of the analysis and writing team, and I am listed as a co-author. Continue reading
An important paper has recently been published in the journal Peptides reporting the presence of bovine beta-casomorphin (BCM7) in urine of both healthy and autistic children.
To quote directly from the paper:
“The present study, for the first time, demonstrated that autistic children have elevated levels of CM-7 immunoreactivity in the urine (Fig. 1), and revealed the positive correlation between the content of urine CM-7 and the severity of ASD (Fig. 2).” [Note: ‘Bovine CM-7’ as written in this paper is the same molecule as bovine beta-casomorphin-7, i.e. bovine BCM7. 'ASD' stands for autism spectrum disorders.] Continue reading
[This post was first published in the Fairfax NZ Sunday Star Times on 3 August 2014]
New estimates of global food demand and supply through to December 2023 have recently become available in a joint publication from the OECD and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations). One big message is that demand for most products will increase by between 10 and 20 percent from 2014 through to 2023. A second big message is that the overall increase in supply will at least match the increase in demand. Hence, for most products, and particularly the staple grains of rice and wheat, any price increases will be at a lower rate than overall inflation.
[This post was first published in the Fairfax NZ Sunday Star Times on 27 July 2014 with the title 'The power of two in China'.]
Fonterra’s recent announcement that it will partner with the multinational Abbott in the development of its next hub of China dairy farms is significant on two counts. It affirms Fonterra’s previously announced intentions to press ahead with further farm hubs in China now that the second hub in Shanxi Province is under way. That means that Fonterra retains its confidence about long term prospects in China. The announcement also means that Fonterra has found a top notch partner for some of its China operations. Continue reading