I must admit that I get a little annoyed at the way CSIRO scientists wave the flag so strongly and grab the kudos for stuff we already knew about Illawarra plums, pepperberries, rosella and other bush fruits (I hope that keyword doesn’t lead search engines to this weekend’s APEC conference – Bush might own Howard but not our Australian foods – yet).

Recent reports on the antioxidant values of Australian fruits from findings of research on samples I provided to Isabel Konczak at Food Science Australia is great news for sure. As I wrote previously here, prior research at the less PR driven Charles Sturt University made the CSIRO discovery a little like old news but it is always good to get independent laboratories confirming initial findings.

Anyway, “CSIRO tests confirm” that fruits like Illawarra plums, pepperberries, Davidson plums, rosella, Kakadu plums and (from other research) even herbs such as forest anise contain phytochemicals. These phytonutrients have been should to reduce the effects of ageing, degenerative diseases and promote good health throughout our lives. Antioxidants are part of the story and pharmacologically active compounds are another.

Forget what CSIRO commentators say about the Australian food industry being boutique or “we must find out where they grow” and other dumb comments from the peanut gallery. They are Johnny-come-lateys to the authentic Australian food industry and have no real appreciation of its worth or maturity. The ingredients are already mainstream and are constantly being assessed by foreign interests as the new functional foods. They are the next rising thing in the USA judging from the overtures I am getting from several major flavour houses (or should that be flavor houses?).

I agree that we need to grow more but I hope CSIRO doesn’t think that they can drive this as we need production results not just employment for academics. I’m not blaming the researchers themselves. It is just that our government has so poorly funded scientific research in this country for so long that any research effort by anyone is promoted as look what we’ve done for Australia. Luckily we have Howard signing documents with Bush to get access to US technologies, be it for weapons or pumps for the bottom of our emptying dams or the latest in functional foods. Now there’s a plan.

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