Issue 19 pages 22-25

RIRDC-funded Bushfood projects

Completed and current projects (in chronological order)

Mr David Phelps Ph: 07 4658 4400

Australian Native Bushfoods: Processed production potential and including cost evaluation

Denise Hart Ph: 0411852644

Development of an IPM program for the control of quandong moth in
quandong orchards
(please note, this document is in PDF format)
Dr Peter Bailey Ph: 08 8303 9537

Food safety of Australian plant Bushfoods
Prof Ron Wills Ph: 02 4348 4140

Bushfood industry database scoping study

Mr David Tait
Marketing the Australian bushfood industry
Mr Vic Cherikoff Ph: 0298182800
Innovative products from indigenous Australian bushfoods
Dr Michael Forbes-Smith Ph: 02 9385 5788
The prospects of commercialising indigenous boab tubers as vegetables
Mr Peter Johnson Ph: 08 9166 4026
Investigation into safety and food values of certain Prostanthera species
Dr Anne Fulton Ph: 03 9269 1458
Genetic and agronomic improvement of quandong

Dr Ben Lethbridge Ph: 08 8383 6181Evaluating performance of cultivated bushfood plants in SA

Dr Maarten Ryder Ph: 08 8303 8564

Objectives: Diversification of farming practices, with increased and more widespread cultivation of native food plants in southern Australia. Informed decision making on the choice of native food species or cultivars for climatic and soil type zones. Information about quality of produce derived from selected native food species. Specific training of an Abortginal/Torres Strait Islander trainee.

Progress to date: See New Plant Products Sub-program Research in Progress as at June 2000
Cultivation and sustainable wild harvest of bushfoods by Aboriginal
communities in central Australia
Mr Jock Morse Ph: 0889529413
Objectives: The project will investigate horticultural requirements of several central Australian bushfood species to enable them to be grown by Aboriginal groups and become commercially available and review sustainability of bushfood harvest in central Australia so it can be monitored.
Progress to date: See New Plant Products Sub-program Research in Progress as at June 2000

Characteristics of anti-viral compounds in Australian Bush Medicines  (PDF)
February 2000

Ass. Prof. Robert Flower

Projects - 2000/2001

Domestication and improvement of Kunzea pomifera, Muntries


Mr Tony Page
Objectives: Evaluate and select superior varieties for cultivation.

Developing quality assurance safety and marketing standards for the
bushfood industry
Dr Margaret Bailey
Objectives: Provide a template for QA programs and marketing standards using the emerging Davidsons’s plum industry as a model.

Queensland DPI funded research:

Investigating Opportunities for Bushfoods (PDF)


Some labeling information

The use of 'wild', 'native' and 'bushfood' in packaging:

From ANZFA relation to the use of the terms 'native food', 'wild' and 'bushfood' on the labeling of food products...the use of such terms is already regulated under the State/Territory Food Acts, the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) and the State/Territory Fair Trading Acts. The State/Territory Food Acts generally  Prohibit the packaging for sale or the labeling for sale of food (and, in most States, the advertising of food) in a manner that is false, misleading or deceptive. Additionally, the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) and the State/Territory Fair Trading Acts prohibit misleading or deceptive conduct.

Food standards are delegated legislation and therefore cannot overrule an Act of Parliament such as a Food Act. ANZFA would find it difficult to develop any definition for inclusion in the Food Standards Code because:

  • 1. the definitions would need to be consistent with the primary legislative provisions (Acts) referred to above; and
    2. the definitions would need to address not only all the different contexts in which they could be used but also the likely reasonable interpretation that a prospective purchaser may apply in all the different contexts.

Including specific definitions of terms 'native food', 'wild' or 'bushfood' in the Food Standards Code would not provide ideal regulation because:

  • 1. It duplicates or potentially confuses the protection already provided by general legislation;
    2. It is extremely difficult to determine definitions that do not deny consumers access to legitimate information while ensuring that they are protected from false, misleading or deceptive information; and
    3. that the term wild is a legitimate part of the name of the food, even though the food in question is cultivated eg 'wild rice'.
    In determining whether a representation is false, misleading or deceptive, Senior Food Officers agreed that the important points are the overall impression of the product and the interpretation of this impression by a typical prospective purchaser. It is these points that enforcement agencies will consider when enforcing the provisions relating to false, misleading or deceptive representations

The enforcement of food law, including enforcement of the Food Standards Code, rests not with the Authority but with the health departments of individual jurisdictions. Individuals can also take action under the Food Acts and the Fair Trading Acts. No Australian jurisdictions have regulations that deal specifically with the usage of these terms. However, all jurisdictions have laws that prohibit false, misleading or deceptive representations about food.
Senior Food Officers are, however, aware of some concern regarding the possible incorrect use of these terms on food labels

For more information, visit