Around 200 locals at the beautiful coastal town of Eden earned their living at the tuna cannery until it closed in 1999, priced out of the market by ruthless Thai competitors with giant processing factories whose hygiene is highly questionable at best.
John Henry, a former manager at the facility for 33 years, travelled to Thailand with another manager in the mid-1980s to check the country's processing industry and its standards.
"We looked at sanitisation and they (the Thais) had the best system ever. But when we looked inside their laboratory, there was no one working in there ticking things off. It was all for show," he said.
Most of the canned tuna that is now imported into Australia comes from Thailand, with Sydney's Soul Origin Cafe at the centre of a food poisoning outbreak last month that left seven customers ill with symptoms of the potentially fatal scombroid poisoning. The cafe used the John Bull brand of tuna that is canned in Thailand at the ISA Value Co Ltd factory. Concerns have since surfaced about conditions at the factory, including the alarming assertion that the canned fish is stored at high temperatures out in the searing heat.
A spokesman for Safcol confirmed that, "No canned tuna sold in Australia is sourced in Australia and has not been for many years."
If one positive has to come from all of this then it is that consumers in Australia are now becoming more aware of where the food that they purchase actually comes from.
Source : The Daily Telegraph, 11 March 2015