Defence is partnering with a Tasmanian company that specialises in the production of freeze-dried foods to support growth in food innovation and production.
FILE PHOTO (2015): An Australian Army staff cadet from Royal Military College, Duntroon, combines ingredients during a lecture on ration packs at the Majura training area. Photo by Sergeant Bill Solomou.
Forager Foods has been given access to a Defence facility in Scottsdale, north-east of Launceston, to develop options that would see Defence skills and knowledge for freeze-dried meal production shared with industry.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the partnership demonstrated the versatility of Australian defence industry and its ability to continually improve and grow local capabilities.
“The food production can be for the commercial market, as well as potentially offering products that meet Defence specifications through its combat rations prime vendor Prepack Limited,” Minister Price said.
Local MP Bridget Archer said it was understood Forager Foods would employ a small number of local production workers.
“This partnership is a great example of collaboration between government and private sector,” Mrs Archer said.
“It will likely increase Australian domestic capability to produce freeze-dried ration components, while simultaneously supporting the growth and innovation of Tasmanian industry.
Defence has continued to invest in its Scottsdale facility, with the acquisition of a Microwave Assisted Thermal Sterilisation (MATS) machine for research into shelf-stable, high-quality, ready-to-eat meals.
The MATS machine acquisition was made possible through partnerships with the University of Tasmania and CSIRO under the Centre for Food Innovation (CFI) partnership arrangement.