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Australia introduces Star-Rating-System for packaged foods

More than four million Australians are obese, and almost 10 million are overweight. One in four children are overweight or obese. To fight the obesity in Australia, Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek and Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Shayne Neumann announced the introduction of a Star-Rating-System for packaged foods. “Front-of-Pack-Labelling will support consumers to make healthier food choices by giving them at-a-glance information about the food they buy,” Ms Plibersek said.

The Health-Star-Rating has been designed to replace the industry’s flawed Daily Intake Guide and the onus will now be on food companies to implement the system widely so that consumers can quickly compare products and make better choices about what they eat, comments CHOICE, the leading consumer advocacy group in Australia. 

Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Shayne Neumann said that the star rating is underpinned by a modified Nutrient Profiling Scoring System. “In short, the more stars, the healthier the food.”

The implementation will be voluntary by the food industry and followed by a two-year evaluation phase. In case of inefficacy, a mandatory approach will be required. The process will be accompanied by the Australian consumer organisation CHOICE, which will work with industry representatives on the rollout of the scheme. CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland says: “In particular we welcome the time frame ministers have imposed on the implementation of the labelling scheme which, in the first instance, will be voluntary. This puts the onus on industry to embrace the Health-Star-Rating or face a mandatory approach.”

 

More information:

http://www.choice.com.au/media-and-news/media-releases/2013-media-releases/new-star-rating-to-help-consumers-choose-healthier-products.aspx and http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/238E1ABB49D7FFDCCA257B8A0010536F/$File/TP064.pdf

Source: Australian Ministry for Health