In a major win for Australian consumers, a new star rating system for food nutrition has been approved by the nation’s food and health ministers in Sydney today!
The star ratings give an overall indication of a food’s nutritional quality and will appear on the front of food packages.
CHOICE was part of the committee that developed the Health Star Rating system, along with representatives of government, industry and the public health groups.
This is great news in assisting people of all ages to make more informed choices on the dietary needs. This overall rating system will help challenge some products that one one feature (like fat content) may be high in other areas, like sugars etc... making food labelling even more factual and functional.
The main features of the new front-of-pack labelling scheme are a star rating and information about key nutrients. The star rating ranges from a half star to five stars (the more stars the better) and is determined by a calculation that considers the good and bad nutritional aspects of the food, providing an objective indication of how healthy the food is.
Nutrient information focuses on what most consumers want to know: sodium, saturated fat, sugars and kilojoules. The information will sit underneath the star rating and be presented either per 100g/mL of the product, or per pack where the product is designed to be consumed in one go.
“Importantly, the health star rating will help consumers make healthier choices at-a-glance, while having key nutrient information up-front will provide additional details that will help inform decisions,” said CHOICE food policy advisor Angela McDougall.
The new front-of-pack labelling scheme will be implemented on a voluntary basis initially. CHOICE will work with industry and public health experts over the next year on a code to guide implementation. Companies then have a year to roll out the labelling. If they fail to do so, food and health ministers say implementation will become mandatory.