Federal failure on front of pack food labelling


CFA member CHOICE says the Federal Government has failed to put the best interests of Australian consumers first on nutrition labelling, in its position released ahead of the 9 December meeting of food and health ministers.

Almost a year since the report of the independent Food Labelling Review, Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Catherine King, today announced that the Federal Government would not support the expert review’s recommendation for traffic light-style labelling on food products.

“The Federal Government’s response defies the experts’ advice and ignores the public’s appetite for better, more informative food labels,”

says CHOICE spokesperson, Ingrid Just.

“However, the States and Territories still have a once in a generation opportunity to put consumers first at the Food Regulation Ministerial Council meeting.”

The People’s Watchdog is calling on State and Territory governments to show leadership and commit to the introduction of mandatory traffic light-style labelling because it helps consumers make healthier choices.

“Disappointingly, the Federal Government’s announcement suggests that well-resourced industry lobbying is more important than the right of Australian consumers to make an informed choice about the food they eat every day,” says Ms Just.

CHOICE says evidence shows that consumers find the voluntary Percentage Daily Intake system favoured by food manufacturers confusing, and in fact today CHOICE released new research showing it’s based on a bewildering, inconsistent array of serving sizes.

“On the other hand, traffic light style labelling has been shown to make healthy choices easier. That’s why the major independent review recommended a traffic light-style system last January.”

Read the fact sheet comparing the %DI and Traffic Light labelling system. You can also read the CHOICE report into %DI guides which was prepared by the George Institute for Global Health.

1 Comment on "Federal failure on front of pack food labelling"

  1. To be clear the traffic light system is not as simple as a food label having one traffic light on it – green for healthy or red for unhealthy. The UK traffic light system which is the version most people are discussing has 4 traffic lights per label one each for total fat, saturated fat, sugars, salt. This means people need to interpret four traffic lights. For example for most nuts (and I consult to the Australian Tree Nut Industry) they will get two red and two green traffic lights – what does this mean they are healthy or unhealthy? The lunch box favourite sultanas will get the same traffic light order as lollies so are sultanas as unhealthy as lollies or are lollies as healthy as sultanas. Traffic Lights are no more easy to understand than the AFGC’s Percentage Daily Intake Guide. Perahps healthy whole foods don’t need traffic lights and they should only be used on processed foods.

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