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Clearer food labels a step closer

Australia and New Zealand government ministers have commissioned a report on clearer and simpler food labelling, to be finalised by the end of the year. Australia and New Zealand ministers responsible for food regulation have called for industry and consumer stakeholders to advise on a system of front-of-the-pack food nutrition labelling by December as part of a push to make it easier for consumers identify and choose healthy foods.

17 Jun 2012

Australia and New Zealand government ministers have commissioned a report on clearer and simpler food labelling, to be finalised by the end of the year.

Australia and New Zealand ministers responsible for food regulation have called for industry and consumer stakeholders to advise on a system of front-of-the-pack food nutrition labelling by December as part of a push to make it easier for consumers identify and choose healthy foods.

The call came at a meeting of ministers early this month that approved the development of a joint Australia-New Zealand standard governing claims for the nutritional content and health benefits of food products.

The meeting also discussed a review of policy guidelines regarding caffeine that is underway.

Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King, said “good progress” had been made on the introduction of front-of-the-pack food nutrition labelling.

Under the plan, all packaged food would carry a standardised, clearly visible and easily interpreted label indicating nutritional content.

“This is an important project that aims to help consumers to make more informed food choices, while fostering a strong and innovative food industry through the development of one front-of-the-pack system that will be widespread, simple and interpretive, for packaged, manufactured or processed foods,” Ms King said.

The issue of food nutrition and labelling has been given renewed prominence following the decision by the Walt Disney Company to phase out junk food advertising on its television channels and websites by 2015.

Australian Medical Association President Dr Steve Hambleton welcomed the move, arguing that commercials often undermine the efforts of parents to encourage healthy eating by their children.

AR


Published: 17 Jun 2012