In 2008, The Parents' Jury highlighted the issues surrounding food labelling. It aimed to enable parents and children to make well informed decisions about the food they purchase and eat. Being able to easily read and interpret the information presented on the front and back of food packaging is an important step in making healthy choices.
Food Labelling Update
January 2011 saw the release of 'Labelling Logic,' an independent review of food labelling law and policy. Also known as the Blewett Review, (after its Chairman Dr Neal Blewett) the report made 61 recommendations for reshaping food regulations.
The report recommended the adoption of traffic light labelling on food products. This form of labelling will be voluntary in the first phase, but mandatory on products displaying health claims or endorsements. It also recommends ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the system, in order to assess industry compliance and the effectiveness of traffic light labelling in influencing consumer food choices.
Additionally, the report recommended that chain food service outlets should declare the energy content of standardised food items on menus and should be ‘encouraged’ to display traffic light labelling. In a further recommendation, the report proposes a national nutrient profiling system, which would mean all food that carries nutrition, health and related claims, will be required to meet a national profile. For more detail on the report, click here.
In December 2011, the Federal Government announced it would not support traffic light labelling on food. Instead, it has proposed developing front-of-pack labelling with easy to understand nutritional information.
The Government Forum on Food Regulation will consult with representatives from health organisations, industry and consumer groups to develop the new system.
Once the design and content of the labelling is decided, companies may be given up to two years to implement the changes. The Parents' Jury will continue to keep you informed of the progress of this issue.
The case for Clear Food Labelling
Consumers rely on the information they find on packaged food to be accurage and comprehensive. Shoppers should be able to pick any item from the supermarket shelf and easily understand what is on the product. Information also needs to be clear, honest and informative.
In 2008, members of The Parents' Jury said they supported a simple food labelling system, such as multiple traffic light labelling. Earlier this year, we asked you if you wanted traffic light labelling to be introduced on a mandatory basis and 90 per cent of those who responded agreed this is necessary. More