Health Star Food Rating System Under Review

15:07' 02-08-2017
The Health Star Rating system, a voluntary labelling system that assigns a rating to packaged food from ½ a star to 5 stars, is currently under review, and the public is invited to provide feedback.

    HSR

    Photo: diabetesqld.org.au

    Health Star Rating was introduced in June 2014 by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation. It is intended to assist consumers in making healthier dietary choices, and provides a quick standard way to compare similar packaged foods.

    Health Star Ratings can appear on packs in two general ways. The first shows just the star rating of the product. The second can show the star rating plus additional specific nutrient content of the product.

    The star rating profile is based on a product's energy in kilojoules, risk nutrients (saturated fat, salt and sugars) and positive nutrients (dietary fibre, protein and the proportion of fruit, vegetable, nut and legume content). The ratings are calculated for a consistent measure of 100g or 100mL of the product.

    The Health Star Rating system is voluntary, and only appears on packaged food at the discretion of food manufacturers and retailers. Some products do not have to display the Health Star Rating, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, alcoholic beverages, formulated products for infants and young children, condiments (vinegar, herbs and spices), and non-nutritive foods (tea and coffee).

    Last year, nutritionists Mark Lawrence (Deakin University) and Christina Pollard (Curtin University) criticised the system in The Conversation as “simplistically” attempting to provide dietary advice solely in terms of nutrients. The Australian Dietary Guidelines, they argue, “encourage enjoyment of a variety of nutritious foods from all five major food groups”.

    The system was to be implemented over a five year period, with progress reviewed after two years. The present review has been extended by two weeks. Health Star Rating Advisory Committee Chairman, Dr Kevin Buckett, said Matthews Pegg Consulting has been engaged as an independent reviewer to conduct the five year review of the system. The findings are expected to be provided to the Forum in mid 2019.

    Details of the Health Star system are available at healthstarrating.gov.au.

    People can lodge public submissions online until 17 August at the Australian Department of Health’s Consultation Hub, consultations.health.gov.au.

    Marcia G

     

     

     

     

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Keywords: feedbackhealth star rating systempackaged food

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