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Why are CHOICE and Cancer Council campaigning together? 

CHOICE and the Cancer Council have campaigned together for better front-of-pack food labelling since 2008, when they led Australia’s first consumer research on traffic light labelling. Both organisations agree consumers should have the information they need to make informed, healthier decisions about what they eat. Both have been involved in consultations with government and industry, which resulted in the creation of the Health Star Rating.

Why do CHOICE and Cancer Council care about nutrition labelling? 

Consumers should be able to make informed decisions easily. If they want to buy healthier products for themselves and their families, they should have the information they need to guide them. We know unhealthy choices can lead to obesity, which increases the risk of bowel, breast (post-menopause), oesophageal, kidney, pancreatic and endometrial cancers. Current food labels are confusing and can take a while to decipher, which is no doubt why better nutrition labelling was a top priority in a recent survey of CHOICE members and supporters. 

Why do CHOICE and Cancer Council support the Health Star Rating? 

The star rating will provide at-a-glance information on how healthy a product is. The amount of fat, sugar and salt will be on the front label because research shows this information is important to shoppers. Instead of using inconsistent and unrealistic ‘serving sizes’ and meaningless daily intake percentages, they will be declared per 100g/mL, or for the whole product if it’s meant to be eaten in one go. This will help consumers make informed decisions about what they eat. 

What about traffic lights? 

While CHOICE and the Cancer Council still believe there is sufficient evidence to support the introduction of a traffic light labelling scheme, state and federal ministers do not. CHOICE and the Cancer Council have played an active role in developing the Health Star Rating scheme in place of traffic lights.

Why did the petition targeting health ministers? 

The star rating has already been agreed to by health and food ministers and industry groups. But some food companies want to back away from this commitment. We asked the nation’s health and food ministers to stand by the Health Star Rating scheme. The petition closed on the 29th of November 2013

Won’t the star rating mean more red tape for business? 

The scheme will be voluntary, so any costs to industry will be a matter of choice for individual companies. Many recognise that consumers want and need more information about fat, salt and sugar by virtue of implementing the daily intake system, but that scheme does not meet consumers’ needs.


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