01.Food industry sidesteps dodgy labelling
Background to Shame the Claim
The food industry’s response to CHOICE’s Shame the Claim campaign has missed the point and simply added to consumers’ confusion. CHOICE launched its Better Food Labelling campaign with Shame the Claim on Tuesday 20 September, highlighting the extent of the food labelling confusion that is making it difficult for consumers to make healthy choices.
Shame the Claim calls on Australians to join in the search for the dodgiest food labels – those that use selective nutrition claims, such as 99% fat free, reduced salt and high fibre without telling the full nutrition story.
How some in the food industry have responded
In responding to Shame the Claim, some food industry members have talked about health claims* and misleading claims, both of which are already against the rules. CHOICE’s Shame the Claim is squarely focused on selective nutrition claims – claims that are currently allowed but that don’t tell the full nutrition story. If these claims contravened existing regulations, we wouldn’t need to campaign for change.
Some food manufacturers have also tried to deflect attention from their selective claims by talking about serving sizes. However, CHOICE says that a percentage is a percentage. Whether it’s a single muesli bar, 100 grams or an entire box, 30% sugar is 30% sugar. If the same product is also making claims about being ‘20% wholegrain’ and a ‘source of fibre’, this is not telling the full story. CHOICE’s Better Food Labelling Campaign is shining a spotlight on labels that make these selective claims.
What CHOICE wants
The people’s watchdog wants the federal, state and territory governments to act on the recommendations of a major, independent review of food labelling and fix these dodgy food labels by requiring products carrying nutrition claims to comply with a nutrient profiling system.
Find out more about Shame the Claim
You can read more about CHOICE’s Shame the Claim and our five steps to fix dodgy food labels.
* The only health claim currently allowed is in relation to folate.