01.Governments and stakeholders turn attention to front-of-pack labelling
CHOICE has met with officials from state and territory governments, along with key industry and health group representatives, to discuss the development of a single front-of-pack food labelling system.
The meeting, which signals the beginning of the collaborative process requested by ministers, was hosted by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing.
In their response to the Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy (the Blewett Review), ministers rejected the recommended introduction of traffic light labeling and instead called for a system to be developed in collaboration with stakeholders.
While CHOICE believes that a traffic light approach is still the best option based on available evidence, we were pleased ministers committed to an interpretive system.
This involves translating the numerical information already available in the Nutrition Information Panel on the side or back of the pack into a meaningful message that can be easily understood at a glance.
An interpretive system could be created using colours, symbols, words or ratings, but the essence is that the approach has meaning for consumers, helping them compare products and identify the healthier option. Importantly, ministers’ insistence on an interpretive system rules out the flawed ‘Daily Intake Guides’ used by some food manufacturers.
CHOICE has joined with public health and medical groups including the Public Health Association, Australian Medical Association, Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance and Obesity Policy Coalition to call for a system that provides consumers with the information they need in a format they can easily understand.
We will continue to contribute to the collaborative design process to ensure that the consumer interest is front and centre.