Choice launches better food labelling campaign
‘Shame the Claim’ - the call to find Australia’s dodgiest food labels
CHOICE today launches its Campaign for Better Food Labelling by calling on Australians to ‘Shame the Claim’ – a nation-wide search to find food labels which carry dodgy nutrition claims that make choosing healthy products difficult.
The people’s watchdog says claims like ‘reduced fat,’ ‘low carb’ and ‘high in fibre’ are often used selectively and don’t show the full picture about the overall healthiness of a product.
“Australians are being confused by nutrition claims. Supermarket aisles are littered with products that make ‘99% fat free’ or ‘high in protein’ claims which are often a cover for their high sugar content,” says CHOICE spokesperson, Ingrid Just.
“Similarly, claims like ‘source of wholegrains,’ or ‘low sugar’ may be drawing attention away from a product’s high saturated fat levels.”
CHOICE says time is running out to fix dodgy food labels. Between now and the end of the year, the government has a once in a generation opportunity to act on the Independent Food Labelling Review Panel’s recommendations which include stamping out dodgy nutrition claims on food.
“There is only a small window of opportunity left for the government to fix the food labelling confusion,” says Ms Just.
To illustrate the types of nutrition claims confusing Australians, CHOICE picked a selection of supermarket products which carry some of the more common nutrition claims and analysed them against traffic light nutritional criteria to reveal the real health picture.
“Food manufacturers know that ‘health’ sells and at the moment there is nothing stopping them from slapping nutrition claims on a product, even one that is full of saturated fat or added sugar, to make it appear healthy,” says Ms Just.
CHOICE is today calling on all governments to put the health of Australians first by ensuring that all foods that carry a nutrition or health claim comply with an agreed nutrient profiling system. This system makes an overall calculation based on the healthy and unhealthy attributes of a product. The overall score determines whether a product is healthy enough to carry a claim.
“Without a nutrient profiling system we will continue to see a proliferation of unhealthy products carrying dodgy nutrition claims making it difficult for consumers to make informed food choices. It’s time for the government to act,” says Ms Just.
How to take part in ‘Shame the Claim’
To take part ‘Shame the Claim’ simply visit www.choice.com.au/shametheclaim where you can upload or email through examples of products that carry dodgy nutrition and health claims. You can also mail examples to CHOICE, 57 Carrington Rd, Marrickville, Sydney 2204.
CHOICE will post a gallery of the products carrying the dodgiest claims on the website and will then create the ‘Wall of Shame’ to show Australia’s governments why the time to stamp out dodgy food labels is now.
For other examples of products that carry dodgy food labels and for more information about the CHOICE Better Food Labelling Campaign, including CHOICE’s ‘five steps to fix dodgy food labels’, go to www.choice.com.au/shametheclaim.
• Ingrid Just, CHOICE Spokesperson: 0430 172 669