Food companies urged to add labels to products
The Obesity Policy Coalition has welcomed the Federal Government's move to re-launch the website that facilitates the Health Star Rating label system on packaged foods.
The Coalition Government controversially pulled down the website in February, just 24 hours after it was launched.
The Health Star Rating System is a voluntary front-of-pack labelling system which rates the healthiness of products using a five-star scale. In June 2014, State and Federal ministers voted to reinstate the website, and it has taken until today to be relaunched.
Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the OPC, says the long-awaited Health Star Rating website will make it easier for industry to comply with the labelling system and empower consumers to understand how the system works.
"This website allows food manufacturers to calculate how many stars are appropriate for any food and gives guidance on the most consistent and effective way to use the labelling system," Ms Martin says.
"The OPC is urging all food manufacturers to adopt the Health Star Rating and place it on the front of food packaging as soon as possible."
While the Health Star Rating scheme will not solve Australia's wide-spread obesity problem, the OPC believes it is an important step in the right direction.
"Recent figures show that poor diet is the greatest risk for the burden of death and disease in Australia, followed by overweight and obesity," Ms Martin says.
"We need a comprehensive approach with a range of strategies to tackle this multi-faceted problem. However, widespread adoption of the star system coupled with an educationcampaign is an important step to improving diets and will help to empowerconsumers to make healthier choices."