Choice: Ministers must act on sugar labels

Consumer advocate Choice has said that Health Ministers must improve food labels so that foods high in added sugar receive lower Health Star Ratings.

“The Health Star Rating system is meant to help people understand which [products] are healthier than others. Health Stars are a good system, but they need to be stronger to help people make easy decisions,” Choice food expert, Linda Przhedetsky said.

“We’re calling for Health Ministers to introduce added sugar labelling on all packaged foods and to ensure that added sugar is more heavily penalised in our Health Star Rating system,” Ms Przhedetsky added.

Sugar labelling

This call comes as new modelling shows how a Health Star Rating algorithm that factors in added sugar could significantly impact the ratings that products are given, with those containing added sugar said to lose up to 2.5 stars.

Healthier products, such as fruit and dairy that contain naturally occurring sugar would gain stars with the new algorithm, it has been said.

A call to Health Ministers

Choice is said to be calling Health Ministers to:

  • Strengthen the Health Star Rating system by properly penalising added sugars, which are not currently required to be clearly listed on food labels.
  • Make Health Stars mandatory to ensure people can make informed choices.
  • Ensure that food labelling food policy development and oversight is free from undue industry influence.
  • Take action on a number of other key changes said to be called for by State Health departments and nutrition experts.

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