Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Heart Foundation to watch over Health Star Rating

The federal Government has awarded the National Heart Foundation a key role in monitoring the implementation of the new Health Star Rating system.

The Heart Foundation will be responsible for monitoring the uptake of the system by manufacturers and retailers. It will also measure consumer awareness of the system and report on changes to food supply over time.

“The Heart Foundation is leading a team, together with CSIRO and Deakin University, to conduct this project,” National Heart Foundation CEO Mary Barry said.

Last year, the Heart Foundation collaborated with CSIRO to develop a comprehensive food composition database called FoodTrack.

“This will be used for monitoring the implementation of the Health Star Rating system,” Ms Barry said.

FoodTrack contains nutrient and product data for more than 90 per cent of Australian retail food and beverage products, nationally (across Coles and Woolworths stores), and is updated on an annual basis. As data collection is strictly controlled, FoodTrack represents a highly accurate and comprehensive database with up-to-date data, all of which allows for monitoring of the Australian retail food environment.

“This system can be a helpful tool to combat poor nutrition and obesity, which are major risk factors for chronic diseases in Australia, especially heart disease,” Ms Barry said.

The Health Star Rating system is a voluntary front-of-pack labelling scheme developed by the federal, state and territory governments. Working in collaboration with industry, public health and consumer groups, this system provides consumers with a simple way to make an informed choice about their food purchases. The first products using the system were seen in supermarkets last year.

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