In April, the first company in Australia started voluntarily using the Health Star Rating system to show the nutritional information about saturated fat, sugar, sodium and energy content in it’s food products.
The system is shown as a star rating ranging from half to five stars, with five being the healthiest.
Although there has been a lot of concern raised with the food industry about the potential issues associated with showing a complex situation as a simple rating of stars, there is a strong call by the Cancer Council for more business to adopt the system.
The intent of the system is to quickly show customers and consumers the relative health benefits of a specific food through a simple rating system.
The difficulty with the system is ensuring consistency of the nutrients in the product and therefore complying with the rating shown on the packaging. This difficult is due to processing changes but mainly from the variability of raw materials.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson, Katie Clift, said; “Star ratings will help Queenslanders choose healthy food and avoid unhealthier options that increase the risk of obesity and cancer. The system is simple, easy to understand, and improves on the current standard which often makes product information confusing for consumers. We hope more Queensland food producers will follow this lead, adopting and fully complying with all aspects of this new system. Effective front-of-pack labelling has the potential to reduce consumers’ intake of kilojoules, saturated fat, sugars and sodium – leading to reductions in obesity rates and a range of chronic diseases.”
More information about the Health Star Rating can be found here
Written by Rachelle Williams – the Green Food Safety Coach