The collaborative work of the front-of-pack labelling Steering Committee, Project Committee, Technical Design Working Group and Implementation Working Group is progressing. Outcomes of meetings held to date (in chronological order) are:
Steering Committee Meeting 1 - 15 March 2012The meeting discussed the need for broad stakeholder engagement in the development of a front-of-pack labelling labelling system and endorsed membership of a multilateral stakeholder group - the Project Committee, to guide the development of a front-of-pack system through a collaborative process.
Project Committee Meeting 1 - 26 March 2012The Project Committee discussed the need for objective, scope and high level principles that will govern the work of the Project Committee and its working groups. Members agreed to establish two working groups: the Technical Design Working Group, co-Chaired by Geoffrey Annison and Michael Moore and the Implementation Working Group which will incorporate evaluation and be co-Chaired by Jenni Mack and Craig Sahlin. Members agreed that working group members should be individuals with appropriate technical skill and knowledge and can be drawn from outside the Project Committee’s membership.
Steering Committee Meeting 2 - 30 March 2012The Steering Committee nominated government representation on the working groups. The Committee agreed to provide a progress report on the collaborative process to the June 2012 meeting of the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum).
Technical Design Working Group (TDWG) Meeting 1 - 20 April 2012
The TDWG members have been selected on the basis of their expertise and experience in the following fields and do not represent their organisations as working group members:
Geoffrey Annison (co-Chair) - Industry
Michael Moore (co-Chair) - Public Health
Greg Gambrill - Industry
Rebecca Boustead - Industry/Nutrition
Kevin Buckett - Government/Food Regulation
Rosemary Stanton - Nutrition/Public Health
Clare Hughes - Nutrition/Public Health/Consumer
Neil Smith - Industry
At its first meeting, the TDWG began considering existing front-of-pack labelling systems in light of the Project Committee’s Objectives and Principles for the front-of-pack labelling work.
Steering Committee Meeting 3 - 2 May 2012Co-Chairs of the working groups provided the Steering Committee with an update of work undertaken to date, including out of session work by the Implementation Working Group on implementation options, evaluation and monitoring and social marketing for consideration at their first meeting. The Committee requested a monitoring system of cross boundary issues of committee and working groups.
Project Committee Meeting 2 - 11 May 2012Project Committee members agreed to the final Objectives and Principles for front-of-pack labelling development and terms of reference and membership for the working groups. Updates from the working groups were provided.
Steering Committee Meeting 4 - 15 May 2012The meeting noted the progress of the work by the Project Committee and its working groups.
Technical Design Working Group (TDWG) Meeting 2 - 18 May 2012The TDWG considered a range of existing front-of-pack labelling systems, categorising like systems and rating them against the Design Principles as set out in the Project Committee’s Objectives and Principles for front-of-pack labelling development. The TDWG also noted the need for the system to allow for new products.
Implementation Working Group – Meeting 1 - 5 June 2012The IWG members have been selected on the basis of their expertise and experience in the following fields and do not represent their organisations as working group members:
Jenni Mack (co-Chair) - Public Health/Consumer
Craig Sahlin (co-Chair) - Government/Food Regulation
Joelle Day - Industry
Lisa Studdert - Government/Preventive Health
Rohan Greenland - Public Health/Consumer
Roger Bektash - Industry
Jodi Dixon - Industry
Lisa Szabo - Government/Food Regulation
Simone Pettigrew - Public Health/Consumer
In light of the Project Committee’s Objectives and Principles for the front-of-pack labelling work, the IWG workshopped the following subject matter: implementation options, evaluation and monitoring, and social marketing. The IWG identified three co-regulatory options for implementation of an agreed front-of-pack labelling system. Each option is based on a code of practice. These options are being refined in a further paper for IWG discussion at its next meeting. The IWG also discussed possible frameworks for social marketing, monitoring and evaluation. Further work is being done with a view to a combined paper on these matters.
Technical Design Working Group (TDWG) Meeting 3 - 2 July 2012The working group is continuing its consideration of FoPL systems and identified a number of issues that it will take to the Project Committee for consideration.
Project Committee Meeting 3 - 5 July 2012Project Committee members noted the issues register and the progress of the working groups. The committee agreed to invite the Technical Design Working Group to present at its next meeting on 3 August 2012 on the possible designs and underpinning mechanisms that are under consideration, and noted that some consumer testing of proposed designs would be required.
Steering Committee Meeting 5 - 6 July 2012The Steering Committee discussed issues and noted the progress of the work of the Project Committee and its Working Groups.
Implementation Working Group – Meeting 2 - 27 July 2012The IWG further refined the proposed implementation options as well as the social marketing and monitoring and evaluation frameworks. The IWG considered code of practice matters including the roles and responsibilities of a code administration committee and a code owner committee, as well as the co-existence of other front-of-pack marks, logos, certification schemes and systems.
Project Committee Meeting 4 - 3 August 2012Project Committee members continued to discuss the issues surrounding the front-of-pack labelling development including the issues of consistent measure, stakeholder consultation, consumer testing of the front-of-pack labelling system, pilot testing of front-of-pack labelling, scope of priorities for what foods are covered, imported foods, and whether the system should enable comparisons to be made across or within categories. Project Committee received a presentation from the Technical Design Working Group on the possible designs and underpinning mechanisms that are under consideration.
Technical Design Working Group Meeting 4 - 10 August 2012The TDWG continued consideration of FoPL mechanisms and design issues. The TDWG agreed to work with Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to further test and validate a proposed FoPL methodology. Another key issue being considered is the use of a consistent measure for comparing products as well as the use of serve size or metric units (100g/100ml) as on-pack presentation. The TDWG continued to consider options for consumer testing at an appropriate point in the FoPL development process.
Implementation Working Group Meeting 3 - 28 August 2012The Implementation Working Group agreed to explore whether it was possible to integrate a FoPL requirement into existing industry based code structures. Mechanisms for ensuring widespread coverage and the need for independent code administration were discussed. The working group agreed to commence work on identifying baseline information, new research and the funding required for all elements of the implementation plan and framework.
Steering Committee Meeting 6 – 3 September 2012The Steering Committee noted the progress of the Project Committee’s work and noted possible FoPL recommendations being developed by the Technical Design Working Group and Implementation Working Group. The meeting also received a report from New Zealand on the progress of its FoPL work.
Project Committee Meeting 5 – 13 September 2012The Project Committee received progress reports from the two working groups and approved presentations and information to be provided at the Stakeholder information update session on 18 September 2012. The Project Committee considered a number of key issues including: FoPL methodology: consistent measure; informative, interpretive and design elements; and consumer testing.
Implementation Working Group Meeting 4 – 17 September 2012The Implementation Working Group agreed its progress report to the Project Committee and considered possible governance structures for the FoPL system, including the option of a tripartite oversight body with responsibility for implementing the overall FoPL system. It also discussed data requirements for an effective social monitoring strategy and marketing and evaluation program and the need to identify existing data sources for this purpose.
Technical Design Working Group Meeting 5 – 19 September 2012The TDWG continued its consideration of key issues including consistent measure, food categories, exclusions, essential nutrients and system methodology. The meeting agreed to seek advice from Food Standards Australia New Zealand on technical aspects of a possible FoPL methodology.
Technical Design Working Group Meeting 6 – 28 September 2012The TDWG met by teleconference to finalise its report to the FoPL Project Committee, which provides an overview of work to date and identifies aspects of the proposed FoPL system that require further consideration. The TDWG is working with Food Standards Australia New Zealand on aspects of the FoPL methodology and plans to undertake some market research around possible FoPL designs shortly.
Project Committee Meeting 6 – 5 October 2012The Project Committee noted the progress reports of the technical design and implementation working groups. The Project Committee prepared its own progress report to the Steering Committee for the Forum, and identified issues requiring further work by the Committee and its working groups.
Steering Committee Meeting - 12 October 2012This meeting noted the progress reports of the Project Committee and its working groups and agreed its report to the FoFR meeting in December 2012, which includes a timetable for finalising FoPL recommendations.
Project Committee Meeting 7 - 22 November 2012The Project Committee considered a range of possible FoPL designs, which will be subject to consumer testing in late 2012 and early 2013 and noted proposals for integrated FoPL approaches for confectionery and carbonated beverages, which will be considered in more detail. The Meeting noted the good progress of the work, which will see recommendations finalised and presented to Ministers in June, via the FoPL Steering Committee.
Technical Design Working Group - 30 November 2012The Meeting agreed refinements to the draft FoPL designs which will shortly be consumer market tested.
Technical Design Working Group 30 January 2013The Meeting received a presentation from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) about Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion remodelling for the purpose of FoPL and agreed that work should continue on this. The Meeting considered advice received from the National Health and Medical Research Council about sugar.
Implementation Working Group – 5 February 2013The IWG settled the overall framework for the implementation of an agreed FoPL scheme, an implementation and review plan for the scheme. It also agreed a final package of papers for recommendations to the Project Committee and that these would be finalised at its next meeting.
Project Committee – 12 February 2013The meeting noted the significant progress of the working groups’ work on final recommendations for a FoPL scheme and considered interim reports on Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criteria remodelling and consumer testing.
Technical Design Working Group - 4 March 2013A further presentation was received from FSANZ about remodelling the NPSC for FoPL. TDWG agreed to include sugar in the informative component of FoPL, and is giving special consideration to the scaling used to generate star rating for dairy beverages.
Project Committee - 12 March 2013The Meeting discussed the progress of the working group’s work to develop final recommendations for a FoPL system and its implementation framework. The meeting narrowed areas of disagreement and provided feedback to working group co-chairs, with a view to agreeing final recommendations at its next meeting.
Project Committee - 4-5 April 2013The meeting continued its productive work to develop recommendations for the FoPL system, including its design, a methodology for a rating system, an implementation framework and a social marketing strategy, with a view to resolving recommendations shortly.
Project Committee Meeting - 26 April 2013Over the past year, the Front-of-Pack Labelling (FoPL) Project Committee has been working to develop an interpretive FoPL system for use on packaged foods sold in Australia. Participants from government, industry, consumer groups and public health groups have collaborated and negotiated to develop an agreed, mutually beneficial system that aims to assist consumers to make informed, healthier food choices.
In addition to extensive discussion among key stakeholder groups, development of the system has been informed by advice from technical experts and consumer market research.
FoPL has significant potential to support consumers to make healthier food choices by giving them at-a-glance information about the food they buy.
The Project Committee meeting on 26 April 2013 continued to finalise recommendations and draft designs for the proposed FoPL system. The Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum) will consider recommendations about the FoPL system at their meeting in June 2013.
Key recommendations include:
- The system should consist of a 5 star rating (including half star increments) and a nutrient component.
- The nutrient component will include icons for energy, saturated fat, sodium, sugars and one optional positive nutrient eg calcium.
- The star rating will be underpinned by a modified Nutrient Profiling Scoring System.
- The system will be voluntary.
- The system should be supported by comprehensive social marketing and education.
Technical Design Working Group Meeting 12 – 8 July 2013The TDWG agreed to key elements and time frames of its work plan over the next six months including the development of the style guide. The TDWG considered amendments to the modified Nutrient Profile Scoring Criteria (NPSC) following industry feedback and received a presentation from Dairy Australia about anomalies specific to some dairy products. The TDWG agreed to undertake further refinements to the modified NPSC before circulating a revised version back to industry and other key stakeholders. The TDWG agreed to meet again in August 2013 to review progress against its work plan.
Implementation Working Group - 1 August 2013The IWG considered how it can continue to contribute to the FoPL project in the areas of consumer research; baseline data for monitoring and evaluation, and social marketing. The IWG provided input to the next phase of consumer market research; explored approaches to monitoring and evalution; and developed a plan to action the social marketing campaign.
Technical Design Working Group - 13 August 2013The TDWG considered an early draft version of the FoPL style guide and the most recent version of the modified Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion (NPSC). The TDWG, with FSANZ, is preparing a guidance document that will assist industry and other key stakeholders in their consideration and testing of the revised modified NPSC. The TDWG prepared a series of recommendations for the Project Committee to consider at its meeting of 2 September 2013 and agreed to meet again following the Project Committee meeting.
Project Committee Meeting - 2 September 2013The FoPL Project Committee received a further update on the refinement of the "Health Star Rating Calculator" (HSRC) that will be used to profile the nutrient composition of foods and assign a star rating. As requested by the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation, particular attention has been paid to the profiling of dairy products.
A draft Guide for Industry on the Health Star Rating Calculator has also been developed, and testing of these two documents by industry and other key stakeholders will commence shortly.
The Project Committee also considered the transition of the FoPL Governance arrangements and recommendations about certain types of food products that should not use the FoPL system. Details of these products will be included in the FoPL Style Guide, which is currently being developed by the TDWG.
Steering Committee Meeting - 6 September 2013The Front-of-Pack Labelling (FoPL) Steering Committee (Steering Committee) is very heartened by the significant progress made by the FoPL Project Committee and its working groups following the 14 June 2013 meeting of the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation.
The Steering Committee noted the work done by the Technical Design Working Group in progressing amendments to the modified Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion (now known as the Health Star Rating Calculator); and to resolve technical issues specific to dairy products.
The Steering Committee is looking forward to receiving further feedback from industry and other key stakeholders, who are currently testing the further refinements to the Health Star Rating Calculator.
Implementation Working Group - 28 October 2013The Implementation Working Group (IWG) continued to flesh out an ‘implementation roadmap’ that provides an indicative timeframe for implementing the HSR system across a large number of packaged products. The IWG also further discussed: the evidence base by which the Health Star Rating (HSR) system will be evaluated over the longer term; a proposal for a social marketing program; and details around second phase consumer research that will measure the factors that drive decision making and the likely impact of the HSR system on consumer purchasing behaviour.
The IWG considered its advice to the Front-of-Pack Labelling Oversight and Advisory Committee, once it is established.
Technical Design Working Group - 29 October 2013The TDWG considered feedback from stakeholders on the HSR calculator, which reinforced that the HSR calculator works reasonably well in identifying food products which may assist consumers construct healthy diets. A number of unresolved issues were referred to the FoPL Project Committee.
Project Committee Meeting - 4 November 2013The Project Committee received an update on the industry feedback on the refinements to the Health Star Rating Calculator (HSRC). The Project Committee agreed that the current version of the HSRC is producing appropriate star ratings for food products in all categories that accurately reflect their nutritional profile, and accord with provisions in the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines and Guide to Healthy Eating.
The Project Committee agreed that companies could choose to apply the full Health Star Rating (HSR) system to non-dairy beverages, in accordance with the hierarchy of elements. It was agreed that packaged water (as defined by the Food Standards Code) would receive an automatic 5 star rating to reflect the importance of its role in hydration. The Project Committee also agreed that companies could choose to apply the full HSR system to confectionery products, in accordance with the hierarchy of elements.
Steering Committee Meeting – 14 November 2013.The Front-of-Pack Labelling (FoPL) Steering Committee met on 14 November 2013 to consider feedback from the recent meetings of the FoPL Project Committee, the Technical Design Working Group and Implementation Working Group.
The FoPL Steering Committee noted the significant progress made by the FoPL Project Committee and its working groups in progressing further amendments to the Health Star Rating (HSR) and is confident that the HSR System is technically robust, and produces results which are in line with the provisions in the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines and Guide to Healthy Eating.
The FoPL Steering Committee will report to the Legislative Governance Forum on Food Regulation with its final recommendations.
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