Health Star Rating: making healthier choices at a glance

Parents will more easily be able to make healthy food choices for their families through the introduction of a new star rating food labelling initiative.

Page last updated: 08 December 2014

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6 December 2014

Parents will more easily be able to make healthy food choices for their families through the introduction of a new star rating food labelling initiative, the Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash announced today.

Speaking at the Woden Plaza shopping centre in Canberra, Minister Nash launched phase one of an education campaign with a website to accompany the Health Star Rating System, which is starting to appear on food products.

"The HSR system will make it much easier for shoppers to make informed choices about healthier food options," Minister Nash said.

"The five star ratings clearly displayed on packaged foods will allow consumers, especially parents, to make healthy food choices for the whole family without spending hours reading labels at the supermarket.

"The HSR system takes into account the four aspects of food - energy; saturated fat; total sugars; and sodium content. Products that are low in saturated fat, sugars, sodium and/or energy will generally have a higher star rating. The healthier the food, the higher the stars.

"We've worked closely with stakeholders on this healthy food choices initiative which has resulted in this voluntary scheme receiving broad support from public health groups, from food companies and from supermarkets.

“Although to date there are only a few labelled products on the shelves, starting with Monster Muesli, a number of companies have now indicated they will be rolling out the HSR system.”

Minister Nash said the star ratings will begin appearing on many more products soon and today's launch is designed to inform people about what the stars mean. This is the first stage of the campaign which will intensify over coming months as more food products display the healthy star rating.

"The HSR system is voluntary for industry to adopt over the next five years, as agreed by the Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation in June 2014," she said.

“This will enable cost effective implementation, and provide time for manufacturers to work on reformulation—to include less saturated fats, sugars or sodium in their products.

Public Health Association CEO Michael Moore welcomed the launch today.

"This is a great day for consumers and families. We thank Minister Nash for her determined work to make this a reality," Mr Moore said.

The CEO of the National Heart Foundation, Mary Barry CEO said: “We congratulate Minister Nash, and welcome the introduction of the stars and are pleased to see the stars on more and more products on our supermarket shelves.

“The introduction of the Stars and the launch of the website means consumers have more choice and more information when shopping. The stars will also help drive reformulation of popular products which will make them healthier.”

"The Coalition Government recognises the burden of disease associated with poor diet and physical inactivity and the Health Star Rating system is one of a suite of measures to make it easier for people to make healthier food choices,” Senator Nash said.

The Health Star Rating website provides a range of information to help consumers understand how to use the health stars when they are shopping for groceries. It also includes detailed information for food manufacturers and industry about applying the HSR to their products.

Media contact: Kay McNiece, 0412 132 585s

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