Aus: Health leaders slam new rules on food labelling

MAKERS of sugar-rich foods such as Nutri-Grain and other cereals and fruit bars claiming questionable health benefits will have to change their labels or their ingredients under new truth in labelling measures.

But after months of controversy, food ministers appear to have bowed to food industry pressure and proposed allowing food companies to introduce products making questionable health claims before regulators can stop them, food ministers decided yesterday.

Regulators would be able to force changes subsequently if products were found to breach food and labelling standards, health and consumer groups say. Victoria and New Zealand could also be able to opt out of assessment of health claims by the trans-Tasman regulators, Food Standards Australia New Zealand, in what has been described as a ”messy” compromise by one source.

The minister’s refusal to enforce a proposed requirement that health claims on food labels be subjected to regulatory checks before they go on sale has drawn warnings from health and consumer groups that an unhealthy product could gain a market foothold before being pulled up.

The consumer group Choice condemned the decision, declaring food and health ministers had abandoned the independent verification of new health claims and given the food industry an effective veto over food labelling policy.


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16 responses to “Aus: Health leaders slam new rules on food labelling

  1. Food and nutrition should be taught in all schools by university qualified nutrition teachers with a scientific base. Until this happens the food industry will continue its trampling on human health. And that’s a fact.

    • Teaching food would seem difficult.

      • Yes. That’s because the people – such as politicians, church leaders, food inndustry representatives etc who in effect provide the syllabus for schools are not true representaives of the people. When we have true democracy, things will change.

  2. Absurd. People know plenty about food. It has not suddenly become mysterious and specialized.

  3. OK. So the average citizen is qualified in the science of nutrition, are they? I suppose they can look after the rest of their medical health as well, without even the use of doctors (who, by the way, are not experts in nutrition) ?.

    • Somehow, Man has survived the millenia without government intrusion into their diet.

      Obesity is quantitative, not qualitative. Talk about food is counter productive. A distraction. But there are many who see the alleged obesity problem as an opportunity to get onto the federal teat.

      “Little Johnny’s fat? Let’s start new government programs!”

    • LuisaDownUnder

      I am not medically trained yet I do understand food and its relationship in my diet and well-being. I eat in moderation and I do not do without. I don’t want to be fat nor do I want to live miserably following fads.
      We are educated to at least read and write. Surely people can read food labels and make up their own minds as to what they or their family should eat or consume. Babying everyone or demonising certain food or food groups do not a healthy person make.
      People are obese and unhealthy because they choose to be. Why should my choice at the supermarket be impaired because of these idiots.
      No amount of government interference or legislation will save the fool from themselves. Simple.

    • The average citizen is qualified to say “is this really good for me?” just as much as they are qualified to say “do I feel sick today?” Nutrition facts on food are the same as general medical guidelines about handwashing and germs. All these “super-food” advertisements are the same as “cure-all” chiropractics and homeopaths. Yes, the analogy is apt

  4. LuisaDownUnder

    Besides, I love Nutri-grain.

  5. Here is an analogy: if a person is suffering a heart attack then it is best to have an expert on hand, not just a vague knowledge about some general medical guideline.

    • True, and if someone is having an urgent food crisis, it’s best to have Robert Irvine from Dinner Impossible on hand. Biggles (like the handle, by the way), there simply isn’t an analogy for urgent medical needs because this isn’t an urgent horrible situation that you can get into.

      You have to be phenomenally stupid in Western society to get into a situation that you are actually in danger of your life. These debates are about whether you live to 60 or to 80 (at best, confounding factors accounted for, and no promises that your philandering, chain smoking, fat, lazy neighbor won’t live to 110 while your hard working butt gets a heart attack and dies at 42)

      • Allright Ben, you have a point. But you don’t have to be a really dumb kid to eat doughnuts and candy bars for lunch. They taste good when there isn’t much choice. But a few schools in Australia, and some in the UK have children growing vegetables and fruits in their own schoolgrounds and the kids get to enjoy eating their own produce. This can encourage a lifetime of better habits, don’t you think? That’s one example of practical lifestyle improvement.

      • Actually, no Biggle. It doesn’t. If you go through the archives of the now-defunct sister site “”, you can read article after article on School “healthy eating” campaigns and their phenomenal, UNIVERSAL FAILURE to provide any statistically significant, much less clinically meaningfull effect. Look at the actual results sometime and you will become much more cynical about the whole thing.

        • The point is this: it is no use beating kids over the head so to speak and telling them they HAVE to eat vegetables, by some disinterested teacher who probably eats crap themeselves. No no, you have to get the right teachers getting the kids involved in a practical way, for example by growing a few things themselves and getting the pleasure from their own endeavours. A child may not eat carrots from a shop, but will certainly eat ones he/she has grown themselves. That’s part of the way forward. Real life, not just moralising.

      • The whole “eat what you grow” feel-good mess is just that, feel-good and of no benefit, especially for the substantial fraction of children that have no access to land to garden. A more appropriate way would be to teach some half-decent vegetables recipes in home economics. You wouldn’t believe the number of kids I met in college who thought “vegetables” meant raw salad and canned corn.

    • You assume that

      1. all the education material in school today was NOT written by college trained people (which it surely was);

      2. that had people been better trained (sic), they would eat different foods (when the problem is they eat too much);

      It’s not the food’s fault, and not human’s eating the wrong things. It’s humans eating too much.

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