Not long after writing my previous post about food labelling andlow-fat Vs high-sugar food, comes this article;
“Health experts have joined forces to lobby political parties on childhood obesity in the lead-up to the federal election.
VicHealth, the Cancer Council, and Diabetes Victoria have launched the Obesity Policy Coalition.
Its election agenda includes calls for a GST on high-sugar breakfast cereals, an overhaul of food labelling laws, and a ban on the marketing of unhealthy food to children.
Spokeswoman Jane Martin says they want to see a “traffic light” labelling system on all foods that shows green, orange or red symbols to indicate the levels of sugar, salt and saturated fat.
“Often products which are say 98 per cent fat free – which might be seen on confectionery – are very high in sugar, so we think it’s useful for people to see the whole story about the key nutrients,” she said.
“What consumers want to know about is fat, salt and sugar, often things that aren’t highlighted on the front of packs, particularly if they’re in high levels.”
The group is also calling for a mandatory “traffic light” colour coding system in place on food packages in Australia.
Red labels on a package would indicate a high level of fat, salt or sugar, yellow would indicate medium levels and green labels would be for low levels. A similar system is being trialled by some supermarkets and manufacturers in Britain.
Ms Martin said the colour code system would make it easy for people to put the fat, sugar and salt in a food into context.
“We want to see a mandatory simple scheme that consumers understand that outlines the key elements of products including sugar, salt and fat,” she said.
“It gives them a better understanding of what’s in the food. If it’s 90 per cent fat free they will know it’s high in sugar. And that’s the kind of information that’s currently missing.”
But a spokeswoman for Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott said the Government did not have any plans to impose new taxes.
The head of Diabetes Australia (Victoria), Greg Johnson, said thousands of Australian children were growing fat on “junk food dressed up as breakfast cereals”.