Front-of-pack food labelling success

[7.6.13] We are pleased to report that the Commonwealth and state and territory food and health ministers announced that a Health Star Rating system will be introduced on food labels to help shoppers make healthier choices.

Healthier product 4-star rating

The system will consist of a star rating scale of ½ a star to 5 stars, with ½ star increments and apply to packaged, manufactured or processed foods presented ready for sale. The number of stars will be calculated using a government endorsed system with more stars for healthier food.

Nutrition information will also be shown for saturated fat, sugars and sodium and one optional positive nutrient (e.g. calcium) relevant to the particular food, along with an icon showing kilojoule content. The system makes comparing products easier by showing the nutrition content per 100 grams.

Cancer Council Australia welcomed this decision, which includes a requirement that the new Health Star Rating scheme be mandatory if it is not widely adopted by food companies within two years. CEO Professor Ian Olver said Australia faced a significant increase in cancers caused by obesity and overweight, with food choices one of the key factors behind the anticipated rise.

Thank you to everyone who joined our campaign to ask the NSW Primary Industries Minister to endorse the scheme. Your support contributed to this success by showing that Australians are demanding more informative food labels.

We’d love to hear what you think of the new labels – leave a comment below.


Australian Dietary Guidelines
Australian Guide to Healthy Eating


  • Reply
    Marian November 30, 2012

    Help make healthy choices, easy choices and reduce future obesity-related cancer risk. Tell the NSW Minister for Primary Industries − Katrina Hodgkinson − to support the standard that ensures only food and drink that are healthier choices can carry health claims.

  • Reply
    Ed McKenzie November 30, 2012

    It is grossly indecent and sheer want of principle to make unproven claims on packages. In most cases they skate around by using the word……..”Mabes” just a suggestion, not a statement of fact.

    We have the experts who do not use “maybes” but DOES! Which i very different. It is akin to say arsenic may poison you, it DOES!

    To stop these charlatans in their steps is tread hard on them with penalties that far outweigh the profits they make for spurious claims. No decent self respecting person would or could make such harmful claims and get aswy with it. A prison sentence should accompany the hefty fine.

  • Reply
    Jan Beattie November 30, 2012

    Please make food manufacturers be more honest in their disclosure on packaging of where food originates. “Imported” on the ingredients list does not allow us to make an informed decision.

  • Reply
    Bill Kneipp November 30, 2012

    We need simple information on all food packaging, in big enough print so everyone can read it when making informed choices while IN THE SUPERMATKET!

    Let’s have it , or at least a better system than the hopeless one we have now

  • Reply
    Keith Anderson November 30, 2012

    Making a right choice for a healthy life should not be difficult or confusing by marketing claims that pick and choose a relevant truth to promote a product that contains other ingredients that may harm ones ongoing wellbeing both physically and or emotionally.

  • Reply
    Bella Glenny December 1, 2012

    I am a cancer survivor and know first hand how gruelling the journey to survival can be. I did not have an obesity related cancer but was just unlucky with breast cancer – however, I feel strongly that the government should do all it possibly can to reduce the possibilities of people getting cancer unneccessarily through other causes such as obesity.

    We all need help to make healthy eating choices and to do this we need clear information. If this information can be easily available on food labels it should be.

    Currently it is confusing with many foodstuffs claiming/implying they are healthy when they aren’t. The FSANZ has spent meany years researching best practice for this issue and is waiting approval for their recommendations. Please support their informed research and make more information for healthy eating available and help people and their families to avoid having unnessessary gruelling battles with cancer through ill informed obesity.

    Hope this letter to Ms Hodgkinson helps

  • Reply
    maryellen flynn December 1, 2012

    there needs to be more emphasis on what is in our food so that we can make more informed and better choices ourselves.

  • Reply
    Edwin Wolfe December 1, 2012

    The nutritional information panels are already very helpful. A simple ‘traffic light’ system covering sugar, fat and salt would be really useful, too.

  • Reply
    Rae Rosten. December 2, 2012

    As well as sugar, salt and fat, foods containing artificial preservatives, flavours and colouring should also be prevented from claiming to be healthy.

  • Reply
    carol December 2, 2012

    I support in everything in Nutrition and Health, as it is very important in everyday life along with exercises and with the food very important to eat the healthier foods to claim our health issues in life. Thanks…..

  • Reply
    Maureen Dietmann December 3, 2012

    I fully support this development of a standard that ensures only food and drink that are healthier choices can carry health claims,this standard is long overdue. It is a difficult process at the moment to make the correct choice as so much of the current food and drink packaging is confusing if not misleading. An easy to read/understand standardisation of food and drink packaging can only be of advantage to assist the public in making healthy choices, and in the long term assist the public to manage their health.

  • Reply
    Caroline December 5, 2012

    Busy parents like mysself do not have the time to check each package for nutritional information as we shop. We rely on packaging information to help us with our purchases. Most would assume that products carrying health claims would be “healthy” but they are not. Help us families make the right decisions for the next generation of Australians.

  • Reply
    Neryl McPhee November 13, 2013

    In this day and age of worldwide obesity I am astounded that you are still promoting low fat diets and trans fats.
    It has been proven repeatedly by experts that we need fats and good oils like coconut and olive oil, high protein and low carbohydrate in our diet – not vegetable oils, and margarines, which due to the way they are processed are carcinogenic use Genetically modified ingredients and are dangerous to our health.
    We should all by now know how dangerous foods with sugars are to our health.
    Until we promote these healthy guidelines I would not support this petition..

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