New laws announced to regulate the voluntary use of nutrient content claims on packaged foods will help consumers to make more informed, healthier purchasing choices, according to Cancer Council Australia.
Cancer Council’s nutrition spokesperson, Clare Hughes, welcomed an intergovernmental decision that will require claims about the health benefits of packaged foods to be subject to independent nutrient profiling.
“Claims like ‘contains calcium for bone health’ are applied to many packaged food products as a marketing ploy and can imply an overall health benefit, even on foods that are not nutritious overall,” Ms Hughes said.
“The new laws will ensure that food manufacturers can only apply these types of health claims to products that meet minimum nutrition standards.
“For example, a claim like ‘reduced fat for heart health’ could not apply on a product that’s high in sugar and therefore not a healthy food choice.
“This is a good result for consumers wanting to make healthier choices, particularly at a time when Australia faces an unprecedented burden of diet-related disease.”
Ms Hughes said significant reform in food labelling was still required to ensure consumers had clearer guidance to informed, healthier choices. This was, however, a step in the right direction and all members of the intergovernmental forum who supported the move should be commended.