Victorian Government calls for food labelling review

Posted by James Ferre on 24th October 2008

Victorian Health Minister Daniel Andrews has proposed a comprehensive review of food labelling law and policy at a meeting of the Australia New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council in Adelaide today.

Mr Andrews suggested consumers are confused by the information that is currently required to be included on labels.

“Industry, public health experts and consumer groups have also expressed concern about food labelling standards and have indicated that there is a need to simplify food labelling requirements,” Mr Andrews said. “There is a need to commission a fresh, independent and evidence-based review of food labelling law and policy.”

Mr Andrews claimed his review proposal was broad in scope. It would start from developing the principles underpinning labelling in food regulation and would then extend to all existing labelling standards and proposals.

Under this proposal, an independent panel comprised of experts from business, economics, public health, law and consumer behaviour would be established to undertake this review.

Mr Andrews will be advocating for the independent expert panel to:
• examine and review current and proposed food labelling laws and initiatives;
• develop policy principles to underpin new or altered food labelling laws to ensure that there is a strong evidence base for all food labelling requirements; and
• make recommendations on how to streamline, administer and enforce food labelling laws.
The review panel would be required to consult with stakeholders as part of the review process.

“The Brumby Government is committed to reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens on business, and is looking for evidence-based initiatives that can positively influence healthy eating and reduce the growing burden of chronic disease in our community,” Mr Andrews said.

He added the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission inquiry provided valuable fresh insight into the state’s food regulatory arrangements, with the VCEC recommending an overarching national review of food labelling law and policy.