Daily Intake Guide criticism “misleading”: AFGC

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 29th April 2009

Claims that Australia’s front of pack labelling guidelines are “not in line with eating habits and dietary needs” are false and misleading, according to Australia’s leading organisation representing food and grocery manufacturers – the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC).

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell said, in response to Choice’s claims today, that the Daily Intake Guide – applied to more than 1100 cereal, cheese, biscuits and drink products in Australia outlining average daily intake requirements of energy, fat, sugar and salt – highlights factual information that has been effective in helping consumers make informed choices.

Ms Carnell said the nutrition information displayed on the front of food packaging has to be factual, as laws in Australia governing food production and labelling are very strict with daily intake values prescribed in Australia’s Food Standard’s Code.

“Since being introduced in 2006, Daily Intake Guide labelling has proved to extremely effective. A recent Newspoll survey of 1200 people found 74 per cent of consumers were aware of the labelling system, with 66 per cent saying it was easily understood,” Ms Carnell said. “Therefore, to suggest that nutritional information on the front of food packaging was not in line with people’s actual eating habits and dietary needs is highly inaccurate and disingenuous.”

Ms Carnell criticised Choice’s call for the introduction of a Traffic Light System on food in Australia claiming there was no scientific or government research or evidence to demonstrate that any food labelling system is better than others*.

“Traffic light labelling is an overly simplistic approach to the vital issue of food labelling in Australia. It gives people absolutely no indication of how much is okay to eat as the system contains no portion size information.”

*An independent panel organised by the Food Standards Agency in the UK has almost completed research into the impact on behaviour of different front-of-pack labelling schemes and AFN will report the findings as soon as they come to hand.