AFGC slates changes to food health claims standard

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 5th April 2012

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has made a submission to FSANZ claiming that draft changes to Australia’s nutrition and health claims standard will “threaten the food industry’s future viability”.

In its submission, the AFGC said that, under Food Standards Australia and New Zealand’s (FSANZ) proposed Nutrition, Health & Related Claims (P293) draft standard, many popular food products – which form part of a healthy, balanced diet – will not be able to include health claims such as “a good source of Vitamin C” or “Omega 3 for healthy heart function”.

The AFGC claims that the changes will not provide consumers with accurate information and are totally “unworkable”. It has called for the draft standard to be “rejected in its entirety”.

According to the AFGC, under the proposed changes, manufacturers will be banned from making the following health claims:

  • Fruit juice – “A good source of Vitamin C and A – to help neutralise free radicals”
  • Canned fish – “A daily source of Omega 3 – for brain and eye development”
  • Some dairy products – “Calcium enriched for strong teeth and bones”.

The changes, according to the AFGC, are odds with the current dietary guidelines set by the National Health and Medical Research Council, which recommends consuming these foods as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

AFGC claims draft changes will stifle innovation and threaten viability

AFGC Acting Chief Executive, Dr Geoffrey Annison, said the proposed changes would stifle innovation as well as threaten jobs and the future viability of industry.

Dr Annison said, “Healthier food products will be seriously hampered by this restrictive regulation. Any framework developed should aim to increase product innovation and reformulation, not stifle it.

“This unworkable situation will add another burden and significant costs to industry, which could result in job losses and a shift of manufacturing operations offshore.  It’s a very serious issue for the 312,000 Australians employed in the food and grocery manufacturing industry.”