Changes to health claims standard creates labelling loophole, Choice says

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 11th April 2012

Australian consumer advocacy group Choice has made a submission to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) claiming that its draft changes to Australia’s nutrition and health claims standard would create a labelling loophole allowing manufacturers to make health claims on unhealthy products.

According to Choice, the rules proposed in FSANZ’s consultation would mean that whilst manufacturers cannot make a ‘percentage fat free’ claim, they could re-word the claim to ‘percentage fat’ to avoid regulatory oversight.

In its submission, Choice says claims on unhealthy products must extend to all fat content claims on food labels to avoid creating this “loophole” for manufacturers.

Choice spokesperson, Ingrid Just said, “We applaud ministers for moving to crack down on ‘fat free’ and ‘percentage fat free’ claims as there is clear evidence that this marketing spin is used selectively and makes healthy choices more difficult for Australian shoppers.

“But the risk is that by ignoring percentage fat claims such as 1 per cent fat, along with similar claims like ‘low-fat’, ‘reduced fat’ and ‘less fat than,’ we create a loophole that could undermine this long-overdue move.”

Earlier this month, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) also made a submission to FSANZ on the draft changes to Australia’s nutrition and health claims standard.