Heart Foundation gives the National Food Plan its tick of approval

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 17th July 2012

The National Heart Foundation of Australia has reacted to the Australian Government’s green paper for the National Food Plan. The green paper outlines the Government’s intention to develop a national nutrition policy to identify, prioritise, drive and monitor nutrition initiatives and important public health nutrition issues.

The Heart Foundation emphasised that any such plan must include strategies to improve the health quality of Australian food.

“For any food plan to genuinely address the critical issues facing our country, it must have a plan to make us healthier and reduce deaths,” Dr Lyn Roberts, National CEO of the Heart Foundation, said today.

“More than three million Australians are obese which contributes to a broad range of chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes (itself a risk factor for heart disease), osteoarthritis and some cancers,” Dr Roberts said.

“Cardiovascular disease is Australia’s number one killer, with the food we eat being a major part of the solution to the 46,000 deaths it causes each year.

The Heart Foundation believes the following initiatives must be included in any food plan for Australia:

–       reducing salt and saturated-fat content of food

–       banning the use of industrial trans fats and

–       promoting greater fruit and vegetable consumption.

“We’ve seen steady, but slow progress on Australia’s food reformulation program – the Food and Health Dialogue. However, we believe more must be done to ensure it becomes a world leading program that works with food companies and health groups to set the best possible targets for reducing salt and saturated fat. We need targets that will stretch industry, but will also be realistic and achievable,” Dr Roberts said.

“This program has already removed around 1,000 tonnes of salt a year from bread alone, so we know it’s possible, but we must also expand their work to bring fast food into the program. If bread in supermarkets can be changed, we know that bread supplied to fast food outlets can be changed too.

“The Heart Foundation will be making a formal submission to the plan and we look forward to making the case during the consultation period,” said Dr Roberts.


FoodLegal Symposium

The making of health claims is the subject of an upcoming FoodLegal Symposium entitled: Health Claim Hazards: Navigating the Regulatory Minefield.  Registration information is available here.