Salad description causing headaches for nutritionists and the tax man

Posted by Andrea Hogan on 6th March 2017

Is this really a salad?

Believe it or not, but late last week Australia was asking what makes a salad, a salad.

The debate started when the Australian Taxation Office’s Deputy, Timothy Dyce, spoke to a Senate Committee, telling the Committee that the taxman was currently consulting with the food industry on what types of salads should have the Goods and Services Tax (GST) applied.

GST is meant to exempt food and products deemed as necessities, which includes salad in an effort to make sure Australians have access to fresh and healthy vegetables.

There is however a problem for the ATO when ‘salads’, made mostly of meat protein such as “chicken salad” or carbohydrates, such as a “pasta salad” or “rice salad”, are sold without GST being applied.

Nutritional guilt unburdened with “salad”

The definition of a salad can also cause headaches for nutritionists as chefs and food service providers will call a dish a “salad” in an attempt to make the food appear healthier.

In the case of a pasta salad or a rice salad however, the food is just largely a serving of pasta or rice with only a small amount of vegetables, just as in pasta and rice dishes anyway.

Interestingly, the Macquarie dictionary defines a salad as “a dish of uncooked vegetables, typically served with a savoury dressing”, so by this definition dishes like pasta and rice salad would not really be considered a salad.


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