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AMA urges food industry to stop undermining health star rating system

03 March, 2014

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, recently called on the Australian food industry to stop undermining the implementation of the new five star rating system for food nutrition.

Dr Hambleton said the AMA was very concerned that the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) had been lobbying against the system on the day that the Assistant Minister for Health's office ordered the new system's website to be shut down.

"Even though they worked closely with the public health sector on the development of the new system, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has lobbied against the consumer-friendly food labels since they were agreed by the Federal and State governments last year," Dr Hambleton said.

"The system's website was to be a major part of the public education campaign to make people aware of the new system and how it works.

"It is important that consumers are fully across the system before the new labels appear on supermarket shelves.

"The health star rating system for food and beverages is a major public health initiative that will place Australia as a world leader in helping to reduce alarming rates of overweight and obesity in Australia.

"It is time that the food industry and its peak Council did the right thing and put their full support behind a bold initiative that will help people make healthier food choices and take some pressure of the health Budget," Dr Hambleton said.

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bruni brewin | Monday, March 3, 2014, 12:31 PM
I am wondering why the AFGC website was ordered to be closed down? Without reading their point of view it seems that I am being offered only one point of view. I can only assume that politics is at play here - though that may be wrong, but it is a natural assumption with all other things I read about the ACCC being given the right to oppose anything that does not go in line with 'the powers that be' point of view that is gained by their own 'evidence' that may after all be wrong, depending on how and what means that evidence was accepted, and how many variants were used to come to conclusions. One that comes to mind is the part pesticides used to produce our food might play in the role of obesity. Packaging of our meat calling in the concerns of what contaminants are being passed on from this area. The hormones and antibiotics we give our livestock, another concern. It is easy enough to put an opinion out there, but to squash debate? I thought that I lived in a free country, not sure that is the case anymore as more and more rights (in the guise of safety) are being taken away. Many people forget that it is the people that pay from their tax that enables them to exist in the first place. As I have thought and oft said - it would help consumers to trust what they are choosing, and the say to do that is to have enough information from all thoughts, whether they differ or not and why, rather than a dictatorship that disallows such debate.
Lachie | Tuesday, March 4, 2014, 12:13 PM
I think the AMA would do better to spend some time encouraging its members working in hospitals to was their hands between patients. According to the Medical Journal of Australia around 10 000 Australians die in our hospitals due to poor infection control. Five times the road toll. Yet hand washing rates are less than 50%. Obesity is a problem but quite a complex one as it involves lifestyle choices. I seriously doubt that this silly website would make the slightest difference beyond providing employment for a heap more public servants Just more nanny State