A new analysis of children’s breakfast cereals undertaken by the Obesity Policy Coalition demonstrates once again why Labor’s Health Star Rating system is so important.
Four out of 10 of the most popular breakfast cereals enjoyed by children are more than 30 per cent sugar. Salt levels in our cereals are also particularly high, a small bowl of Nutri-Grain contains twice as much sodium as a packet of chips.
This is just the sort of information that consumers need to make informed decisions about the food they purchase for themselves and their families.
Unfortunately, the Abbott Government has done everything in its power to block the Health Star system.
The Health Star website was taken down in February 2014 on the orders of the minister’s chief of staff who resigned shortly after following media reports he retained an interest in a lobbying company with ties to the food industry.
Assistant Health Minister Senator Fiona Nash remained unrepentant throughout the entire affair and the Government followed up this debacle by ripping $360 million from programs that were tackling obesity, increasing physical activity and improving healthy eating for adults and children.
Obesity, caused in part by unhealthy foods high in sugar, costs the nation’s health system $4 billion dollars a year. Yet it is clear that the Government is more concerned with protecting corporate ties than looking after the health and welfare of Australians.
The process to establish the Health Star Rating System was initiated by Labor following a comprehensive review of food labelling. It presents consumers with a straightforward front of pack labelling system that makes choosing healthier food options easier.
That is why Labor is calling on all food companies, including high profile brands such as Kellogg’s, to follow the lead of many of their competitors and include the voluntary health star ratings on their packaging.