Labor has today welcomed the decision made by Kellogg’s to implement the voluntary Health Star Ratings on all of its breakfast cereals across Australia and New Zealand.
The announcement comes one month after Shadow Health Minister, Catherine King, and the Shadow Assistant Health Minister, Stephen Jones, called on Kellogg’s to follow the lead of many of their competitors and include the health star information on their packaging.
The first of Kellogg’s cereals to carry Health Stars will be in stores from June with the rest of the company’s cereal range updated based on production schedules.
If shoppers are to make informed choices about what food items they are purchasing for themselves and their families they need to know exactly what is in the packet. That is why Labor’s Health Star System, initiated following a comprehensive review of food labelling, is so important.
An analysis of children’s breakfast cereals undertaken by the Obesity Policy Coalition earlier this year found that many cereals have surprisingly high levels of sugar and sodium.
It found that four out of 10 of the most popular breakfast cereals enjoyed by children are more than 30 per cent sugar. Alarmingly, a small bowl of Nutri-Grain contains twice as much sodium as a packet of chips.
Kellogg’s decision is a welcome one, especially since 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.
This Liberal National Government is more concerned with protecting corporate ties than looking after the health and welfare of Australians.
Kellogg’s should be commended for its responsible decision that will benefit consumers across Australia.