Emerging food policy issues –
a consumer perspective
Presentation to the Food Regulation Standing Committee
2010 Stakeholder Consultation Forum
Clare Hughes
Senior Food Policy Officer
Overview
• Review of food labelling law and policy
• Labelling to support public health strategies
• Labelling for provide other consumer
information
• Government intervention
• Enforcing food regulation
Review of Food Labelling
Law and Policy
Questions raised by the food labelling review:
• Should food labelling be used to support public
health objectives? If so, how?
• Are food labelling laws needed to regulate
other consumer information on food labels?
• To what extent do governments need to be
responsible for regulating what’s on food
labels?
• Can a national agency enforce food labelling
laws? If so, which one?
Food labelling policy
An overarching food labelling policy should set
out the role of food labelling regulation in:
Supporting public health objectives and
preventative health strategies
2. Protecting public health and safety
3. Providing information to help consumers
make informed choices about the foods
they buy
4. Preventing misleading and deceptive
labelling
1.
How can food labelling laws
support public health objectives?
The following improvements to food labelling
laws will help to support public health
objectives:
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Mandatory front of pack nutrition
labelling including traffic lights for key
nutrients of concern
Health and nutrition content claims
regulation using nutrient profiling
criteria
Labelling alcohol products
Nutrition information in quick service
outlets
Ingredient information such as trans fat
and palm oil
‘Other’ consumer
information
Consumers are increasingly
interested in how and where
their food is produced:
•
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Country of origin labelling
GM labelling laws
Palm oil labelling Bill
Australian Standard on
Organic and Biodynamic
Product
Free-range
BUT
Consumers use this ‘other’
information to make healthy
choices for themselves and
their family.
We must recognise their
‘right to know’.
Government intervention
When should governments regulate?
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Overarching food labelling policy direction
Consumer detriment – safety, long-term
health, financial
Consumer confidence in the food regulatory
system and food supply
Consumer expectation of government
oversight
Consumer demand for and use of specific
labelling elements
Track record of industry non-compliance and
misleading claims
Enforcing food regulation
A single national agency would need:
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•
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Independence from the food industry
Strong legislation establishing enforcement
powers
A full suite of enforcement tools and
penalties for different infringements
Expertise in food labelling, nutrition, food
regulation and consumer protection law
Sufficient funding and capacity to undertake
enforcement across a range of labelling
issues including proactive compliance
monitoring
For more information:
www.choice.com.au
for our research and submissions on:
• Food labelling claims
• Organic and free-range food
• Food endorsement logos
• Traffic light labelling
• Food Labelling Review
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