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Analysis and Comment (22)

The star scheme is yet to undergo consumer testing to see if it helps guide healthier food choices. The star scheme is yet to undergo consumer testing to see if it helps guide healthier food choices. Bruce A Stockwell

Out with traffic lights, in with stars – next steps for food labelling

The federal government is likely to introduce a star system for food packages next year to help consumers make healthier food choices, ABC’s Lateline reported last week. Much like the energy star rating…
Health claims are commonly exploited to promote the consumption of highly processed foods. Health claims are commonly exploited to promote the consumption of highly processed foods. Flickr / ajleon

Health claims on food products: ministers put marketers in control

Australian and New Zealand ministers responsible for food regulation last week bowed to lobbying from processed food manufacturers and agreed to permit them to market products with general level health…
No matter how friendly your detergent is, it does damage. No matter how friendly your detergent is, it does damage. NPS Photo/Neal Herbert

Environmentally friendly pollutants - what your detergent does to waterways

After the big wet, spare a thought for the health of your waterways and the substances that wash into them. Bacteria are important to the health of the waterways running through our backyards. As decomposers…
It depends on the drug, how it’s been stored and whether the pack has been opened. It depends on the drug, how it’s been stored and whether the pack has been opened. saveas new

Explainer: do we need to follow medication use-by dates?

It’s late in the night. And after a long day at work, you have a splitting headache. You rattle around in the bottom drawer of the bathroom vanity to find a packet of paracetamol tablets you know are hiding…
By claiming too much, Steggles has raised the question: how much space does a chicken need? By claiming too much, Steggles has raised the question: how much space does a chicken need? aprilskiver

Steggles' ‘free to roam’ claim could hatch a whole lot of trouble for poultry producers

For the animal industry and the animal protection movement, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) pending case against poultry producer Steggles is set to be their very own version…
The food industry has won this round but the traffic light labelling fight isn’t over yet. The food industry has won this round but the traffic light labelling fight isn’t over yet. IJClark

States should stand up to the food industry on traffic light labelling

The Federal Government has defied expert advice and rejected a traffic light food labelling system for packaged foods, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to show it would give consumers the information…
Vitamins, minerals and herbal therapies should live up to the claims on their packaging. Vitamins, minerals and herbal therapies should live up to the claims on their packaging. Peter Sunna

Consumers need the facts about complementary medicines

Two out of three Australians use complementary medicines to boost their nutrition, alleviate various symptoms and improve their overall health and well-being. There are around 10,000 products to choose…
Consumers need more useful information about assessing the freshness and safety of food products. Consumers need more useful information about assessing the freshness and safety of food products.

Has the use-by date gone past its prime?

Picture this: you arrive home from work feeling a bit peckish. Sliced mango and a dollop of yoghurt should ease the cravings until dinner, you think. You open the fridge door and, horror, no yoghurt. Not…
Food labels may help curb the obesity epidemic but opponents willfully misrepresent what we know about them. Food labels may help curb the obesity epidemic but opponents willfully misrepresent what we know about them. Marshall Astor

Seeing red: critics of better food labels fail to understand public health measures

Nutritional labels on food packaging empower consumers to make healthier and more informed food choices. But like other measures taken for public health, food labelling also has its critics. There’s clear…
Australia needs a tax on unhealthy foods that covers more than just fat content. Australia needs a tax on unhealthy foods that covers more than just fat content. Flickr/ms Tea

Is a ‘fat tax’ the answer to Australia’s obesity crisis?

Australia should follow the lead of Denmark and consider taxing foods high in saturated fats to curb the nation’s growing obesity problem, Greens leader Bob Brown said at yesterday’s tax forum. This week…
Colouring makes food eye-catching but such chemicals could be affecting attention and activity. Colouring makes food eye-catching but such chemicals could be affecting attention and activity. wwarby/Flickr

Cocktail of chemicals: the health impact of additives in processed foods

A growing body of evidence is focusing attention on the dangers posed by the myriad chemicals in our food. Although certainty around the precise impact of these chemicals is some way off, what we do know…
roxon plain pack. roxon plain pack. AAP

World-first plain packaging for tobacco products a step closer to becoming law

Legislation requiring tobacco products to be in plain packaging was passed by the House of Representatives last night. This is the first such measure in the world to come so close to becoming law. We asked…
Alcohol is currently exempt from the labelling requirements that all other products we eat and drink have to follow. Alcohol is currently exempt from the labelling requirements that all other products we eat and drink have to follow. Klearchos Kapoutsis

Cheers to health warning labels for alcoholic drinks

Despite known risks of drinking, health and safety warning labels have been noticeably absent from alcoholic beverages in Australia. But that might be about to change, with the Government today seeking…
Certifying timber gives some level of certainty that forest products are sustainable. Certifying timber gives some level of certainty that forest products are sustainable. CIFOR/Flickr

Forest certification: a small step towards sustainability

It can be hard to know whether the forest products you buy have been produced sustainably. Forestry certifications were established to give a bit more certainty, but what do they really mean? When you…
Light or “lite” can refer to the colour, weight or kilojoule content of a product. Light or “lite” can refer to the colour, weight or kilojoule content of a product. Flickr/Trusty pics

Monday’s medical myth: light or ‘lite’ food is healthy

How much can you believe about claims made on food packaging? For any mention of the word “light” or “lite”, feel free to add your own definition – that will have about as much credibility as any claim…
There are a lot of natural things you wouldn’t want to eat. There are a lot of natural things you wouldn’t want to eat. Timothy Valentine/Flickr

Greenwashing: can you trust that label?

Producers and retailers of everything from toilet paper to homes want you to believe that their product is “green”. More are “greenwashing” their products. Greenwashing is the misleading claims of environmental…
When branding is removed smokers rate the product as less appealing. When branding is removed smokers rate the product as less appealing. AAP

The evidence is in – plain cigarette packs turn young smokers off

For a policy the tobacco industry claims “won’t work” or that there “is no evidence” to support its implementation, plain packaging has elicited a deafening chorus of conflicting arguments as to why it…
The WTO allows countries to take measures “necessary for public health.” The WTO allows countries to take measures “necessary for public health.” AAP

Smoke and mirrors: Big Tobacco’s last gasp legal challenge to plain packaging

The Government’s plan to introduce plain packaging for tobacco products has been raised at the Council for TRIPS meeting in Geneva this week. In a note to TRIPS delegates, the Indonesian Government has…
Part of the British American Tobacco Australia campaign launched today. Part of the British American Tobacco Australia campaign launched today.

Big Tobacco’s death-defying campaign on plain packaging

The tobacco industry has launched a national media campaign today, questioning the Federal Government’s proposed plain packaging legislation. It will also release a series of confidential government documents…
Informative labelling can put us on the road to ethical choices. Informative labelling can put us on the road to ethical choices. AAP

Want to avoid palm oil? You need a label

The most important factor determining whether consumers avoid purchasing a product containing palm oil is not how they feel about orangutans, the environment, or anything else for that matter. It’s whether…
NGOs, public health associations and consumer organisations disagree with industry groups about the most useful system for labelling our foods. NGOs, public health associations and consumer organisations disagree with industry groups about the most useful system for labelling our foods.

Food industry digs in heels over traffic light labels

The fight over how to label our food has never been more intense. On one side of the argument we have public health associations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and consumer groups looking for effective…