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Analysis and Comment (24)

Just because a product says it’s GM-free, it doesn’t mean GM organisms haven’t been used in the manufacturing process. Just because a product says it’s GM-free, it doesn’t mean GM organisms haven’t been used in the manufacturing process. Tavallai/Flickr

Making a meal of GM food labelling

In this final instalment of GM in Australia – a series looking at the facts, ethics, regulations and research into genetically modified crops – Heather Bray and Rachel Ankeny explore the murky world of…
The health star rating system aims to provide convenient and easily understood nutritional information on food packs. The health star rating system aims to provide convenient and easily understood nutritional information on food packs. eddie welker/Flickr

After three-year saga, health star rating labels finally ready to go

Assistant health minister Fiona Nash has announced that Australian and New Zealand ministers responsible for food policy and regulation have signed off on the health star rating system for front-of-pack…
The mad cow disease epidemic in the UK led to the creation of the Food Standards Agency, which put the public interest back into food policy. The mad cow disease epidemic in the UK led to the creation of the Food Standards Agency, which put the public interest back into food policy. Barry/Flickr

Why there’s lots to love – and learn – about English food

When the English cricket team toured Australia last year they were ridiculed for their dietary requirements long before their humiliation on the pitch. But while English cricket may be wanting, England’s…
We need to look past the colours, pictures and cleverly crafted claims. We need to look past the colours, pictures and cleverly crafted claims. Art Allianz/Shutterstock

Fat free and 100% natural: seven food labelling tricks exposed

If you’re confused by food labels, you’re not alone. But don’t hold your breath for an at-a-glance food labelling system that tells you how much salt, fat and sugar each product contains. Australia’s proposed…
The prevalence of obesity in Australia hasn’t tripled in the last 30 years because we’ve all lost personal responsibility. The prevalence of obesity in Australia hasn’t tripled in the last 30 years because we’ve all lost personal responsibility. Flickr/confidence, comely.

Personal responsibility won’t solve Australia’s obesity problem

Almost two thirds of Australians are now overweight or obese. In fact, obesity and unhealthy diets now contribute to more disease and illness in Australia than smoking. This makes finding solutions to…
Food labelling has been a central plank of the food regulatory system since it first emerged in the mid-1800s. Food labelling has been a central plank of the food regulatory system since it first emerged in the mid-1800s. Marcos Pozo López/Flickr

Food labels are about informing choice, not some nanny state

Coalition MP Ewen Jones has spoken out against reinstating the health star rating website controversially closed down by the assistant health minister. Jones says the government shouldn’t interfere with…
Direct lobbying is one of several tactics food companies use to shape regulation and public perception in their favour. Direct lobbying is one of several tactics food companies use to shape regulation and public perception in their favour. Image from shutterstock.com

Big Food lobbying: tip of the iceberg exposed

The influence of the food lobby has come into the public spotlight over the past week, with revelations that Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash’s chief-of-staff, Alastair Furnival, has strong links to…
Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash’s chief of staff has had to resign because of conflicts of interest. Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash’s chief of staff has had to resign because of conflicts of interest. Alan Porritt/AAP

Should the food industry resign from the health department too?

Furore over links between Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash’s office and industry continues today with revelations that her former chief of staff is connected to the alcohol, as well as the food…
The proposed star rating system is inferior to the traffic light food labeling system. The proposed star rating system is inferior to the traffic light food labeling system. Health Gauge/Flickr

Industry winning the fight against better food labelling

Most people doing their grocery shopping are probably blissfully unaware of the industry lobbying and backroom politics that determines what information appears on food labels. So let’s start with some…
Skate, or “skate”? Skate, or “skate”? Andrew M Griffiths

Unchecked food fraud threatens vulnerable fish

The deliberate act of falsely representing, labelling or advertising food, known as “food fraud”, is not a recent phenomenon. The deceitful adulteration of food has a long history based on the promise…
Serving suggestion: just don’t eat too much. Serving suggestion: just don’t eat too much. PA/Matthew Fearn

Some food will always get a red light (but we can still eat it)

Olive oil producers and other European food industry members have said they’re concerned about the UK’s traffic-light food labelling system because their products would be labelled as unhealthy. But nutrition…
We love our eggs, but what about our chickens? We love our eggs, but what about our chickens? Flickr/Neil

The truth about free range eggs is tough to crack

Queensland recently changed its regulation of free range eggs, lifting the number of hens allowed per hectare from 1,500 to 10,000. This is more than a six-fold increase. Choice and animal welfare and…
Boxing clever - or not. Idea of banning packed school lunches goes to far. Boxing clever - or not. Idea of banning packed school lunches goes to far. PA/Chris Radburn

Banning packed lunches is a step too far

The government wants to improve children’s diets by banning packed lunches and barring children from leaving school at lunchtime to prevent them from buying unhealthy food. School lunches are healthier…
Ready, steady, go - but not not everyone likes traffic systems. Ready, steady, go - but not not everyone likes traffic systems.

Food traffic lights are green for go but EU holds back more radical measures

Last Wednesday was a good day for those of us who have been campaigning for years for more understandable food labelling. The UK Government announced their final recommendation for front-of-pack nutrition…
Long supply chains are common in the food industry, which is mostly concerned with cutting costs and “just on time” management. Long supply chains are common in the food industry, which is mostly concerned with cutting costs and “just on time” management. AAP

Horse meat scandal’s long tail highlights risks of lengthy supply chains

Back in September 2012, an Irish food safety inspector noticed some discrepancies in the labelling and packaging of some frozen meat brought in by a small import-export company. By January 2013, the scandal…
Obesity, over-diagnosis, the NDIS, vaccinations and open access for genetic information were just some of the issues covered in 2012. Obesity, over-diagnosis, the NDIS, vaccinations and open access for genetic information were just some of the issues covered in 2012. Kylie May; shutterstock.com; Morberg; Pranjal Mahn

2012, the year that was: Health + Medicine

It promised to be a full year of reforms: pokies legislation, front-of-pack food labels and a dental system that doesn’t cost those in need an arm and a leg. But while we did see cigarette companies forced…
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…
The move to end the tax appears to be a political one. The move to end the tax appears to be a political one. Sam Howzit

Denmark scraps fat tax in another Big Food victory

Denmark has scrapped the world’s first “fat tax”, which was charged on foods high in saturated fats, after just one year. Plans to introduce a tax on sugar have also been abandoned. In making the announcement…
There’s a great disparity between how different foods are labelled in Australia. There’s a great disparity between how different foods are labelled in Australia. Mathew Sanders

Calls for labelling GM food reveal attempts at market domination

Australia has one of the more rigorous food labelling systems in the world for genetically modified (GM) attributes. All foods with more than 1% GM in any ingredient are required to be identified as “genetically…
How do you pick a fake among free-range egg producers? How do you pick a fake among free-range egg producers? OKNOVOKGHT/Flickr

Where’s the freedom to choose free-range?

Consumers are increasingly concerned about how farm animals are kept, raised, transported, and slaughtered. Most people show their concern by buying “ethical” farm products, such as free-range eggs and…
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…
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…
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…

Research and News (3)

Research Briefs (1)