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Reducing Australians' salt intake by 30% could save 7,000 lives a year. Joe Gough/Shutterstock

Salt overload – it’s time to get tough on the food industry

While other nations have successfully reduced their sodium intake, Australians are still eating too much salt. And we’re paying the price with our health; a high-salt diet can lead to high blood pressure…
Even though they were designed for athletes, sports drinks are now usually consumed by people who are neither exercising nor athletes. Rowan Gillette- Fussell/Flickr

Sports drinks help athletic performance and nothing else

A proposal to allow sports drinks manufacturers to feature health claims has led to something of a spat between the drinks industry and a health lobby group. The heart of the matter is whether “sport drinks…
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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…
Consumers pay a premium for “eco-friendly” coffee largely thanks to labelling. Angelica Lasala/Flickr

Coffee greenwashing works: study

Coffee labelled as “eco-friendly” can attract a premium, with consumers led to believe it tastes better, according to new…
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. 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? 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. 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…
Precautionary labels are present on more than half of all packaged processed foods in Australian supermarkets. Bruce A Stockwell

Confused parents ignore precautionary food allergy labels

Parents of children with a history of the potentially life-threatening allergic reaction anaphylaxis often ignore precautionary…
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…

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