Healthy Food Partnership To Tackle Obesity

Department of Health LogoThe Federal Government, preventative health groups, food industry bodies, and the biggest supermarkets in Australia are coming together to to cooperatively tackle obesity and encourage healthy eating.

Rural Health Minister Fiona Nash , the Minister responsible for food policy, announced the new partnership and will chair the new Healthy Food Partnership.

The Partnership will have its first meeting on November 13 in Canberra. Attendees will include the Public Health Association, the Heart Foundation, the Australian Food and Grocery Council representing packaged food companies and the quick service restaurants, Woolworths, Metcash (owner of IGA), Coles; the Dietitians Association of Australia, AusVeg, which represents 9000 vegetable growers, Dairy Australia and Meat and Livestock Australia.

In March 2009 the Australian Government acknowledged the need to assist Australians in modifying risk behaviours, such as poor dietary habits, that contribute to preventable chronic diseases and established the Food and Health Dialogue (the Dialogue).

Since its inception the Dialogue has achieved industry agreement on 20 reformulation targets within nine food categories. These are sodium targets for bread, ready to eat breakfast cereal, simmer sauces, processed meats, soups, savoury pies, savoury crackers, potato/corn and extruded snacks and cheese. Saturated fat targets have also been agreed for processed meats.

The average Australian consumes about 9 grams of salt every day. The goal for an average adult is to consume less than 2300 mg of sodium (6 grams of salt) a day.

The Public Health Association, the Australian Food and Grocery Council, the Heart Foundation and AusVeg all welcomed the new Healthy Food Partnership.


Food For Thought – Have Your Say

We are interested in what you think. Please feel free to add your views in the Comments section below. Here are a few talking points.

  • Is this “Big Brother” telling us what we can eat or is it a good initiative to combat rising obesity in the population
  • Should manufacturers be given reduction targets of current products or instead be required to offer additional alternative healthier options. One concern held by manufacturers is that to independantly change the formulation of a product can cause a consumer backlash and see them jumpimg ship to competitors
  • And when the people speak – Remember the 2012 social media frenzy that occurred when Streets changed their Banana Paddle Pop by removing the vegetable oil. The reduction targets seem to be farcical when the consumer can say “Hey, we want our product back the way it was”. Should overwhelming public pressure be sufficient to negate any specific reduction target, just as the same pressure can see healthier products reach the shelves
  • The UK has already set its revised targets to reduce salt in 76 food categories. Rather than reinventing the wheel and wasting time on devising new targets, why dont we just adopt the British targets ?

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