Food industry ready for health challenges

Australia’s food and grocery sector stands ready to proactively face the challenges outlined in the Federal Government’s National Preventative Health Taskforce Strategy, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) said today.

The taskforce report Australia: The Healthiest Country by 2020 has outlined several challenging recommendations for food and grocery manufacturers, to be phased in between 2010-2013, which AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell — a member of the taskforce — said would be addressed through strategic partnerships between Government, industry and community.

“Australia’s food and grocery manufacturing sector welcomes these preventative health challenges and has already made strong inroads in these areas with a number of self-regulated measures including front of pack food labelling, an advertising to children initiative and the reduction of salt and trans-fats in processed foods,” Ms Carnell said.

“Overweight and obesity is one of the major challenges facing our country and industry is committed to being part of the solution. We stand ready to work with Government and communities but there’s still plenty of work ahead — the pressure’s now firmly on Australia’s food and grocery sector to deliver on its promises.

“While a number of the strategy’s recommendations directly target industry, the taskforce report is also a major call to action for all Australians to play an important role in improving their physical health and eating habits over the next few years.”

Key recommendations in the report include:

  • A reduction in the exposure of children to advertising of energy-dense nutrient poor (EDNP) foods
  • The introduction of “front of pack food labelling” to support healthier food choices with easy to understand information on energy, sugar, fat, saturated fats, salt and transfats and a standard serve/portion size, within three years
  • Establishment of a Health Food Compact framework between Government, industry and community groups to help make products healthier by reducing fat content

To view the full report visit: www.afgc.org.au

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