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    Caitlin

    I am pleased to see that in Recommendation 2 (re: the food labelling issues hierarchy (http://www.foodlabellingreview.gov.au/internet/foodlabelling/publishing.nsf/Content/48C0548D80E715BCCA257825001E5DC0/$File/Food%20Labelling%20Issues%20Hierarchy%20Diagram.pdf for those of you playing at home)) ‘preventative health’ is given a higher priority than ‘consumer values’. Not because ‘consumer values’ is not a worthy consideration, but because I fear that ‘consumer values’ aren’t always just that. And that industry often dictates ‘consumer values’ or ‘public opinion’ and therefore, the arbitrary concept should rightly come further down the list than honest and accurate information, and full disclosure. One would hope that consumers recognise and value truth and honesty.

    And regarding the suggested introduction of a (voluntary) traffic light labelling system on packaged foods. Finally, common sense prevails! TLs are the most easy to use system to interpret a foods nutritional value. ‘Interpret’, not ‘plan and record your daily intake of every possible nutrient to the nth degree’. This is an important distinction, because consumers require easy to understand information pitched at a general level, to help them make a purchasing decisions. (ie, not everyone is a dietician, or a mathematician who can recall their daily intake requirements on the spot).

    TLs are the nutritional equivalent of unit-pricing at the supermarket. You can make informed, case-by-case decisions about which products you prefer, based on a unit (100g) amount. TLs complement existing nutrition information tables and ingredient lists, etc.

    The case to introduce mandatory and permanent TL labelling now lies hands hearts and minds of consumers, who are being wooed by the food industry that % Daily Intake labels are best, most easy to understand and obliging food label on the market. Why, they’ve even launched a rather large, wordy website which goes to great lengths to EXPLAIN just how SELF-EXPLANATORY %DI labels are. This website was launched days, if not 24 hours, before the food labelling review came out.

    On the other hand, traffic light labels are so easy to understand, there has not yet been the need for mass consumer education. The irony is that if the health industry does not match the AFGC’s efforts in consumer education, the efforts of the (voluntary) trial introduction of TLs may just get lost in the spin doctoring.

    For the record , here’s a one page summary of how TLs work – no big website, or imagery of serene, healthy looking people doing yoga to try and convince you. Just facts:

    http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/food-and-health/labelling-and-advertising/nutritional-labelling/traffic-light-labelling.aspx

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