Watch out for this symbol on the front of the pack of the foods you buy from the supermarket. The Health Star Rating is a system allows food manufacturers to label their food and drinks with a rating of up to 5 stars. The more stars, the healthier the product. This system is designed to complement the Nutrition Information Panel (NIP) which has appeared on the back of food labels for over twenty years. The NIP us exactly how much fat, carbohydrate, sugar, salt and other nutrients are present per serve and per 100g.
In June 2014, the Commonwealth Food Regulators agreed to implement this front of pack rating system. It will be voluntary for the first five years. This means that manufacturers with less healthy products are not as likely to participate! However, it does mean that healthier options which are labelled with more stars will be easier to identify.
The government says that the rating will mean that information about healthy food choices will be easier to understand and will make choosing healthier eating choices easier. As well as the stars, we can expect to find an energy (kilojoule) content declaration and three or four nutrient declarations. Saturated fat, sugar and sodium must be declared.
The Health Star System only applies to packaged foods and drinks so keep an eye out for the stars on products at your local food retailer.
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