Policy Paper: Labelling of sugars on packaged foods
This policy paper was written to provide advice to the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation to assist them in deciding on policy regarding the labelling of sugars on food and drinks. After a period of consultation, a total of 166 submissions were received and utilised in preparing the report. The contributing stakeholders were as follows:
Food industry: 31
Public health: 50
The report concludes that information about sugar on food labels in Australia and New Zealand does not provide adequate contextual information to enable consumers to make informed choices in support of dietary guidelines.
The evidence supporting that a problem exists were:
Dietary guidelines about sugar in Australia & New Zealand - In Australia: Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol. In New Zealand: choose and/or prepare foods and drinks: with unsaturated fats, that are low in salt, with little or no added sugar, and that are mostly ‘whole’ and less processed.
The two aims of the Food Standards system are: (1) to enable consumers to make informed choices, and (2) to support public health objectives. A list of options to change added sugars labelling were made with these in mind:
The pros and cons of each are described, and a rating given as to how well each option addressed four criteria:
Option 4 was found to best achieve the desired outcome. It was rated highest against the above criteria. Options 1,2,5 and 7 were discounted as they met at least one criterion poorly. The largest proportion of stakeholders (3/5) supported option 4 – to include added sugars in the NIP.
The report also states that applying option 6 only to sugar-sweetened beverages warrants further consideration.
The Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation will consider the report and are expected to make recommendations by the end of the year.
You can find the report here