Feature articles

What is the health star rating?

    • The Health Star Rating is a government initiative to help consumes make 'better for you' food choices
    • Packaged foods are scored using an online calculator
    • The voluntary initiative was introduced in 2014

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The take up of the voluntary Health Star Rating (HSR) has surpassed government expectations. This interpretative Front of Pack Labelling (FOPL) system simplifies complex nutrition information into a simple at-a-glance assessment; The more stars a food has, the healthier it is.

The online calculator deducts points for nutrients which may increase the risk of chronic disease (energy, saturated fat, salt and total sugars) and adds points for positive components (fibre, protein, vegetables, nuts and legumes) per 100g, from a category-specific baseline score.

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While the system seems the best FOPL system devised so far, there are still anomalies, including those resulting from the use of total sugars content rather than added sugars. For example, many fresh whole fruits score less than five stars due to naturally occurring sugars.

The HSR rating was designed for processed packaged foods and education is needed to reassure consumers that whole unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are still healthy even if they miss out on a perfect score.

For more information go to the stakeholder section of the website

NEXT: Sugar and triglycerides 

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