The advisory committee which oversees the health star rating (HSR) system will undertake a five-year review which addresses concerns.
After the review, the Health Star Rating Advisory Committee (HSRAC) will provide its findings to the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (Forum) in mid‑2019.
The HSRAC is also conducting a dedicated investigation of issues and concerns raised about the form of the food (‘as prepared’) rules in the Guide for Industry to the HSR Calculator.
These enable additional nutrients to be taken into account when calculating star ratings based on foods prepared according to on-label directions.
A specific consultation process seeking input into this investigation ran from May to June this year.
The five-year review of the system will consider if, and how well, the objectives of the HSR system have been met, and identify options for improvements to and ongoing implementation of the system.
In the meantime, consumer group Choice hosted a Q&A session inviting consumers to submit questions about the health star rating system through Facebook today.
Consumer questions on Choice's Facebook page included:
- “Don't manufacturing companies buy star ratings? Manufactured food is not real food.”
- “Why is fat the bad guy when it should be sugar? Why are good fats demonised in the five star system?”
- “How do fruit loops have a two star health rating? How much more unhealthy would it need to be for one star?”
- “How can food with single ingredients get only one star, but food with additives and preservatives get 4-5 stars?”
Food manufacturers started to apply HSRs to the front of food product packaging in June 2014.