CHOICE membership

Health star ratings


Completed it, Tweeted it and the following are my comments that I added:

Some products use terms like “natural” or “organic” to try and convince the public that this makes the product healthy as a choice. This is sometimes not the healthy product that the labeling would try to convince you of, eg too much sugar regardless of whether organic, natural, or not. Health stars that truly reflect the health choices of the product would help consumers then be able to compare more accurately the benefits between two similar type products rather than relying on some other advertising slogan.


Too much vested interest in getting the Stars to reflect the desire of Industry to sell a product regardless of it’s real nutritional value. Previously this was an issue with Nestle Milo as an example of the system being tweaked to reflect a marketing position rather than a “healthy option” position. I have other concerns around the desire for Industry to have choices on placement and sizings that can make it difficult to easily find and read the information and again this can obscure/reduce the benefits of a Star rating system.


I have also responded with the following:

Why should Health Stars be mandatory?

Health Stars should be mandatory as it is very difficult for most within the community to decipher the nutritional information on packaging to determine is a product is healthy. The 5 star system, while not perfect, as least provides a simplified rating based on some health criteria which allows one to make more informed decisions at the time of purchase. Information on the packaging alone can’t be relied upon for determining a products healthiness. Manufacturers are very cleaver in using words like ‘fresh’, ‘natural’, ‘organic’, ‘pure’, ‘real’, ‘whole grain’, ‘gluten free’ etc to imply that a product is healthy, when in fact the product is somewhat unhealthy. Bypassing the marketing jargon allows one to make better selection of foods for oneself and ones family.

Why do you think industry involvement in the design of Health Stars is an issue?

Industry should be involved in the development of a star rating system as most manufacturers have internal expertise (such as food scientists, nutritionists etc) which may be valuable in the evolution for a better system. This expertise also has the ability determine impacts on their own products and also what manufacturing amelioration needs to be undertaken to improve product health ratings. If industry is involved, only those which have the necessary experience to contribute to the system review and development should occur. This means that marketing/communication, legal or accounting personnel (or others without necessary qualifications and experience) should sit on the sides as their contribution is likely to be in support of the business, not necessarily the health rating system. Industry should also be involved so that they hopefully they endorse or embrace the healthy rating system moving forward.

I possibly should have also said not thinking of it that industry should not control the process, but be a participant adding input if and when required.


Proposed changes would have an interesting effect on some products:


In that regard to Milo what would be or is the impact on the health star numbers of their newer Milo with 30% less sugar in it? Not that I care to drink it but I assume it is a move to regain some lost face/ground over the previous 4.5 star debacle they had. Am I being cynical about the change? Or are they really concerned about the health impacts and are trying to improve their healthy offerings?


The Health Star Review has lodged its report. Choice has given its view of the outcome.

It is hard to come to grips with the conclusions of the review yet as it all goes to government now and who knows if the recommendations will be accepted. Only a draft report (february 2019) is available so far so we don’t really know what is going to government much less what will be adopted.

I found the draft report flawed in several respects, a real worry since it no doubt cost a lot of taxpayers’ money. Let’s say at this point the data presented does not support the conclusions reached. I suspect the fix is in. However let us see what comes up in the final, perhaps it will be repaired. It is already overdue.

This has a way to go yet.


Have to agree with this, especially with regard to the sugar issue… its mindboggling, the products that have sugar added. Scones from coles, for example, have added sugar. WTF?

I’ve become very annoyed lately though, with frozen meals. All producers seem to have changed from adding salt, to adding pepper. Now thats probably fine for those who like pepper, but I just dont. I have a small dispenser of black peppercorns for an occasional “dose” on my scrambled eggs, but otherwise never use pepper. Try getting your YouFoodz or Lite’n’Easy without it. BAH! I’d be happy if they left salt and pepper out, entirely. Let us all make our own decision about how much to have.