Friday, December 01, 2017

Health Ministers delay taking action on added sugar labelling - again

The ADAVB is disappointed that Health Ministers delayed making a decision about added sugar labelling when they met at the Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation last week.

Health advocates and consumer groups have been calling for added sugar labelling to be legislated to make it easier for consumers to understand how much added sugar is in food and drinks. A recent campaign by Choice Australia, supported by the Australian Dental Association, resulted in over 20,000 consumers contacting their Health Minister to urge them to make the right decision about added sugar labelling.

“This is a disappointing outcome from Health Ministers who are yet again siding with the food and beverage industry and delaying making a decision on added sugar labelling,” says ADAVB CEO A/Prof Matthew Hopcraft. “They’ve had plenty of opportunities to take action and this delay means that Australian consumers still have no idea how much added sugar they are consuming.”

The World Health Organisation reviewed the evidence that links added sugar consumption to a range of health problems, including tooth decay, overweight and obesity and type II diabetes, and made recommendations to reduce added or free sugar consumption to less than 12 teaspoons per day, and ideally less than 6 teaspoons. Australians are currently consuming on average 14 teaspoons of added sugar per day, and teenagers are consuming 22 teaspoons on average per day. 

“The decision by Health Ministers to protect the interests of the food and beverage industry will deny consumers the opportunity to easily meet this target, and over-consumption of sugar will continue to have a negative impact on Australians’ dental health,” says A/Prof Hopcraft.

“Other countries have successfully implemented similar measures, so this decision demonstrates the unhealthy influence that industry has over respective State and Federal governments.”

Clearer labelling means consumers can make informed choices about what they are eating and drinking. We encourage Australians to urge Health Ministers to stop this unacceptable delay in legislating added sugar labelling by visiting the CHOICE campaign website: sugar.

Tell your Health Minister you won’t stand for more delays on this important public health initiative.