Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Sellman's labels make fizzy drinks look healthier than milk

Media release from NZ Food & Grocery Council
Sellman's labels would make fizzy drinks look healthier than milk

The traffic light labelling system for food and beverages championed by Professor Doug Sellman would make fizzy drinks look like a healthier food choice than milk, says Food & Grocery Council Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

Prof Sellman recently used the death of an Invercargill woman to push his argument that a classic traffic light system – which “would provide a red, amber, or green indication for four components, fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt, on the front of supermarket products” – could be part of a solution to prevent such extreme cases of unhealthy consumption. According to Prof Sellman, providing a rating across the main nutrients, consumers would “at a glance” be able to determine which of the foods for sale are “good for health, so-so, or not good for health’’.

“While this ‘green is good, red is bad’ approach to rating food seems so compellingly simple, unfortunately in practice such a scheme has some fundamental flaws,” Mrs Rich says.

“The example of fizzy drinks, the platform for Prof Sellman’s arguments, is ironically one of the clearest examples of how such a simplistic labelling system can lead to confusing messages for consumers and unintended consequences.

“Using his proposed scheme, soft drinks, both full sugar and diet options, end up with a colour rating that ‘at a glance’ looks healthier than milk and a range of other foods which are important to a healthy and balanced diet.

“Full-sugar soft drinks would score three green lights because they have zero fat, zero saturated fat, and are low in sodium. They would score just one red light – for sugar content. Artificially sweetened soft drinks would score the maximum four green lights.

“Milk, on the other hand, would score three orange lights and one green light.

“Looking just at the traffic light scores, important parts of a healthy diet, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, all look like less healthy choices.

“Is this really the message Professor Sellman wants labels to be giving people? To give New Zealanders the impression that these important parts of a healthy diet are less healthy?”

Mrs Rich says there are other anomalies in using such a system, particularly when some proponents have called for the extension of such a system to alcoholic beverages.

“Regulators in New Zealand and Australia already understand that this would be unwise. Under a traffic light labelling system, spirits such as vodka, gin and whiskey would attract the maximum number of four green lights because they contain zero fat, saturated fat, salt, and sugar.

“European research concludes that people generally interpret a red label as ‘stop’ and a green label as ‘go’, so in instances such as these, a traffic light system can again work against messages about the importance of a healthy and balanced diet.

“Just as pigging-out on green-labelled foods won’t lead to a balanced diet, neither will avoiding all red-labelled products. Milk, cheese, honey, raisins, and breakfast spreads such as Vegemite and Marmite would all most likely attract a red label, but each of these foods is important to a balanced diet.

“Rather than ‘commercial activity’ walking over health concerns, as Prof Sellman claims, commerce has actually helped New Zealand consumers dodge an overly simplistic and misleading labelling system and its unacceptable unintended consequences.

“The potential for confusing messages for consumers was one of the reasons the classic traffic light labelling system for food and beverage was dismissed by government ministers from New Zealand and the Australian States and territories in December 2011, when they called for the development of some other labelling system to promote healthier choices.

“The food industry supported that decision and is working with officials to consider alternate informative schemes,” Mrs Rich says.
Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Future Brighter Money: RBNZ Releases New Bank Note Designs

New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year. More>>

ALSO:

Commerce: Supermarket Inquiry Finds No Breaches By Countdown

The Commerce Commission inquiry into anti-competitive behaviour by Countdown supermarkets, alleged by former Labour Party MP Shane Jones, has found nothing to warrant prosecution, although it warns supermarkets to take care in the way they communicate... More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: English Flags ‘Challenge’ To Budget Surplus

Finance Minister Bill English is warning next month’s half yearly fiscal and economic update from the Treasury may not forecast a budget surplus, saying that returning the government’s accounts to surplus in 2015 will be “a challenge”, given the decline in commodity prices and weak global inflation. More>>

ALSO:

March 2015: Netflix To Launch In Australia And New Zealand

World’s Leading Internet Television Network to Offer Original Series, Movies, Documentaries, Stand-Up Comedy Specials and TV Shows for Low Monthly Price More>>

ALSO:

Price Of Cheese (Is Up): Dairy Product Prices Fall To Five-Year Low

Dairy product prices fell in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction to the lowest level in more than five years, led by declines in rennet casein and skim milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Australians Scoring Trade Points Against Us With The Chinese

It hasn’t been a great year for Trade Minister Tim Groser... To top it off, Australia has just signed a FTA with China that has far better provisions on dairy exports than what New Zealand currently enjoys in our own FTA with China. More>>

ALSO:

Iwi & Local Consultation: Oil And Gas Block Offer 2015 Begins

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges today announced the start of the Block Offer 2015 process for awarding oil and gas exploration permits. More>>

Industrial Action: Stats NZ Throwing Public Money Away Duplicating Data

The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ are throwing money away by collecting the same data twice for official statistics such as the Consumer Price Index... As part of the ongoing industrial action, field interviewers who are PSA members are continuing to collect data, but are not sending it through to Statistics NZ. More>>

ALSO:

Other Stats:

Space: Rosetta's 'Philae' Makes Historic First Landing On A Comet

After more than a decade traveling through space, a robotic lander built by the European Space Agency has made the first-ever soft landing of a spacecraft on a comet. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news