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Fatty Killer Should Be Labelled - Greens

The Green Party said it was very disappointed that saturated fats - a leading contributor to heart disease - were not included in the new draft ANZFA nutritional labelling regime.

The Green Party's concerns over the non-labelling of saturated fats in ANZFA's draft nutritional labelling standard released last week are shared by the National Heart Foundation, the NZ Cancer Society, the National Diabetics Forum, the NZ Nutrition Foundation, the NZ Diatetics Foundation and Te Hotu Manawa Maori.

The labelling regime will include energy, protein, total fat, carbohydrates, and sodium content, however Green Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said it was a worry that harmless fats such as olive oil will be lumped together with the dangerous saturated fats which cause heart disease - the number one killer in New Zealand.

"The medical profession has known for many years that eating saturated fats raises blood cholesterol levels and directly contributes to heart disease. Heart disease kills over 10 times the number who die on our roads," said Ms Kedgley.

Ms Kedgley said people who have suffered a heart attack or were trying to minimise an inherited level of risk should have the fats in their food correctly labelled so these ingredients could be avoided.

In response to a written question from Sue Kedgley, Health Minister Annette King said she sympathised with the concerns of the above groups but said that "internationally, there is less agreement about the positive or negative effects of these [saturated] fats". (Written questions available on request.)

Sue Kedgley said she hoped Ms King would seriously revisit the decision but had little faith that ANZFA would move to address the concerns of the Green Party and a number of nutrition and health groups.

"Heart disease is an extremely serious health issue for this country. This issue is not about politics, it is about protecting the health of all New Zealanders."

Ms Kedgley said she was equally disappointed that there was not a requirement to declare the sugar content of food, especially given that many highly processed foods - particularly those targetted at children - have extremely high levels of sugar.

Ms Kedgley has requested an urgent meeting with Ms King on this issue.

Ends

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