Food industry should improve information
Thursday, 2 September 2004
PHA calls on food industry to improve information on food and drink
The Public Health Association is calling on the food industry to give better label information on the fat and sugar content in food and drink if it is serious about an industry accord aimed at reducing obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The PHA welcomes the food industry accord announced today but says efforts by companies, which are in the market to make a profit, may not go far enough to combat the obesity epidemic. PHA director Dr Gay Keating points out many so called healthy food and drink products, as well as fast foods, are very high in sugar and fat.
"If the industry is serious about an accord, they should start giving the public warnings about any product that is high fat or high free sugar, and should always give information about the free sugars and the glycaemic index of their products. That way people can make more informed choices." The PHA also supports tighter regulations around advertising of food and drink products during children's viewing hours, Dr Keating says.
"We believe there should be a quota of healthy food messages during children's television and food advertisements that don't meet nutrition guidelines should be taxed."
The association is calling for a joint Education and Health Ministries school food and nutrition policy covering the health education curriculum, school technology syllabus, school selling of food and drink, and fundraising or sponsorship by schools. Other suggestions include fruit and vegetable vouchers for low income people and free high nutrient breakfasts in schools, Dr Keating says.