Saturday, 26 November 2016 11:17

Clearer labelling for oils and sugars a step closer

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Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew is welcoming progress on improving food labelling, including consistent labelling of added fats and oils that are high in saturated fatty acids.

“As Food Safety Minister my priority for New Zealand consumers is food safety and public health. For nutrition purposes, the labelling of high saturated oils like palm oil and coconut oil should be consistent with New Zealand and Australia’s dietary guidelines. I made New Zealand’s position clear at today’s meeting of the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation,” Mrs Goodhew says.

The Forum discussed Recommendation 12, which states that where the terms “added fats” and “added vegetable oils” are used in the ingredient list of a food, they should be followed by a bracketed list describing the source of the fat or oil, for example: added vegetable oils (“sunflower oil, palm oil”).

“This recommendation addresses health concerns about high saturated fats contained in some oils and provides consistency with New Zealand’s dietary guidelines.”

The Forum has a framework that it applies when developing food labelling policy. This framework is underpinned by an issues hierarchy. The hierarchy means that mandatory labelling applies for food safety and preventative health reasons, and voluntary labelling for consumer values.

“The Forum agreed that Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), in consultation with the Food Regulation Standing Committee, should prepare a programme of work that will address this and to present this at the next Forum meeting in April 2017.

“This programme of work will further investigate labelling approaches, for providing information on sugars and added fats/vegetables oils, as separate issues.

“New Zealand officials will lead policy work with the intention of identifying next steps in relation to naming sources of fats and oils to support consumers to make informed choices, consistent with the Australian and New Zealand dietary guidelines,” says Mrs Goodhew.

The communique is available HERE, and more information about the Forum activity is available at www.foodregulation.gov.au.