In a move the Australian Dental Association (ADA) describes as a huge step in the fight against tooth decay, the federal and state food ministers have called for Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to review nutrition labelling for added sugars.
Food labelling rules currently see added and naturally occurring sugars put together in the one figure on labels, making it difficult for consumers to discern what is naturally occurring and what is not. Added sugar is also disguised as cane syrup, fructose and dextrose in the ingredients panel.
“If the FSANZ adopts the recommendations from the Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation on mandatory ‘added sugar’ labelling on drinks and packaged foods, it would take a lot of the guesswork out of shopping for Australian consumers,” ADA spokesperson Dr Mikaela Chinotti said.
“At the moment consumers may look at labels and not be able to recognise how much is added sugar—so separating natural from added sweeteners on nutrition panels would provide the information shoppers need to make informed choices.”
The ADA believes this recommendation is long overdue.
“What is there for FSANZ even to consider?” Dr Chinotti added. “You only have to look at the facts from Australia’s Oral Health Tracker created by ADA and Australian Health Policy Collaboration research to see this measure is badly needed.”