New Zealand and Australian ministers have agreed front-of-pack nutrition labels on food products are needed. But a decision on traffic-light labelling has been postponed.

We've been campaigning for traffic-light labels because they help consumers pick healthier products.

Traffic-light labelling uses green, amber and red symbols to indicate the level of total fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium in a product.

However, the New Zealand and Australia Forum on Food Regulation has delayed a decision on traffic light labels pending further consultation and research. The forum has asked officials to provide a report on front-of-pack labelling options to be considered at its next meeting in June 2012.

We'll continue to advocate for traffic light labels because they help consumers sift through the marketing hype and make better food choices.

Behind the label


We've picked a sample of supermarket products that make nutrition claims and applied traffic light labelling.

Here's what we found. If you'd like to add to our list, send us your examples.

 
Flemings Chewy Muesli Bars

Flemings Chewy Muesli Bars

"Wholegrain oats", "Source of fibre", "No artificial colours."

Flemings Chewy Muesli Bars

 
Grain Waves Wholegrain Chips

Grain Waves Wholegrain Chips

"70% less saturated fat", "Good source of wholegrains"

Grain Waves Wholegrain Chips 

Milo Cereal

Milo Cereal

"50% wholegrain", "10 Vitamins & Minerals", "Source of fibre"

Milo Cereal 

Pams Coco Snaps

Pams Coco Snaps

"A good source of carbohydrate", "No artificial colours", "No preservatives", "Low in fat", "Good source of vitamins B1, B3, folate & iron"

Pams Coco Snaps

Kellog's Nutri-Grain

Kellogg's Nutri-Grain

"High in protein", "Source of calcium", "Good source of B1, B2 & niacin", "Good source of iron"

Kellogg's Nutri-Grain

Nairns Mini Oatcakes

Nairn's Mini Oatcakes

"Low GI", "No added sugar", "Wholegrain Oats", "Wheat free recipe"

Nairn's Mini Oatcakes

Alfa One Real Mayonnaise

Alfa One Real Mayonnaise

"Good for you, Good for your food"

Alfa One Real Mayonnaise 

Blue Coconut Cooking Oil

Blue Coconut Cooking Oil

"100% pure & natural" "The 'good fat' cooking oil", "Has no cholesterol", "Ideal for sports nutrition", "Is not hydrogenated", "Is easily digested", "Has anti-bacterial  and anti-viral properties"

Blue Coconut Cooking Oil

Arnott's Harvest Wheat crackers

Arnott's Harvest Wheat crackers

"The wholesome country style wheat cracker", "No artificial colours or preservatives"

Arnott's Harvest Wheat crackers 

Chicken Tonight Simmer Sauce Swett & Sour

Chicken Tonight Simmer Sauce Sweet & Sour

"99% fat free"

Chicken Tonight Simmer Sauce Sweet & Sour

Criteria
We compared foods on total fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium. We've used nutrient criteria developed by the Australian consumer organisation, Choice. These criteria are based on the latest nutrition recommendations and dietary guidelines established by government health experts in Australia and internationally.

Guide to the Table 

Member Comments


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It's obvious Posted by: Steve Southall 16 Dec 2011 10:43pm

Traffic light labelling - simple, effective, in the best interests of the consumer

Delay, obfuscation and more reports - in the best interests of the food industry.

You can see where the National Government's priorities are.

Ministers of Health Posted by: Tramper 12 Dec 2011 10:51am

National favour hiding the truth allowing the health of our citizens to be compromised. They sacked ALAC and replaced it with guess who:Katherine Rich. Does this sound familiar? Peter Dunne associate health minister decided to suppress the results of an alcohol surveyin 2010 at exactly the same time the select committee on alcohol reform were receiving public opinion submissions. Why would he do this? National and its suck up ministers are biased against alcohol reform. The same is true with suppressing this advance. Big food corporates are just like big alcohol companies. They don't want us to know the truth. National's health ministers are clearly anti health reform.

Simple is best Posted by: Ninya Maubach 08 Dec 2011 2:31pm

Given that the National Government saw fit to appoint the chief food lobbyist, Katherine Rich, to the Board of the proposed Health Promotion Agency, I have little confidence in our ministers voting for a change to the food code that will highlight the poor nutritional quality of many packaged foods. Having researched front-of-pack nutrition labelling for my thesis, I know that traffic light labels are more accessible for consumers than the industry-favoured percent daily intake labels, and will be more likely to help people identify healthier options.

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