An interesting development in food packaging has arisen in
Australia recently. Prior to the recent Federal election, the
Labour Government called for a new and voluntary 'star-rating
system' for food packaging. The star rating system was designed
to provide a simple, visual means of communicating the fat, sodium,
sugar and overall kilojoule content of a packaged food item to
consumers. Labels would feature a possible five star rating for
foods, with more stars indicating that the product is a better
nutritional choice than a product with fewer stars. It would apply
to most packaged foods, with the exception of soft drink and
confectionary, which would only be required to display kilojoule
The former Government proposed a voluntary system which would
become mandatory in 2 years if it was not implemented widely by the
industry during that time. The system was agreed to by the former
Government Ministers responsible for food regulation in June 2013,
however it is unclear whether the new Coalition Government will
follow through with its implementation.
We see this as another step toward increased government
regulation of food and beverage packaging driven by public health
and a desire for informed consumer choice. It is also part of the
broader global trend to regulate packaging – particularly the
packaging of 'unhealthy' products – with other
In 2012, Australia became the first country in the world to
successfully implement plain cigarette packaging featuring large
graphic health warnings. This initiative has been followed by
Ireland, and now potentially Canada and the UK.
In June 2013, the UK Government introduced a voluntary
'traffic light system' of food labelling to show how much
fat, salt and sugar an item contains. Despite its voluntary nature,
the UK Government has obtained strong support from the main
supermarket chains and some of the biggest snack food
In a first step towards the mandatory nutritional labelling of
liquor, the US Government introduced voluntary nutritional labels
in June 2013, which alcoholic beverage companies could choose to
use on their products.
In September 2012, the New York Board of Health moved to
restrict soda serving sizes in restaurants and other venues,
however that initiative was recently successfully challenged in the
New York Supreme Court.
If the Coalition Government decides to implement the star-rating
system or something similar, it would be a significant win for
consumer groups, and is likely to create difficulties for
manufacturers who produce products which would achieve low star
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
What happens if a patient, particularly a mental health patient,.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).