Vegetable industry body AUSVEG is appalled at the number of vegetables that still do not receive a full rating under the new voluntary Health Star Rating System, which is to be rolled out in the coming months.
Out of 20 vegetables tested by AUSVEG using the official Health Star Rating Calculator, only 10 receive a five-star rating, with the remaining half only achieving four and a half stars.
Vegetables such as celery, lettuce and pumpkin failed to meet the criteria for a five-star rating, despite their widely verified health benefits.
“We are extremely disappointed that not all vegetables are eligible for a five-star rating under the new front-of-pack labelling system,” said AUSVEG Manager – Government and Parliamentary Relations, Andrew White.
“Science has confirmed the myriad health benefits provided by a vegetable-rich diet, so to exclude some of them from receiving an five-star rating is sending the wrong message to Australian consumers about what they should really put on their plates.”
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
The voluntary Health Star Rating System is purportedly designed to make healthy eating choices easier for Australian consumers when purchasing groceries.
“AUSVEG fails to see how the system would encourage consumers to purchase fresh vegetables, when it deems that celery – which provides a mere 64 kJ of energy per 100g serving – receives a four and a half star rating.”
“Front-of-pack labelling policy should be well thought-out and backed by common sense,” said Mr White.
The current Percentage of Daily Intake system and the new Health Star Rating system both fail to consider the role of phytonutrients in vegetables, many of which are linked to the prevention of several health conditions and disorders, like cancer.
“Research has demonstrated that vegetables are rich in chemicals that can help to fight conditions like cardiovascular disease and cancer. These benefits should be closely considered when developing rating systems for individual vegetables.”
“With obesity on the rise amongst Australians, it is important that we convey good health messages. Awarding vegetables an automatic five stars would allow consumers to more easily determine what foods are best for them,” said Mr White.
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew White, Manager – Government and Parliamentary Relations.
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0409 989 575, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org