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Food Companies Accused of TRICKING Australians

Food companies have been accused of tricking Australian consumers after a number were found to be avoiding putting low health star ratings on poor-performing products.

A number of companies are being accused of deliberately choosing the products that display the Health Star ratings on supermarket shelves, with an expert even claiming that they are trying to confuse customers.

The Health Star rating system is designed as a guide and is not mandatory for products, but industry expects are now calling for mandatory Health Star ratings on all food packaging.

The ratings system uses a scale from 0.5 to 5 stars, with the higher rating equating to the healthier option. However, a lower rating does not necessarily mean the item is an unhealthy food.

A 2016 Heart Foundation study showed fewer shoppers believed the system’s rating were actually credible or reliable.

Executive manager of Obesity Policy Coalition Jane Martin said consumers already have a hard enough time picking healthy choices and companies selecting the products that receive a star rating are making things even more confusing.

“If the star system isn't being used comprehensively across all products it makes it harder for consumers to make healthier choices,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“The system's been around for 2.5 years and companies know how it operates. Consumers are being kept in the dark.”

For example, Kellogg’s LCM products with the Split Stix have a 0.5 – 1.0 star rating – but failed to advertise the stars on the packing.

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Image: Kelloggs

A Kellogg's spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia the company had chosen its new products that all carry Health Star ratings and were rolling them out, and have all health star rating information available on their website.

“We've spoken regularly with advocacy groups including OPC about health stars since the system was introduced by the Government.”

“All of our cereal packaging carry health stars and our rollout on snacks has coincided with our new products that have been launched since – Special K Bliss Bites, Nutri-Grain Edge Bars and LCMs Oaty Bubble Bars.”

Another example is Carman’s who showed the Health Star ratings on their great performing products, but left the display off the coconut flavoured Oat Slice, which only scored 1.5 stars.

Similarly, they told Daily Mail Australia that they would roll out the Health Star Rating System on their new products over time.

Source: Daily Mail Australia

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