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Star rating on packaged foods

Chuck away those magnifying glasses ladies and gents, the new star rating would allow all of us to make a quick and easy decision as to what we put in our gobs, and more importantly, what we put in our children’s growing bodies.

I am a freelance journalist dedicated to travelling and keeping fit and healthy. A tragic (but proud) cat lady, I believe in the importance of staying strong, active and healthy in the most practical ways possible. I’m also committed to laughing every day, even if that means at myself…which is usually the case. Robyn Box

Remember when you were younger and occasionally worked really hard to get awarded a gold star for doing something right at school? We were happy to forego eating paste or stealing friends’ Textas if it meant we were going to get that little sign of recognition to tell the world you weren’t always cheeky, but in fact were sometimes downright awesome. We were happy to give up all the bad stuff so we could be recognised as good. Unfortunately in my case it wasn’t all that often, but when it did happen the elation was palpable. And to get multiple stars? Well, that was just sheer euphoria.

It took a lot to earn a star in school, but thanks to a WA’s Food & Health Minister, a new proposed star rating on packaged foods, it won’t take much to understand the nutritional value of foods we buy every day.

It’s a simple concept that could turn healthy eating on its head in WA and possibly the rest of Oz if it were to be adopted. Essentially, “packaged products will be rated on factors including their kilojoule (energy) content, and nutrient information on saturated fat, sugar and sodium,” according to Australian Medical Association’s (AMA) Vice President Professor Geoffrey Dobbs. So, the healthier they are the more stars they get.

With frightening statistics from the Public Health Association of Australia claiming around seven out of 20 Australian adults are considered to be in the healthy weight range, and recent Monash University studies finding that obesity has overtaken smoking as the leading cause of premature death and illness in Australia, it’s enough to make any of us have second thoughts on that glazed donut we thought we could treat ourselves to at the end of a long work week.

The new star rating system, although still to be officially rolled out over WA, will allow all of us to see the ‘star rating’ given to packaged foods, with confectionary and soft drinks to be excluded from the system. Better still, the rating will appear on the front of the packaging. Hooray! No more flipping bags and cans over to plough through the mass of size 6 font which is usually so impossible to read it could say ‘sure, eat this popcorn: it’s made of nothing but angel wings and vitamins!’ for all we know.

Chuck away those magnifying glasses ladies and gents, the new star rating would allow all of us to make a quick and easy decision as to what we put in our gobs, and more importantly, what we put in our children’s growing bodies.

Not only will it make selecting healthier food options easier, it means those of us who don’t have the time to sit and read product details and ingredients can finally rely on packaging to guide us to the healthier option.

We can be busy, efficient and educated all in one hit! Or at least understand that if we grab something with one out of five stars it’s a ‘treat only’ food and not an essential midnight snack option (looking at you crumpets, you deceiving little enemies).

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