Choice calls for action in added sugar labelling

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Consumer group Choice, with the support of the Australian Dental Association, has launched a national campaign encouraging consumers to demand health ministers across the country to include added sugar labelling on food packs.

Health ministers are due to meet in late November to discuss possible labelling reforms after delaying a decision for six years.

“Ministers across Australia have dragged their feet on reform to deal with sugar in Australian diets for too long,” Choice spokesperson Katinka Day said. “We need them to force the food industry to give Australians basic information about how much added sugar is in their food.”

The campaign will see consumers given the phone numbers for health ministers across the country, along with a series of talking points, to make sure the person at the end of the line knows they support added sugar labelling.

“Added sugar labelling has been on the table since 2011 and it’s time for Australia to catch up to countries such as the US and Canada, and be honest and transparent with its food labelling,” Ms Day said.

“Reducing your added sugar intake is near impossible if food companies are not required to provide this information on pack.

“We have also found food companies use over 43 different words for added sugar on pack.”

Frequent consumption of added sugars is associated with tooth decay, cavities and irreparable damage. According to The National Child Oral Health Study 2012–14, one third of Australian six-year-olds experience tooth decay in their baby teeth, and 40 per cent of children between the ages of 12 and 14 experience decay in their adult teeth.

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