A future Labor government could literally have its finger in the pie of how Australian food is made.
Releasing its plan to tackle obesity today Labor said it would consider “mandating…food reformulation targets”.
This would be a step beyond the existing voluntary code to government ordering companies to cut the salt, sugar and fat content in foods like SAOs, Doritos and supermarket sausages.
Today, Shadow Health Minister Catherine King confirmed the party is considering mandating “food reformulation targets”, in a bid to tackle obesity.
In other words, food companies could be forced to adjust the content of their products to make them healthier.
At a debate between Health Minister Greg Hunt and his Labor counterpart at the National Press Club in Canberra, Nine News asked Ms King to clarify the policy.
“Would a Shorten government potentially force food companies to put less salt in Vegemite or cut the amount of sugar in Tim Tams?”
Ms King replied the government and food industry had previously successfully worked together on targets to reduce salt, sugar and fat.
“I think it does need, over time, the industry to be more committed to that,” she said.
“We’ll have a look at mandating. At this stage, it’s not necessarily something we’d do straight away but we want to work with the industry on that.”
A Labor government would also consider mandating the Health Star Rating system.
Ms King said no timeframe had been set on when mandatory measures would be introduced, and the changes wouldn’t apply to all products.
Mr Hunt accused the Shadow Health Minister of backing away from the policy, which was first announced this morning in a press release.
“They’re making a proposal for a mandatory system which they announced this morning, and by lunch time, it’s collapsed.”