The Australian Government, food industry bodies and public health groups recently met to progress the work of the Healthy Food Partnership.
The meeting received updates on all activities and noted significant progress had been made.
The Food Service Working Group presented its rationale and recommendations for a voluntary pledge-based system. Food services (restaurants, quick service restaurants, pubs, clubs etc.) will be able to commit to, and report on, actions to improve the nutritional aspects of food and beverages offered. Consultation with stakeholders was undertaken in March and April 2018 and further work will be conducted by the Partnership to have the pledge scheme ready for implementation and monitoring before the end of 2018.
The Reformulation Working Group presented draft food category definitions and targets for sugars, sodium and saturated fat, together with population level modelling of the potential impact on intake of the proposed reformulation targets. The Healthy Food Partnership recognises the importance of developing realistic reformulation goals for the Australian market, rather than just replicating international targets. The draft definitions, targets, modelling and description of the process and rationale undertaken by the Reformulation Working Group will be released for public consultation later this year; with a view to the voluntary targets coming into effect from 2019.
Strategies for evaluation and monitoring of the Partnership activities and communications in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines will continue to be developed through 2018 as working groups move into the implementation phase.
The Partnership, which is chaired by the Australian Government Minister for Rural Health, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, comprises representatives from the Australian Food and Grocery Council, Ausveg, Coles, Dairy Australia, Dietitians Association of Australia, Food Standards Australia New Zealand, Meat and Livestock Australia, Metcash, National Heart Foundation of Australia, Public Health Association of Australia, the Quick Service Restaurant Forum and Woolworths.
Further information about the work plans and membership of the working groups is available online at www.health.gov.au/healthyfoodpartnership.