Australian Dietary Guidelines to be reviewed by NHMRC

The National Health and Medical Research Council is getting $2.5 million in federal money to review the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines.

This is to ensure that government dietary advice is based on the best and most recent scientific evidence about the types and amount of food needed for good health.

The Federal Minister with portfolio responsibility for food regulation, Richard Colbeck, said: “The Health Star Rating system featured on packaged grocery items is underpinned by dietary guidelines and it is important to ensure this system is based on robust and up-to-date evidence”.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the review would ensure the guidelines remained a trusted information source for consumers, health professionals, educators, and the food industry.

The NHMRC will begin its review by examining the latest nutrition science research and evidence from Australia and overseas. Stakeholders will be consulted throughout.

In related news, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation – comprising the Australian Local Government Association and Australian and NZ Ministers responsible for food – met on 17 July.

The Forum considered a proposal that 100 percent fresh fruit and vegetable juice (no added sugar) should receive an automatic Health Start Rating score of 5 stars, or be included within the definition of a “minimally processed fruit and vegetables”.

However, this was not supported, and the status quo will be maintained. The communique of outcomes has more detail.

In related news, the CSIRO’s food, labelling and nutrient information database, FoodTrack, is now available via the online analytics platform, Nutritics.

Developed in 2014 by the CSIRO and the Heart Foundation, and updated annually, FoodTrack contains nutrition data for nearly 45,000 food and beverage products, capturing at least 90 per cent of all fresh and packaged foods sold across Australia’s four major  supermarket chains.

Access to the platform is via an online subscription-based service available here.