The Health Star Rating (HSR) is a voluntary labelling system for packaged foods designed to help you make healthier choices. Food packages can be labelled with a rating from a ½ star to five stars as an easy way to compare similar packaged foods at a glance, based on their overall nutritional profile.
The HSR system was developed by the Australian Government in partnership with industry and public health and consumer groups.
What does DAA think of the HSR?
On the whole, DAA is supportive of front-of-pack labelling. But we also know that a rating system like this is complex, and there is no perfect solution.
The HSR system has been designed to place stars on packaged foods only. This means whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables are unable to carry stars, and yet -discretionary foods' such as confectionary can. This is confusing when you are trying to make healthy food choices.
The HSR message -the more stars the healthier the choice' does not make it clear it is only for packaged foods. If you are trying make healthy choices this may leave you wondering if the packaged snack with the HSR label is a -healthier choice' than the bag of fresh apples with no HSR label.
Help improve the HSR
Consultations on the HSR are happening at the moment, and DAA looks forward to contributing feedback. If you feel strongly about the HSR, we encourage you to have your say.
It is important that the Government continues to invest in strategies that support healthy eating for all Australians. This includes front of pack labelling strategies and funding of programs to help you make informed food choices that follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines. An Accredited Practising Dietitian can also help you with this.
The Health Star Rating (HSR) system has recently been the focus of some discussion in the media and on social media. DAA is aware that there are two consultations on the HSR currently underway – one on the -as prepared' issue, and the other regarding the five-year review of the HSR. DAA is currently preparing submissions to both of these consultation processes. All DAA members are able to provide input either directly to the consultation processes or they can contribute to the DAA submissions.
On the whole, DAA is supportive of a front-of-pack labelling system however, we also acknowledge that these systems are complex and, as is the case with the HSR, anomalies can occur.