Parents today welcomed news that the ‘Milo loophole’ has closed. In a win for consumers, Australian and New Zealand Ministers agreed on 29 June to limit the Health Star Rating (HSR) on products to an as sold basis only. That is, the HSR should be calculated and displayed on the basis of the product as it appears on the shelf. Milo, as prepared with skim milk, had previously displayed a 4.5 HSR, but as sold only has a 1.5 HSR.
Alice Pryor, Campaigns Manager of Parents’ Voice: “Research shows that only a small number of consumers prepare food in accordance with directions on the packet. Allowing food companies to manipulate their star rating on the basis of those directions is not in keeping with the spirit of the HSR system.”
“Parents are often time poor and therefore rely on front of pack information to make decisions about food purchases. In order for the HSR system to be useful to consumers, they need to trust the information being provided. The current use of the ‘as prepared’ rules were seen by consumers as a manipulation of the system, reducing trust and diminishing its overall effectiveness.”
“Parents congratulate ministers on taking this action, but would urge them to fast track the implementation. To allow products to continue to inflate their HSR with the addition of a healthier core food does not provide consumers with information that assists them to make healthier choices. It produces a faux health-halo over products that would have otherwise rated poorly on an ‘as sold’ basis.”
Alice Pryor: M: 0416 219 261 E: email@example.com
Note to editors:
Parents’ Voice is an online network of parents who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Formerly known as The Parents’ Jury, Parents’ Voice was formed in 2004 and represents thousands of Australian parents. Parents’ Voice is supported by Diabetes Victoria, VicHealth, and YMCA Victoria.