Food and Health Dialogue newsletter - 1st edition
Welcome to the first edition of the Food and Health Dialogue e – Newsletter!
The Food and Health Dialogue (Dialogue) was established in 2009 and forms the Government’s key method of engagement with the food industry in the area of food reformulation. Through the Dialogue, government, industry and public health groups are working collaboratively to address poor dietary habits and promote healthier food choices for all Australians.
The 2007 National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey found that the dietary patterns of many Australian children are less than optimal with high consumption of salt and saturated fat, and low consumption of fruit and vegetables. Because the health implications associated with these consumption patterns are well understood and similar results would be expected within the adult population, the Dialogue was established as one mechanism to try and improve dietary intakes.
The Dialogue is undertaking, as its primary activity, action on food innovation. This includes a voluntary reformulation program to reduce the sodium, added sugar, saturated fat and energy and increase the fibre, wholegrain, fruit and vegetable content of commonly consumed foods. This activity is being supported, where appropriate, by strategies to standardise portion sizes and improve consumer awareness of healthier food choices.
The Dialogue is chaired by the Parliamentary Secretary for Health, the Hon Catherine King MP. Membership comprises:
- Ms Kate Carnell (CEO, Australian Food and Grocery Council, AFGC);
- Dr Manny Noakes (Senior Dietitian, Research Scientist and Associate Professor, CSIRO);
- Mr Steve McCutcheon (CEO, Food Standards Australia New Zealand, FSANZ);
- Dr Lyn Roberts (CEO, National Heart Foundation of Australia, NHF);
- Mr Michael Moore (CEO, Public Health Association of Australia, PHAA);
- Dr Amanda Lee, (Director, Nutrition and Physical Activity Unit, Preventative Health Directorate, QLD Health);
- Ms Tracey Monaghan, Director of Quality Assurance, ANZ, McDonald’s Australia (Quick Service Restaurant Forum representative, QSR); and
- Mr Andrew Hall (Director, Corporate and Public Affairs, Woolworths).
Website LaunchAs part of the Dialogue’s communication strategy a new website has been launched. The website provides information to industry, consumers and public health groups on Dialogue activities, including agreed reformulation targets, as well as further opportunities for industry partners to promote their involvement in the Dialogue.
For more information visit the Food and Health Dialogue website.
Reformulation Targets AchievedSince 2009 the Dialogue has achieved agreement with the food industry on sodium reformulation targets for four food categories – bread, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, simmer sauces and processed meats. Saturated fat reformulation targets have also been agreed for processed meat products.
Achievements to date include commitments by participating companies to:
- Reduce the sodium content of more than 100 bread products to 400 milligrams per 100 grams by the end of 2013;
- Reduce the sodium content of more than 20 ready-to-eat breakfast cereals that exceed 400 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams by 15% by the end of 2013. This builds upon the 77% of the ready-to-eat cereals market that is already at or below 400mg per 100g for sodium content;
- Reduce the sodium content of more than 120 simmer sauce products by the end of 2014;
- Reduce the sodium content of more than 50 processed meat products by the end of 2013; and
- Reduce saturated fat across a number of popular processed meat products.
Upcoming ActivitiesThe four food categories to be engaged by the Dialogue from 2011 are Soup, Savoury Pies, Cheese and Processed Poultry. The Soup roundtable met for the first time on 26 July 2011 and is scheduled to convene again on 26 October 2011.
With an increasing proportion of food consumed away from home, the Dialogue has agreed to include the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) sector in its reformulation, portion sizing and consumer messaging activities. Efforts are currently underway to develop an engagement strategy in collaboration with the sector.
Further information on Dialogue activities is available on the Food and Health Dialogue website.
Food Innovation Workshops - October 2011The Chair of the Dialogue, the Hon Catherine King MP, today opened the first of three one-day food innovation workshops in Melbourne. The workshop included presentations from national and international speakers involved in food innovation and reformulation, and was attended by more than 100 representatives from the industry, government and research sectors.
“What people eat has a major impact on their health,” Ms King said. “It is important therefore that we make healthier food choices easier and more accessible for all Australians.
“Today’s workshop showcased opportunities to make our food supply healthier through reformulation, including by reducing levels of salt and fat in processed meats and dairy foods.”
Presentation topics included:
- overcoming technical challenges to reformulation such as safety aspects, food structure and sensory attributes
- trends in food manufacturing and consumer behaviour towards healthier processed foods
- motivations for company reformulation efforts and successes in reaching reduction targets
- current and next generation research support and technologies to assist with reformulation