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Australian expert demands to reduce food industry's influence on policy
Last Updated: 2018-08-06 15:05 | Xinhua
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An Australian expert suggested at a senate enquiry hearing on Monday to reduce the food industry's influence on policy to help people be healthier.

The enquiry into obesity in Sydney heard from Alan Kirkland, chief executive of Australia's leading consumer advocacy group CHOICE, that food industry groups deliberately stifle regulations and stall reforms which could help Australians be healthier.

Methods such as developing voluntary, self-regulated schemes to avoid real regulations, discrediting research they don't agree with and funding their own were levelled at food companies.

"This set of tactics leads to regulation being delayed, initiatives being watered down and an overwhelming lack of progress in making it easier for consumers who want to make healthy choices to do so," Kirkland said.

Kirkland believes that restrictions which stop tobacco regulations from being influenced by commercial interests should similarly be applied to the food industry.

CHOICE's campaigns and policy team lead Katinka Day told Xinhua, "we think that we need to loosen the food industry's grip on food regulation if we're really going to help people make healthier food options."

Day said a good example is the health star rating system, where products are rated one to five on how healthy they are, as determined by a rating advisory committee which includes both the food and confectionery industries.

"The health star rating system could be a really good scheme to help people make healthier choices but still there are a number of products that receive a high star rating that are either high in sugar salt or fat," Day said.

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