In February this year, the government’s Health Star Rating website went missing in action the same day it launched and has been absent from the internet ever since. A week into December and it’s back again, now that people have apparently been educated about its purpose.
SBS, speaking with Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash, received the following reason for the site’s rather lengthy stint offline:
“I was concerned that people would walk into supermarkets [and] there would be absolutely nothing on the shelves; and that there would be a level of confusion that would lead to not enabling this system to be successful,” she said.
As for the rating itself, it’s a voluntary system where manufacturers score the “nutritional profile” of their products out of five stars, with half-a-star being the lowest rating. While the calculations used to determine the score were “developed in consultation with Food Standards Australia New Zealand and other technical and nutrition experts”, it’s up the manufacturer to apply the system correctly.
You’ve probably seen it on packaging already and with the launch of the site, we’ll no doubt be seeing it a lot more. How accurately it’s applied is another question, however.