Trade

Fast food loses heart foundation’s tick of approval

Beef Central, 22/09/2011

The National Heart Foundation of Australia has withdrawn its Tick licensing program in the takeaway food environment, citing a decision to take a tougher stance on improving healthy eating options.

The Heart Foundation Tick has been the sign of a healthier choice for Australians for more than twenty years. Takeaway meals with the Tick have been available for more than five years.

The foundation said the program had been a success in the takeway sector, with the Heart Foundation’s work behind the scenes leading to more detailed information on menus which had helped Australians to make healthier choices, and had resulted in healthier oils being used in many takeaway and catering food outlets.

However national chief executive Dr Lynn Roberts said the foundation believed it was time to change and broaden its efforts to urgently improve the way Australians eat.

“Our challenge is enormous,” Dr Roberts said.

“2.7million Australians eat fast food every day.

“Two out of three men and more than half of all women are overweight or obese and 46,000 Australians a year die from cardiovascular disease.”

Under its new approach the foundation will no longer supply the Tick to fast food outlets and will undertake special investigations into the food available when eating out.

“We think you have the right to know how much saturated fat is in your morning muffin and how much hidden salt is in your sandwich,” Dr Roberts said.

“We will make this information publicly available through quarterly audits on the foods Australians eat most often. 

“We’ll turn the spotlight onto those establishments that promote themselves as providing healthy food to help keep them accountable to the community.”

“As part of that process, we’ll be calling on takeaway food chains to reduce the salt in bread used in their meals across Australia,” Dr Roberts said.

Dr Roberts said the Tick retail program in supermarkets will continue unchanged.

“One in five grocery buyers in Australia always have an item in their trolley with the Tick and more than half of them say they’d prefer a product with the Tick rather than a similar product without the Tick.

“Shoppers have been telling us that they trust the Tick to help them make better choices in the supermarket for more than twenty years, and we look forward to helping them for many more years to come.”

The Heart Foundation confirmed it would also continue to work with the Food and Health Dialogue – an Australian Government initiative. This group brings together government, industry and public health groups to set targets for food companies to reduce salt and saturated fat, and increase the fibre, wholegrain, fruit and vegetable content of commonly consumed foods.  

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