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To assess current performance and identify opportunities and reforms necessary for positioning a food standards programme to help protect public health against dietary risk factors.
A case study design in which a food standards programme’s public health protection performance was analysed against an adapted Donabedian model for assessing health-care quality. The criteria were the food standards programme’s structure (governance arrangements and membership of its decision-making committees), process (decision-making tools, public engagement and transparency) and food standards outcomes, which provided the information base on which performance quality was inferred.
The Australia and New Zealand food standards programme.
The structure, process and outcomes of the Programme.
The Programme’s structure and processes produce food standards outcomes that perform well in protecting public health from risks associated with nutrient intake excess or inadequacy. The Programme performs less well in protecting public health from the proliferation and marketing of ‘discretionary’ foods that can exacerbate dietary risks. Opportunities to set food standards to help protect public health against dietary risks are identified.
The structures and decision-making processes used in food standards programmes need to be reformed so they are fit for purpose for helping combat dietary risks caused by dietary excess and imbalances. Priorities include reforming the risk analysis framework, including the nutrient profiling scoring criterion, by extending their nutrition science orientation from a nutrient (reductionist) paradigm to be more inclusive of a food/diet (holistic) paradigm.
The present study explored recipients’ perceptions of food charity and their suggested improvements in inner-city Perth, Western Australia.
In-depth interviews were conducted with charitable food service (CFS) recipients. Transcripts were thematically analysed using a phenomenological approach.
Interviews were conducted at two CFS in inner-city Perth.
The recipients’ journeys to a reliance on CFS were varied and multifactorial, with poverty, medical issues and homelessness common. The length of time recipients had relied on food charity ranged from 8 months to over 40 years. Most were ‘grateful yet resigned’, appreciative of any food and resigned to the poor quality, monotony and their unmet individual preferences. They wanted healthier food, more variety and better quality. Accessing services was described as a ‘full-time job’ fraught with unreliable information and transport difficulties. They called for improved information and assistance with transport. ‘Eroded dignity’ resulted from being fed without any choice and queuing for food in public places, often in a volatile environment. ‘Food memories and inclusion’ reflected a desire for commensality. Recipients suggested services offer choice and promote independence, focusing on their needs both physical and social.
Although grateful, long-term CFS recipients described what constitutes a voluntary failure. Their service improvement recommendations can help meet their nutritional and social needs. A successful CFS provides a food service that prioritises nutritious, good-quality food and individual need, while promoting dignity and social inclusion, challenging in the current Australian context.
To objectively evaluate voluntary nutrition and health claims and marketing techniques present on packaging of high-market-share ultra-processed foods (UPF) in Australia for their potential impact on public health.
Packaging information from five high-market-share food manufacturers and one retailer were obtained from supermarket and manufacturers’ websites.
Ingredients lists for 215 UPF were examined for presence of added sugar. Packaging information was categorised using a taxonomy of nutrition and health information which included nutrition and health claims and five common food marketing techniques. Compliance of statements and claims with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and with Health Star Ratings (HSR) were assessed for all products.
Almost all UPF (95 %) contained added sugars described in thirty-four different ways; 55 % of UPF displayed a HSR; 56 % had nutrition claims (18 % were compliant with regulations); 25 % had health claims (79 % were compliant); and 97 % employed common food marketing techniques. Packaging of 47 % of UPF was designed to appeal to children. UPF carried a mean of 1·5 health and nutrition claims (range 0–10) and 2·6 marketing techniques (range 0–5), and 45 % had HSR≤3·0/5·0.
Most UPF packaging featured nutrition and health statements or claims despite the high prevalence of added sugars and moderate HSR. The degree of inappropriate or inaccurate statements and claims present is concerning, particularly on packaging designed to appeal to children. Public policies to assist parents to select healthy family foods should address the quality and accuracy of information provided on UPF packaging.
To explore why there is a lack of acceptance among Western Australian (WA) adults of the Go for 2&5®fruit and vegetable social marketing message to consume at least five servings of vegetables per day.
A series of focus group discussions comprised of homogeneous groups varied by sex and age, until saturation of themes was achieved, followed by thematic analysis.
Part of qualitative research for the Go for 2&5® fruit and vegetable social marketing campaign in WA (2009 population: 2·2 million).
WA adults stratified by sex and age groups (18–29 and 30–55 years) drawn from the second and third quartiles of socio-economic disadvantage.
Familiarity with the Go for 2&5® message was excellent. Understanding of what constitutes ‘two servings of fruit’ was excellent and regarded by participants as highly achievable. Understanding of what constitutes ‘five servings of vegetables’ was suboptimal with widespread overestimation contributing to the belief that it is unrealistic. Participants did not know how the 2&5 recommendation was formulated and believed that daily consumption of two servings of fruit and five of vegetables would confer no greater health benefit than one of fruit and three of vegetables. Participants assumed that the 2&5 recommendation was ‘aspirational’ in the sense that it was purposely exaggerated to simply encourage greater overall consumption.
A convincing case needs to be presented to WA adults as to why they should consume five servings of vegetables per day. Continuing efforts to educate incorporating what constitutes a serving will assist perceptions that the recommendation is realistic.
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