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#1 Wed 14 Feb 07 1:30am

gumbooyoga

Member
Member since Wed 14 Feb 07

an inquiry on food regulation

Dear Reader

Did you know the,
“Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission”
Is having an inquiry on food regulation?
http://www.vcec.vic.gov.au


I have written  a submission, from a consumer’s point of view.

I think many “quality” outlets have to compete against
Places that sell unhealthy food
Places that use factory product

As a customer it can  be very difficult  to select quality!

Please if you have feelings or an interest in food or health, make a submission yourself




Submission to:



VCEC Inquiry into Food Regulation in Victoria

From Hugh

As a consumer I am very unhappy with our current food laws and regulations.
I think my views reflect many consumers view that food laws fail the consumer!
Food laws should protect public health as a key objective!
Food laws should empower the consumer to choose the best quality foods.
Food laws need to protect the consumer from misinformation
And laws need to be consistent across all governments and industries!
Outcomes and objectives need to be clear and respect consumers’ health and rights.


Terms of Reference

I expect public health should be a clear objective for this inquiry.
I have seen the “Obesity Prevention Policy Coalition” seem to write this in their submission.
I hope the commissioners seriously reflect on the need for their report to include health outcomes as a key objective.

My Reflections and Ideas

Food policy and well-being policy seems not to exist (the current system has failed the community. This is clear if you look at the growth of food related illness)
This is like watching the road toll growing but will damage far more people!
I really want to see some policy that gives consumers real choice and power
to get fresh healthy food, and clear effective warnings on things like SALT SUGAR FATS.
Consumers have the right to know and expect clear warning about damaging foods.
And industries should respect and work with governments for healthier quality fresh foods.
We in Australia led the world on seat belts, A.I.D.S policy and many years ago, Anti Smoking.  Why can we not lead the world on food?
I hope some of you have been to Texas and seen how fat and unhealthy the population there is. We will get there without an urgent change in our policy and strategy.
We have had huge changes to food technologies over the last 20 years yet very little has been done to protect the consumers’ right to select fresh healthy food.
Produce can be stored for months before sale, losing most flavors, yet consumers do not have the right to know that this has happened.
It is not a fair market as the consumer is totally uniformed about so many factors that would empower their choices and protect their health.
The other factor is that many meals made at restaurants or take away outlets are in effect processed food, just heated and severed as fresh, and may contain many chemicals and additives.
Thirty years ago restaurants make food at their own kitchens, now many merely heat pre-prepared foods: this radically changes what people consume.
Is a frozen partly cooked roll that gets a final cook in an oven Fresh?
In this situation should the consumer have the same rights to know all ingredients as one might expect?
The fact is consumers have very little rights to know anything, and this is totally unfair!

Here are some examples

Meat is defined as any flesh from an animal! What should the consumer have the right to know? How many animals in any product?
Feedlot cattle that have higher omega 4 fats are not clearly identified
See ABC Catalyst eat fat get thin!
(http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s1241479.htm)
The age of food not told to the consumer! Try asking at a supermarket how old an apple is! Surly we should be able to know how old FRESH food is!
If the product has been stored for a long time in cool rooms
(This can kill many of the great fresh food flavors)
The date of harvest not told (this is a key to selecting quality) and simple to do! Please respond to this suggestion!!!!!! HARVEST DATE!
Well what about use by date?  It tells the consumer very little! We need shelf life!
The date of processing and baking is not told. Is 5-day-old bread still fresh?
Many baked goods are frozen goods given final bake and sold as fresh.
No information about types of processing (what do they do to make a corn flake?)
Does the number system work for the consumer, and why are we not told the quantities  of listed additives?
How much 621? Oh I do not get told!
No clear warnings about high fat, high sugar, high salt or high trans fats!
Please go to website for salt matters
http://www.saltmatters.org/
Also look at what they say about labels. 
No definition of FRESH. 
Why do many food definitions do not reflect consumer expectations?
Health inspectors inspect hygiene not health! Why can they not do an audit of food sold at an outlet, as high fat and sugar is the major health problem now!
More so than the Hygiene problems they currently inspect for.
It is the type of food being sold that is harming people and this requires a change in policy.
Some shops seem to be able to sell exclusivity unhealthy food
This is unfair and leaves the rest of the community having to pick up the tab later.
I also believe Food Standards Australia’s current objectives fail to protect the consumer.
The annual report should clearly show things such as salt consumption and disease & death caused as a result of poor diet.
A clear objective of food standards must be to improve diet and to measure the result in their performance criteria.
Governments should make sure the public have clear data regarding which products and companies most add to food related disease
I also note much of the food promoted in the media (often by sports personalities) is often misleading and just untrue
Please look at the case of roll ups
http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.ph … mId/762460
Why did the TV stations not run a clear retraction stating that the add was misleading?
I would have expected this.
The fact that no one bothers to question a swimming star about their personal endorsement of a product disappoints me.
Food promotion needs to be truthful and contain warnings about high fat sugar and salt.
People should know that sports people do not have a normal diet and make bad diet role models.

A suggestion to commissioners

I have thought through some personal research and experiences for the commissioners
I hope someone from VCEC bothers to experience my thinking!
Get a fresh home grown tomato from a friend’s garden and a standard supermarket one.
Eat them both. (I grow my own and can bring some in)
Go into a supermarket and ask how old some of the produce is (apple, kiwi fruit, tomatoes) and about their storage (do this as a consumer)
Then go back in a official capacity and ask again. 
Go to a chain coffee shop and ask for information about cake (the ingredients, where it is  made and when it was made.)
Go to a  local pub and ask about the Parma. You will find it is frozen chips and crumbed meat, which are from a factory, and are the key ingredients which are provided frozen to the pub.
Get a professor of nutrition to go to supermarkets and take-away food stores.  Have a real analysis of  how much sugar salt and fat there is in many foods.
Get you own school photos of your class say at the age of 15, then go to a school in an area identified by diabetes Australia. Think about what we looked like as kids and see what you see.
You could try eating what people are eating in these areas: I am sure Diabetes Australia would assist by providing information about what people are eating.
(I suspect you might not want to do this) 

Conclusions

The current food regulation system is failing to protect the health of the community.     (I think this claim is supported by evidence and feel sure you can find an expert to support my opinion.)
Advertising often misleads the consumer and little effective action is ever taken.
The consumer often has no rights to know what is in food or how old it is.
Current policy is not being measured against health outcomes.
We need major reform of our food system and need to radically take action to protect consumers’ health.
I would also recommend the consumer should have more rights to know about what they buy and eat.
Information technology and print systems are now so much more responsive and in the future we may have microdots which can carry real time information.
Information on food packaging can now be changed quickly!
Please require that harvest dates and other quality information is available
Please recommend an explanation of what food requires labeling to any food not substantially made in a shop or restaurant.
Please recommend a well being commission be set up to oversee food and health policy and fitness policy as ministers appear to not listen to consumers or scientists.
Please recommend that all agencies have key health objectives as part of their performance priorities.
Please ensure that all food high in fat, sugar or salt is subject to a clear warning label system.
Please find any taxes or health levies placed on products that affect the causes of disease are fair (Alcohol taxes value, not alcohol content - why?)
I trust I receive a genuine response to all of these ideas.

Hugh

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#2 Wed 14 Feb 07 1:31am

gumbooyoga

Member
Member since Wed 14 Feb 07

Re: an inquiry on food regulation

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