The Australian Government has begun further awareness raising for its multi-million dollar Health Star Rating (Health Star) system. The Health Star system aims to aid in the education of Australians regarding their food choices, through a complicated 5 star rating system. The Health Star system awards points to foods based on their protein, fibre and fruit and vegetable content. The system reduces points for sodium, sugar, saturated fat and energy.

Australia’s Assistant Minister for Health, Senator Fiona Nash, announced the commencement of the $2.1 million second phase of awareness, including revealing that over 1000 products have now been signed up for a Health Star rating. The second phase aims to increase consumer awareness of the Health Star system, as well as encouraging more industry participation in the scheme. This includes print, online and social media advertisements as well as in-store promotion.

Senator Nash also noted that some of Australia’s largest producers and chains have already entered into the system.

However, the Health Star system has come in for criticism that it is skewed towards processed goods and, because of its focus on the individual nutrients rather than “total foods”, may encourage eating of discretionary foods such as confectionary ahead of ‘critical’ foods such as yogurt.