Aussies being deceived by dodgy health foods

The current Health Star Rating system may be misleading consumers by giving a ‘health halo’ to popular junk foods, according to new research from Deakin University.

Researchers from Deakin University’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) found around three quarters of ultra-processed food and more than half of discretionary food products displayed a Health Star Rating of 2.5 stars or more. Many of these foods are promoted to children.

Lead researcher Sarah Dickie Dickie said the results meaningful nutritional advice from Health Star Ratings may not be sio trustworthy, which could threaten to undermine trust in the system.

"The Health Star Rating on the front label of food packaging is the most prominent nutrition policy in Australia," she said. 

"The simple message that more stars equals healthier food is widely understood by the public but our research shows the stars don’t always match dietary guidelines and can be confusing to Australians who use the stars as part of their purchasing decision. 

"An effective front-of-pack health label should be discouraging junk foods, not promoting them." 

The study analysed all new food products displaying the Health Star Rating, and compared it to NOVA – a classification system based on processing levels – and the Australian Dietary Guidelines, to see if they aligned. 

Just under three quarters (73 per cent) of ultra-processed food products and more than half (53 per cent) of discretionary food products displayed a Health Star Rating equal to or more than 2.5 stars. 

“Ratings as high as 3 or 4 stars on junk foods can easily mislead consumers about the healthiness of packaged foods,” said Ms Dickie. 

Some examples of ultra-processed and discretionary food products with health star ratings that don’t reflect their true nutritional value include: 

  • Atkins Smooth Chocolate Low Carb Protein Shake 5 stars
  • Berri Quelch 99% Fruit Juice Icy Tubes 5 stars
  • Streets Blue Ribbon Vanilla Bean Reduced Fat Ice Cream 4.5 stars
  • Uncle Tobys Milk & Oats Vanilla Flavour Milk Protein Crisps Bar 4.5 stars
  • Arnott's Tiny Teddy Oat & Honey Biscuits 4 stars
  • SPC Orange Flavoured Jelly with Diced Peaches 4 stars
  • Freedom Foods Crunchola Choc Chip Chewy Bars 4 stars
  • Tegel Tempura Battered Chicken Nuggets 3.5 stars
  • Kellogg's Nutri-Grain To Go Nutri-Grain Flavoured Protein Squeezer 3.5 stars
  • Woolworths Buttermilk Pancake Shaker 3 stars
  • Uncle Tobys Roll-Ups Passionfruit Flavoured Rolls 3 stars
  • Four 'N Twenty Toppers Mac 'N Cheese 3 Stars 

"Some of these products may have reduced salt, sugar and fat to obtain a higher rating but they remain ultra- processed junk foods that are not necessary in a healthy diet," said Ms Dickie. 

"The algorithm underpinning the Health Star Rating system is based on only a handful of nutrients and doesn’t account for the level of processing or the form of the whole food," Ms Dickie said. 

"This discrepancy could lead to mistrust in the system as the symbol may be seen as just another marketing tactic by manufacturers."

Do you trust food ratings?


Do I trust food ratings?   'No'

That's because corporations pay them big money not just our politicians.

Never trusted them, I know myself what is healthy and what is not, and any packaged 'dead' food is not healthy.

Health stars are another rort, big companies trying to sell more 'stuff' with lies.

I read the packaging ingredient list and make my own decison  .would never trust the manuafactors to put healthy advice on their labels .

So, StC, why would you trust the ingredients list?  That is simply words on packaging, and might bear no relationship to anything inside. Grown in China? Best of luck....

I'm with Celia, I trust very little.  Fresh food, (with unknown pesticides or other contaminants) is adequate, but what you grow yourself is almost as good as you can get. 

That said, I don't care, at my age. I eat what I enjoy (in moderation).

It is so deceitful that they are allowed to print such lies -- where the hell are the labeling laws and what the hell are they being paid to do!?

No, I do not trust many things these days but we should be able to

If it's not an Australian product then don't eat it. All processed food is junk even if it claims to be healthy. Corporations control everything including our Governments.





It’s worth noting that NO Aldi products have numbers under the bar-codes any more – just the striped bar codes.

And you have to search the really fine print to find a country of origin.



Check out Bar codes on ALDI products 




This is worth knowing, so take the time to read this, especially the 2nd bit.... (SCROLL DOWN)

Check this out at the Freezer before purchasing !!!!!!

week or so ago, Current Affair did a Report on frozen vegetables imported from New Zealand.  As it turns out if it is a Coles or Woollies home brand
there is a more than good chance that the product has come from China.  Products made by McCain’s, Birdseye and other  supposed reputable companies
from New Zealand are now purchasing vegie products from China and selling that product under their name.

Basically check where it is
 produced by the comments on the back of the pack and if it says produced from  New Zealand and Imported product it has
Chinese vegies in it, put it back on the shelf.  I would even go as far as to say, even if it has product of New Zealand on it, I would be suspicious about
where those vegies in that pack come from.  I suppose to play it safe unless it has been grown and packed in Australia stay away from it unless you don’t
mind digesting poisons.

Pretty scary stuff!!
Learn from BARCODES

Please remember.......the Australian barcode prefix is 93

  -  if you love Australian produce and the thought of keeping jobs here, AND you like to eat healthy foods and buy quality products, then
please read on.  Please also note the Australian barcode prefix is 93.

 are no food inspection regulations of foods grown or processed in China, Vietnam, Hong Kong or Thailand.
Other world countries are scared of China making 'black hearted goods’, but can you differentiate which one is made in Australia, the USA, The Philippines,
Taiwan or China?   For your Information ...  The first 3 digits of the barcode is the country code where-in the product was made.  Example: all barcodes  
that start with 690; 691 through to 699 are all MADE IN CHINA.

4 71 is Made in Taiwan .

This is our right to know, but our governments and related departments never educate the public, therefore we have to RESCUE OURSELVES
Chinese businessmen know that consumers do not prefer products 'made in china', so they don't show from which country it is made.  However, you may
now refer to the barcode.  Remember, if the first 3 digits are 690 through to 699, then it is Made in China.  Don't forget, Hong Kong is now China, too.

00 ~ 13 USA and CANADA
30 ~ 37 FRANCE
40 ~ 44 GERMANY
49 ~ JAPAN
50 ~ UK

All 480 Codes are Made in THE PHILIPPINES
DO NOT BUY FOOD PROCESSED IN CHINA, HONG KONG, VIETNAM or THAILAND!!!  Remember, there are no food inspection regulations!!!

WATCH WHAT YOU BUY.  ESPECIALLY 'HIGHLINER' FISH PRODUCTS; all come from China, even though the box says 'product of Canada', it is from

China and 'processed' in Canada, that is, only the coating is added and packaged in Canada.  The fish are raised in pens using chemicals that are banned
in Canada as cancer- causing but legal in China.  This was exposed on CBC TV's 'Marketplace'.

Please think before buying anything from China.

Avoid buying all processed food packaged in China.  Anything goes!  We just don't
 know what else is in  those packages.  Unlike the United States and
Canada (and Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Great Britian et al).  China does not have laws regulating food processing.

, do not buy any processed food from China.  This includes Hong Kong.  MANY companies are using a  Hong Kong address to avoid this type of
image reputation.
Send to as many people as possible.  Do NOT buy food originating in China (or Vietnam or Thailand)! 
Take the time to read the labels and look for country of origin!
 Your Health is at Stake!






















In Australia, our farmers use weed killer and pesticides

So the only safe food is the one you grow yourself

Suze - weedkillers kill weeds, not people.




Winston Smith

Common weed killer glyphosate increases cancer risk by 41%

Picture link below




Winston Smith,  Weed killers kill people too and all of our food is sprayed with Glysophate -- all our wheat and Barley, etc as well as many other products -- it also kills important insects and wildlife


This is also done in Australia too



Good to know PlanB, but I prefer to avoid packaged food as much as possible.

I get all my fresh produce from a trusted organic supplier.

Yes Suze, one of the worst is berries sadly. I have read about them having the most residues and you cannot wash it off because pesticides effects the dna of the plant.

I was shocked when I went to buy chives the other day -- and the only ones that were Australian were the fresh ones the rest were China,-made me wonder where the South Cape Cheese and Chives were from and when I rang they couldn't tell me, and they are now owned by Saputo


Are you talking about fesh or dried chives? I have never seen fresh ones other than Australian. Easy to grow yourself too.

Hi Janus 

Trust is alll around us ,we need trust ,,We got to trust our doctors when they treat us

We got to trust the tyre manufactures who make our car tyres 

Why we even got to trust the guys who make our Air bags 

So why can we not trust the ingtrdient labels on our food 

By the way how many have been to china ,,I have visited lots of times and as a chef have been impressed with their food handling ,

Much better than other Countries where heaps of Aussies visit on their holidays ,but then again China is the general whipping boy for a lot of peope 


I too have been to China many times and agree its not the food handling that is the problem. Its food production that is the issue. Raw human sewage on vegetable farms as fertiliser, fish farms in poluted waters, chemicals banned in the rest of the word use in food production and list goes on. But these things are not always unique to China. Questionable fish farming in other Asian countries including Thailand is just one example.

Well we are supposed to trust these people -- but if you are wise you remain cynical -- and always check

We can not trust the labels because the Government are not trustworthy and are NOT doing their job of making sure these labels are truthful

Trust has to be earned, I agree with KSS about the chemicals that are used in China that are banned in other countries and the use of raw human sewerage is a problem but so might be the animal waste if not composted properly.


Some Aussies are being fooled by some "dodgy" vegan claims, but here is the truth - depending on where you are, chicken can have less environmental impact than things like lettuce and tomatoes. Under some circumstances in Australia, greenhouse gas emissions per kilo of vegies like beans, peas and asparagus can be higher than for chicken.

In the UK, it can take 10 times more energy to produce a kilo of tomatoes than a kilo of chicken, according to a 2006 life cycle analysis.

Even pork can have a smaller greenhouse toll than tomatoes.That's because many tomatoes there are grown in glasshouses heated with fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels are keeping the vegan hype alive, eat chicken, better for the environment and your health.


A man looks down at a live chicken on his plate.


Don't know where you get your information from Lucca but I cannot agree with your statements, eating chickens is no way better for the environment but especially not good for chickens. Farmers have to grow grain to feed the chickens remember. Takes a lot of water to grow grain and water for the chickens, and the processing of chickens. 

What a beautiful bird wish I could take her home to add to my flock :)

The setting reminds me of my youth ... my favourite meal although very rare because of its expense must have been Lobster Mornay.

On a special occasion I was taken to a restaurant

... they set us next to a lobster acquarium which put me off my food and we left

from that evening on I never ate Lobster Mornay again


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