On 17 July 2020, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (Forum) finalised its response to all Recommendations of the Health Star Rating Five Year Review; endorsed a Review Implementation Plan; and agreed an implementation start date of 15 November 2020.

Health Star Rating System Five Year Review - Implementation Plan (PDF 163 KB)
Health Star Rating System Five Year Review - Implementation Plan (Word 25 KB)

A summary of the Forum’s response to each of the Review Recommendations, and the changes that these will effect are detailed below. Further detail is available in the Review Report, the Forum Response and under Targets and Intended Products.

A two year transition period for the implementation of changes will apply, with all changes to be fully implemented by 14 November 2022.

Recommendation 1 - The HSR System be continued

Implications for the system

  • Implementation of the system continues

Recommendation 2 - HSR graphic Option 5, the energy icon, be removed from the HSR system

Implications for the system

  • From 15 November 2020 the energy icon will no longer be a valid HSR display option.
  • Products labelled after 15 November 2020 will not be able to use the energy icon.
  • Products already labelled with the energy icon will need to remove and update with a permitted HSR graphic.

Recommendation 3 - Governments, industry, public health and consumer bodies continue to promote the HSR system

Implications for the system

  • Government communications to be rolled out.
  • Stakeholders are encouraged to continue promoting the HSR system.

Recommendation 4a - Fruits and vegetables that are fresh, frozen or canned (with no additions of sugar, salt or fat) should automatically receive an HSR of 5

Implications for the system

  • From 15 November 2020 businesses will be able to apply an automatic 5 star rating to products that meet the definition for minimally processed fruit and vegetables.

Note: This definition is being further considered by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation. Information will be updated to reflect any amendments to this policy decision if/when they occur.

Recommendation 4b - Total sugars should be more strongly penalised

Implications for the system

  • From 15 November 2020 the points table for application of baseline points for sugar in HSR categories 1D, 2 and 2D will be extended to 25 points (from the previous 22).
  • Businesses will need to run products already labelled through the revised HSR Calculator to determine whether existing labels need to be updated with a revised rating as a result of this change.

Recommendation 4c - Sodium sensitivity should be improved for products high in sodium

Implications for the system

  • From 15 November 2020 the upper limit of the points table for application of baseline points for sodium in categories 1D, 2 and 2D, will be reduced from maximum of 30 baseline points for sodium content > 8,106mg/100g to a maximum of 30 baseline points for
    sodium content >2,700mg/100g.
  • Businesses will need to run products already labelled through the revised HSR Calculator to determine whether existing labels need to be updated with a revised rating as a result of this change.

Recommendation 4d - Dairy categories should be redefined

Implications for the system

  • HSR categories 2D and 3D have been rescaled - Businesses will need to run products already labelled through the revised HSR Calculator to determine whether existing labels need to be updated with a revised rating as a result of this change.
  • From 15 November 2020 custards, evaporated milks, dairy‑based desserts (such as mousses, crème caramels, panna cottas) cream cheeses, creams, sour creams, crème fraiche and mascarpone are considered Category 2D products (rather than Category 2) - Businesses will need to run products already labelled through the revised HSR Calculator to determine whether existing labels need to be updated with a revised rating as a result of this change.

Recommendation 4e - Jellies and water-based ice confections should be re-categorised

Implications for the system

  • From 15 November 2020, jellies and water-based ice confections are categorised within HSR category 1 – Non-dairy beverages, jellies and ice confections.
  • The new HSR Calculator for HSR category 1 – Non-dairy beverages, jellies and water-based ice confections should be used to determine Health Star Ratings.
  • Businesses will need to re-calculate the star rating for all jellies and water-based ice confections, noting that the ratings for most products will change and a label update will be required.

Recommendation 5 - Changes be made to the way the HSR is calculated for non-dairy beverages to better discern water (and drinks similar in nutritional profile) from high energy drinks.

Implications for the system

  • From 15 November 2020 manufacturers will need to use the new Category 1 - Non-dairy Beverages calculator to determine the rating for non-dairy beverages.
  • An automatic 5 star rating continues to apply to packaged water as defined in Standard 2.6.2 of the Code.
  • An automatic 4.5 star rating will apply for unsweetened flavoured waters.

Recommendation 6 - HSR system implementation continue to be jointly funded by Australian, State and Territory and New Zealand governments.

Implications for the system

  • The HSR system will be jointly funded by Australian, State and Territory and New Zealand governments until (at least) 14 November 2025.

Recommendation 7 - Minor changes be made to the governance of the HSR System.

Implications for the system

  • Management of the HSR Calculator and TAG database has been transferred to Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
  • The HSR Advisory Committee terms of reference and membership has been refreshed.
  • Mechanisms (including the above steps) are being put in place to increase the transparency of the HSR System.
  • A revised monitoring approach is being developed.

Recommendation 8 - Enhance the critical infrastructure to support implementation and evaluation of food and nutrition‑related public health initiatives

Implications for the system

  • Food Standards Australia New Zealand is developing a branded food database, to support the implementation and monitoring of health and food regulatory initiatives.
  • A review of the Australian Dietary Guidelines was initiated in July 2020.

Recommendation 9 - The HSR system remain voluntary, but with clear uptake targets set.

Implications for the system

  • Uptake will be measured by total number of SKUs against the following targets:
    • 50% uptake across intended products by 14 November 2023.
    • 60% uptake across intended products by 14 November 2024.
    • 70% uptake across intended products by 14 November 2025.

Recommendation 10 - The existing Guide for Industry to the HSR Calculator and the HSR System Style Guide be combined, revised and strengthened

Implications for the system

  • A new guidance document has been developed with input from stakeholders.

Matters considered alongside Review but not reported in the Review Report

As-prepared requirements

The Forum has agreed to the below (revised) requirements for the form of the product to which the HSR should apply:

In most cases the HSR should be calculated and displayed on the basis of the product as it appears on the shelf. Specific exemptions apply for products which must be rehydrated, diluted or mixed with water, or drained of water or brine. The HSR for these products can be calculated on the basis of the product ‘as prepared'.  If the HSR is based on product ‘as prepared’ according to one of these specific exemptions, the label should clearly specify the directions for that preparation

Implications for the system

  • Products that do not meet the revised exemption requirements will need to have their HSR determined using the nutrition information for the product as sold.
  • HSR labels applied under the previous ‘as-prepared ruling’ will need to be updated before the transition period expires (14 November 2022).

Criteria for milk and dairy beverage alternatives

In the interest of aligning with dietary guidelines, the Forum has agreed to the below (revised) criteria for milk and dairy beverage alternatives:

Milk and dairy beverage alternatives derived from legumes, cereals, nuts or seeds must contain ≥100mg calcium per 100mL in order that the product’s HSR be determined with a categorisation of Category 1D – Dairy Beverage.

Implications for the system

  • Products that do not meet the revised criteria will need to have their HSR re-calculated using a categorisation of Category 1 – Non-dairy Beverages and using the new non-dairy beverages calculator.