The Health Star Rating (HSR) Advisory Committee (HSRAC), responsible for overseeing the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the HSR system, is reappraising the form of the food (‘as prepared’) rules in The Guide for Industry to the HSR Calculator.

The Guide for Industry to the HSR Calculator includes provisions for products that may be unfairly compared to other products when based on the form of the food as presented for sale. This covers items such as powdered soup, sauce mixes or drink flavourings, which are not intended to be consumed as sold and must be prepared prior to consumption, and which once prepared can reasonably be compared with similar products. However, products may be prepared in multiple ways despite specific directions or instructions for preparation. As a consequence the HSR, calculated according to current guidance, may not be representative of the way that the product is being prepared and consumed and may be misleading in these instances.

On 28 April 2017 the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation noted suggestions from stakeholders to improve the HSR system, including the ‘as prepared’ rules, and asked the HSRAC to address these concerns as a matter of priority.

The first stage of public consultations on the ‘as prepared’ rules is now open. It is primarily intended to support:

  • the validation or rejection of the issues raised; and
  • the identification of potential options for the ‘as prepared’ rules.

Submissions can be made on the Australian Department of Health’s Consultation Hub. This initial public consultation on the ‘as prepared’ rules will remain open for six weeks, closing at 11.59 pm 30 June 2017.