The Tick’s no longer right for Aussies

15_The Tick_s no longer right for Aussies

Margaret Scheikowski


(Australian Associated Press)

The Tick’s going and the National Heart Foundation’s decision has been welcomed by leading nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton.

The sometimes-controversial logo was launched 26 years ago to help guide Australians to make healthier food choices.

But CEO Mary Barry says it’s time to retire the Tick, citing changing demands of shoppers and the government-initiated voluntary Health Star Rating (HSR) System being introduced over the five years from 2014.

Its credibility was attacked in recent years for matters including awarding the Tick to some McDonalds products and other fast foods.

Dr Stanton told AAP while the Heart Foundation did a lot of good work, the Tick had definitely served its purpose.

“The fact that people had to pay for it meant it was not always on all products,” she said.

“The products that had the Tick weren’t necessarily as good as those that didn’t have it.”

While the Tick program looked at saturated fat, salt and total kilojoules, it didn’t take account of the sugar content.

“So we had breakfast cereals with 30 per cent sugar that still had the Tick,” she said.

“The Heart Foundation has certainly come on board to thinking that sugar is a problem, but the Tick just didn’t recognise the separate adverse effects of sugar.”

Ms Barry said more than 2000 products currently carry the Tick across 80 food categories.

“While not perfect, no system ever is, as Australians and as consumers we are undoubtedly the better and healthier for its presence on shopping shelves over the course of the last two decades,” she said.

“Despite the perception by some, the Tick has never been bought, it was always earned.”

Dr Stanton said the HSR has a few anomalies that have to be ironed out, noting too many “discretionary” foods and drinks – products like confectionary, potato chips and biscuits – are getting stars.

“So it needs a bit of tweaking before it gets my tick.”


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