PHAA scorecard on new National Food Plan Green Paper
18/07/2012 - The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) has set out the criteria on which it will evaluate the National Food Plan Green Paper released recently at a breakfast launch in Sydney by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
"Any National Food Plan must ensure that the health of all Australians is given the highest priority," said Michael Moore, chief executive officer (CEO) of the PHAA.
"A focus on good, healthy, nutritious food will also be good for exports, the environment and dealing with the growing epidemic in obesity and diet related chronic disease."
PHAA will be testing how the Green Paper measures up against the priorities for a National Food and Nutrition Plan.
PHAA will also be taking into account three overarching questions that have been considered as part of the development process for the National Food Plan:
First, how do we increase export opportunities?
According to Moore, "a safe, sustainable, good quality, reliable and trustworthy food supply will build opportunities for everyone, including through exports.
"A key element will be to ensure trust in Australian foods. The importance of strong, transparent and evidence-based regulations for agricultural and veterinary chemical use and levels of residues and/or contaminants in foods cannot be understated.
"This will impact on the overall health of Australians in the future, as other countries - as well as our own - increasingly recognise the important links between food, diet and health."
Secondly, what else could be a focus for nutrition and diet initiatives?
Improving nutrition is essential for the health and wellbeing of Australians. A system-wide approach to ensuring safe, nutritious, sustainable, affordable and reliable food production, supply and promotion is the focus.
Trade, production, processing, marketing, promotion and consumption of nutritious foods for everyone is the key. Another factor to consider is safeguarding / quarantining horticultural lands to ensure that fresh whole produce (in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines) - produced sustainably and with minimal environmental impact - will be available in the future as Australia's population grows.
Thirdly, would a food council improve how we work together on the food system?
"PHAA will welcome a National Food Council that is independent, crosses all sectors and reports to Cabinet," Moore said.
"While the government needs to lead the implementation of a National Food Plan, a Food Council could be charged with delivering a safe, nutritious, affordable, secure and environmentally sustainable food system that is accessible to all Australians for health, wellbeing and prosperity now and into the future," he said.
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