Voluntary does work

August 19th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Nikki Kaye announced:

Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye today welcomed the announcement by Foodstuffs that it will adopt the Health Star Ratings on its Pams and Budget product packaging.

“Having the support of one of the biggest food retailers in the country is a good sign of industry confidence in this new system,” Ms Kaye says.

“Foodstuffs has more than 650 wholesale and retail stores in the country, and its Pams brand is the single largest grocery brand in New Zealand. The company has said that its aim is for 1400 of its Pams product lines and 315 of its Budget-branded lines to eventually be eligible to display the Health Star Rating. It has indicated that it is likely that 100 of these product lines will carry the new labelling next year.

“This new system is a significant step in empowering New Zealanders to make healthier food choices. Having a voluntary commitment by a retailer of this scale is a very good sign for the future of the Health Star Rating system, and it is my hope that this move by Foodstuffs will encourage other food retailers to follow suit.”

Ms Kaye announced in June that the Government will be adopting the new voluntary food labelling system, which uses a star rating scale of ½ to 5 stars and is able to be used on almost all packaged food products for retail sale.

I’m all for better information on what is in our food, but I much prefer a voluntary scheme, than a compulsory one. Compulsion should be the last resort, not the first.

This shows that a voluntary scheme can work. I preduct that in say three years, the vast majority of food sold will have the star labels.

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11 Responses to “Voluntary does work”

  1. thePeoplesFlag (242 comments) says:

    Did David Farrar or Carrick Graham write this post?

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  2. Harriet (4,857 comments) says:

    “….This new [star] system is a significant step in empowering New Zealanders to make healthier food choices….”

    Nikki Kaye thinks that only healthy people can read food labels.

    How does she explain healthy people then?

    Typical. More nanny statism from National.

    “Fat people are even to lazy to read.” – Nikki Kaye. :cool:

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  3. Disaster Area (41 comments) says:

    I agree voluntary is better, but would this have happened if the option of compulsory labelling wasn’t there?

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  4. Ed Snack (1,849 comments) says:

    And what will they do when it turns out that their “5 star” healthy food is actually not all that healthy ? Like the last disastrous state run exercise in directed eating that turned into the obesity and diabetes epidemic by over-emphasizing carbohydrates and demonizing fats.

    When, by the way, do you think that the “scientists” and bureaucrats who are the cause of some much sickness and early deaths, are going to own up for their folly and admit how very wrong they were ? Me, I think never, because being part of a propganda campaign means never having to say you’re sorry, or something like that.

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  5. MT_Tinman (3,136 comments) says:

    Who pays attention to these labels?

    Certainly not me, I buy what I want to eat considering only price v quality.

    I suspect this is preaching to the converted.

    Agree that voluntary is best if only because it costs less than statutory – at least voluntary is not (quite) nanny-state-ism and subsequently the taxpayer does not have to pay for compliance enforcers.

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  6. Padriv Ustoev (47 comments) says:

    Yes, but when will they adopt compulsory Halal labeling? That is the question we shoudl be asking the Minister.

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  7. Nigel Kearney (984 comments) says:

    There’s no such thing as healthy food. Health is an outcome not an ingredient. It depends on food type and quantity, lifestyle, exercise, genetics, environment and other factors. Saying that certain food is healthy is like saying a certain type of jersey makes you a better rugby player. Maybe that jersey helps but the effect is very small.

    People quite rightly don’t listen when government tells them how to act, so there is this grossly excessive emphasis on the aspects of health that can be affected by other means.

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  8. Harriet (4,857 comments) says:

    I can’t see why National is pushing this — when healthy people have no problem reading packaging as it is now.

    Well at least Nikki Kaye knows how to look after the children of NZ’s liberated & educated house wifes; by colouring in circles for them, in the same way that the Israeli PM did to the UN. It’s all over for NZ. :cool:

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  9. ross411 (774 comments) says:

    I want GM free labeling. These stars are meaningless. If someone is not going to read the calorie information, or understand what it means, then they are unlikely to care about this subjective measure.

    Yes, I am aware that some people consider non-GM free food to be safe, and think we should all accept their instruction to consider it the same way they do. But when they discover a second code behind DNA, this to me infers that they’ve only been bumbling about up to now and cannot have understood the full extent of the effects of their changes.

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  10. anticorruptionnz (212 comments) says:

    the only thing that people understand are consequences. and the consequences need to be such so that the benefit of doing something is greater that the advantages of ignoring the issue .

    there has to be a real and expected consequence to being caught and prosecuted for not complying.

    we look for ” compliance” on too many issues e.g. company registers ,

    if compliance works then it should apply across the board and the next time were caught speeding we should be politely asked to drive slower next time and instead of being hit by a fine.

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  11. dime (9,856 comments) says:

    Voluntary is always better.

    “but would this have happened if the option of compulsory labelling wasn’t there?”

    Depends – is there a competitive advantage in adapting this new scheme? is it something consumers are demanding?

    Its good will. probably worth a shot. hopefully the costs arent too high – i suspect they are being pushed onto the guys who make the stuff

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