How can I use the system when I am comparing products?

The Health Star Rating system is based on comparing products within similar food categories and allows us to quickly compare the general nutritional profile of foods within that category. For example, we can compare one breakfast cereal with another, one muesli bar with another or one margarine spread with another. The system is not designed, for example, to compare yoghurt with frozen lasagne or canned chickpeas with breakfast cereal. Health Star Ratings can help you choose between similar products which are typically displayed together (e.g. whole grain bread and white bread) or used interchangeably (e.g. stock powder with liquid stock).

The Health Star Rating system is one tool to assist you in following a healthy diet and make healthier choices. People should not eat a greater proportion of certain food products or eat larger portions of these products, just because they have stars. A high star rating also doesn’t necessarily mean the product: provides for a complete and balanced diet; should replace other healthy foods; can be eaten often or in large quantities.

To better understand the importance of healthy eating and for more tips on what constitutes a healthy diet, visit the Eat for Health website..

Who calculates and is responsible for applying the Health Star Rating system?

Food manufacturers and retailers are responsible for the correct and accurate use of the Health Star Rating system. This includes, but is not limited to, correctly calculating the Health Star Rating, accurately displaying nutrient information, ensuring that the information is consistent between the Health Star Rating and the Nutrition Information Panel, and complying with all relevant legislation and regulations.

Do food manufacturers and retailers pay to display the ratings on their products?

No. There are no application costs and companies don’t pay to use the system. The system is completely voluntary and manufacturers and retailers can adopt and remove the system at any stage. Companies will, however, bear costs such as producing new packaging to include the Health Star Rating.

How do I know if the stars on a product are accurate?

Food companies are best placed to calculate Health Star Ratings for their own products. The calculations require information on individual ingredients that may not be included on the Nutrition Information Panel, such as the fruit, vegetable, nut and legume content. Calculating or attempting to check the rating without all the necessary information may produce an inaccurate result. Questions about the accuracy of ratings for specific products should be referred to the manufacturer / company in the first instance, as they have all the product data used to calculate the star ratings.

How was the Health Star Rating system developed and who pays for it?

The Health Star Rating system was developed through a collaborative process between Australian, state and territory governments, the food manufacturing and retail industry, public health organisations and consumer representatives.

The Calculator for the Health Star Rating system was developed in consultation with Food Standards Australia New Zealand and other technical and nutritional experts.

The implementation of the system (including support for administrative processes and official monitoring, evaluation and social marketing) is entirely and solely funded by contributions from the Australian, state and territory and New Zealand governments.