Plain Packaging on Junk Food: cure for obesity?

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Amelia Phillips

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Food science and nutrition experts are debating the benefits of removing animation and adding graphic images from food packaging to counter the obesity epidemic in Australia.

At a convention hosted by Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology, last week, the benefits of introducing plain food packaging were discussed. Health food professionals compared the results from when the tobacco industry and the government joined hands to introduce plain white cigarette packets with graphic images, to how the food industry could eventually benefit from a similar packaging change.

Dr Anne Astin, president of the institute, spoke to News.com.au, “If our health system can’t cope with the increasing incidence of lifestyle-related diseases, it’s something we will have to consider as an option. The levels of intervention need to become stronger. Ultimately, it may come to plain packaging”.

However, a new poll shows that 55 per cent of Australian believe that we’re becoming a “nanny state” and over 70 per cent think that changing the packaging wouldn’t do any justice to the obesity debate.

And I agree with this poll conducted by The Institute of Public Affairs. I believe it’s up to an individual to decide whether they want to consume junk food and encourage their family to get hooked on to them. General public repulses government laws and regulations anyway, so having them to tell us what to eat would just hamper the purpose of this initiative.

Also, you cannot compare food with cigarettes. There are a lot of non-smokers out there, however there isn’t anyone who doesn’t eat. You need food to survive; you don’t need to smoke!

The thought behind this initiative is highly positive, as people make decisions on food and drinks based on a visual appeal on most occasions. However, this will not cut the manufacture of these junk foods – there will still be a chocolate chip cookies and sugary cereal on offer, albeit the plain packaging.

Plain packaging might educate parents and adult teens in understanding what effects junk food may have to their health and wellbeing. However the real education needs to start on a higher and tertiary level where young adults are informed the real dangers of consuming junk food.

What are you thoughts on this? Do you think plain packaging on junk food would benefit the scaring obesity numbers? Tell us your thoughts below.

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