The Health Star Rating (HSR) is a voluntary front-of-pack labelling system that rates the overall nutritional profile of packaged food and assigns it a rating from ½ a star to 5 stars. It provides a quick, easy, standard way to compare similar packaged foods. The more stars, the healthier the choice.
The HSR system was implemented in Australia and New Zealand in June 2014, and is jointly funded by Australian, state and territory and New Zealand governments.
See the Health Start Rating system website.
Our Role in the Health Star Rating System
We are independent managers of the HSR algorithm and associated excel HSR calculator. Our role is to:
- maintain the HSR algorithm and calculator
- provide advice to the HSR Secretariat and the HSR Advisory Committee about the HSR algorithm
- respond to technical inquiries relating to the HSR algorithm and calculator
- model, analyse and provide advice on the impact of potential changes to the HSR algorithm
- provide assistance in resolving HSR algorithm anomalies
- redevelop and maintain the database of food label information used to model potential changes to the HSR algorithm.
We are also a member of the HSR Advisory Committee.
Five year review of the HSR System
An independent five year review of the HSR system was carried out in 2019. It considered if, and how well, the objectives of the HSR system have been met.
The Review made 10 recommendations to improve the operation of the HSR calculator, drive uptake by industry, improve stakeholder engagement and better manage and monitor the HSR system.
All 10 recommendations were agreed by Ministers with responsibility for food.
Review recommendations relating to FSANZ
Two recommendations of the HSR Review related to FSANZ.
Recommendation 7 related to system governance and recommended that FSANZ should:
- have a representative on the HSR Advisory Committee
- take on independent custodianship/management of the HSR calculator and associated database of branded food.
Recommendation 8 related to enhancing the critical infrastructure and recommended FSANZ:
- expand its food composition data management system (Silo) to enable the automatic upload, validation and public reporting of branded food data (including the HSR).
How are health stars calculated?
The algorithm that is used to decide how many stars a product receives was developed in collaboration with technical and nutrition experts from government (including FSANZ), industry, public health and consumer organisations.
It assesses components of food considered to increase risk (energy, saturated fat, total sugars and sodium) and offsets these against those components considered to decrease risk (protein, fibre and fruit, vegetable, nut and legume) to calculate a final score that is converted to a star rating: