AMA Vice President, Dr Choong-Siew Yong, today warned consumers could be seriously misled by proposed new food labelling regulations.
In a submission to Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ), Dr Yong said health claims made by food manufacturers are likely to confuse consumers and may even contribute to unhealthy diets.
"The food industry wants to put health claims on labels to encourage consumers to buy their products," Dr Yong said.
"But the AMA has serious concerns about claims that anticipate a health effect purely from eating certain foods.
"There's no strong evidence that we know of to suggest that adding health claims to food labels helps consumers to make better food choices, or helps to reduce the prevalence of chronic disease.
"In fact, health claims on foods may make some consumers complacent about their diet choices or even encourage unhealthy eating patterns."
The AMA advocates a varied diet of fresh, whole foods, Dr Yong said.
"FSANZ should regulate for food labels that help consumers understand what is in a particular food and allow for easier comparison of foods," he said.
"For example, labels should truthfully identify the sugar, fat, or salt content of a given product.
"Food labels should assist people to make good food choices rather than potentially adding to consumer confusion."