by Medindia Content Team on  August 12, 2006 at 2:40 AM Diet & Nutrition News
Heart Tick for Fast Foods in Australia
Australians who gobble down too much take-away food and pile on weight will soon be able to determine what's healthy and what's not.

The National Heart Foundation's tick is a label that will be given to supermarket foods meeting healthy nutrition guidelines and will soon make its appearance at restaurants, take-away outlets and hotels.

This was the result of research by analyst BIS Shrapnel who showed that 70 percent of the six million Australians who take in fast food every day are looking for a healthier alternative.

According to Heart Foundation spokeswoman Susan Anderson with so many Australians finding a quick fix in foods such as hamburgers, sandwiches, hot chips, and pizza, consumers wanted to know what they were really eating.

She said, 'We're trying to make sure that people are getting a healthier choice.'

However the Heart Foundation has come under scrutiny following allegations that companies were unfairly "buying" the endorsement from the foundation which charges a licensing fee for the tick.

While Ms Anderson said that the fee would be higher than for supermarket products she would not divulge details of the fee structure.

She assured consumers that the endorsement would only be given to meals that deserved it.

She said, "It will be a bit more expensive for those outlets because there is more that goes into the auditing process."

The conditions for receiving the tick was the statement of an independent auditor who determined whether it met nutritional requirements, and whether the outlet had passed health and safety standards.

Ms Anderson said, "A tick meal will have to meet tough nutrition standards for the size of the meal, saturated and trans fat, salt and vegetable or fibre content."

It would also be made mandatory for outlets to provide nutrition information panels.

Ms Anderson says that the Heart Foundation would accept applications from today, and consumers will begin seeing the meal tick within the next month.

Those most likely to have the tick on their meals were contract caterers, canteens, and salad or sandwich bars.

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