,Tweet Facebook Mail More than year after the Federal Government launched its ‘Health Star Rating’ system to help shoppers make healthier choices at the supermarket, less than 50 companies have signed up to the scheme.The rating system was introduced 18 months ago, but so far only 41 companies have signed up to the voluntary program.Some big name companies, including Arnott’s, Uncle Tobys, Kellogg’s and Nestlé have all adopted the star system, as have Coles and Woolworths, but many still refuse to display the ratings.Brands such as McCain, Mars, Cadbury and Kraft have still failed to sign up. Research conducted by The George Institute, a health and medical research organization, found only 14 percent of the products included in the scheme have the full five star health rating. “We really commend the 41 food companies that put the health star rating on their products,” Dr Kristina Petersen, a research fellow at the institute said. “But there is still work to be done.”RelatedNew high-tech living transforming the lives of retireesJack the dinosaur makes a move to new homePush to rename Yarra River to correct 19th Century mistranslationThe study found 22 percent of the products included in the program have a health rating of three stars or less.The star rating hopes to educate shoppers on which foods are healthier than others, and to encourage companies to improve their products.Nutri-Grain is one product which has taken this on board, it now has a higher health rating than Corn Flakes. “Nutri-Grain, the nutrient profile has been improved, in order to achieve a better star rating, so prior to the reformulation, Nutri-Grain only got two stars and now it's a four star product,” Dr Petersen said. Nestlé has also spent millions to improve its ratings. Nestlé Corporate Nutritionist, Susan Kevork, said the company had focused its efforts on the “high-selling products” such as Uncle Tobys chewy and yogurt muesli bars. “We've actually reduced the sugar and sodium in those products,” she confirmed. The federal government hopes more companies will continue to sign up to the scheme.
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