A lawyer turned passionate foodie is calling on the Government to remove a health star rating system for food -- saying it only encourages people to eat products packed with sugar.
Auckland mum and food blogger Claire Deeks has started a petition urging the New Zealand and Australian governments to ditch the Health Star Rating scheme introduced in 2014.
The petition was launched last night via Change.org and had almost 300 signatures just after 1pm today.
Under the system, food products -- such as cereals or spreads -- are labelled with a star according to their nutritional value.
The scale is between half a star and five stars. The more stars on a product, the better nutritional value it has, according to the classification.
But Mrs Deeks said the system was "fundamentally flawed" in that it only compares between similar items on a supermarket shelf.
"For example, the system rates one high sugar cereal against another high sugar cereal and then gives a higher rating to the produce that complies best with the algorithm (perhaps less salt or more added vitamins).
"The whole point of this system was that it's supposed to be something which people can look at and glance."
Mrs Deeks referred to a popular drink mix which was labelled with a 4.5 rating. However, that rating was misleading as it only applied when the drinker made it with skim milk, she said.
"If you look at that, it's got 4.5 out of 5. A person walking along, they might think it's some sort of health or protein [food]. Why not? It's 4.5. I just think it's really misleading.
"When you look at the publicity for the star, what they say is they want a system that's front of box -- front of package, they call it -- easy to see.
"They actually want to encourage people not to look at the nutrition panel, which I [thought] was not good, because you should look to see what's in your food."
As well as the petition, Mrs Deeks is spreading her healthy food message via her blog: Dom's Kitchen.
Named after her 4-year-old son Dominic, she shares paleo-style recipes she uses for her son's lunch box in a bid to encourage Kiwi parents to offer "real food" to their children.
She is due to launch a number of events throughout the year before going on tour around the country, to share her tips, early next year.
Mrs Deeks said her mission was to help parents make informed decisions about their child's eating habits.
"If you don't make time for your health, you'll have to make time for disease."