Food Regulation In Australia In Response To Planetary Health Challenge

Understanding Planetary Health and Food Regulation

According to (Cole and Bickersteth, 2018) planetary health refers to the well-being of the natural environment and human beings. The concept describes human activities which threaten the natural surroundings, including deforestation and pollution. The events also have severe consequences for the overall human health.

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An example is climate change which causes skin cancer, among other ailments. This definition of planetary health conforms to standards set in the World Health Organization constitution (WHO). According to the WHO, planetary health involves attainment of high standards concerning the well-being or health of the environment and human systems such as socio-economic and political.

My chosen planetary health topic is food regulation in Australia. One of the basic foundations of planetary health is human health. The World Health Organization is increasingly creating global awareness programs and partnerships to educate communities on the importance of good health. Other programs sensitive the society on the health risks associated with destroying the surroundings. Food regulation is related to planetary health in that it involves food security and provision of nutritious food.

Additionally, the topic describes the risks involved in unhealthy eating habits. Examples include food poisoning or exposure to diseases such as diabetes. Tin Australia, the sugar content in packaged products is high; therefore, the daily sugar intake for Australians is high. The situation exposes people to health risks such as obesity, heart diseases or other communicable diseases. Food regulation ensures that people consume nutritious foods with average energy intake and sugar intake – this promotes the human health.

This report aims to encourage the consumer to make informed choices relating to food. The paper outlines the information regarding safe preservation, handling and storage of food products in Australia. The report also encourages the Australian government to enact legislation to ensure consumers access healthy shelved products. The policies include punishing companies which increase the sugar content in packaged food products. Another regulation is constant monitoring of the industry to ensure packaged foods meet the quality standards and offering practical guidance to the companies.

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According to (Brouselle and Butzbach, 2018) the human health depends on a flourishing natural system. That is human activities which endanger the ecosystem threaten food production and energy generation. In recent years, deforestation and pollution have resulted in the occurrence of drought, famines and even climate change. The adverse effects reduce the amount of food production with natural resources such as rivers and fertile soils eroded. As such, multinational companies “manufacture” foodstuffs rather than process fresh harvests from plantations. The situation leads to the creation of harmful foods such as “plastic” rice and added sugars in packaged foods (Sharma et al., 2010).  

The Role of Government in Promoting Planetary Health through Food Regulation

Schultz et al. (2018) suggest that planetary health entails issues such as governance and conservation of the ecosystem to ensure the survival of the environment and human beings. Specifically, this means that the government plays a crucial role in achieving the goals of planetary health. In sub-Saharan Africa, most countries receive food aid which they disburse to their citizens. Today, a nutritional transition involving processed meat, food, sugars and refined starch is increasingly associated with the rising rates in obesity, dietary issues and illnesses. Food regulation agencies prosecute companies selling spoilt products or revoke their licenses. In doing so, the agencies promote planetary health. Sharma et al. (2010) explain that one role of government is enacting policies on issues affecting the general public. The Australian governments are increasingly adopting policies such as the food police index. The legislation lists specific aspects of food such as the prices, promotion, composition and provision. However, implementation of the policy requires strict leadership and regulatory agencies. The diet-related system aims at tackling complex issues such as obesity – this advances human health which is the primary role of planetary health.

Another argument is that the natural environment relies on human beings for conservation. That is, a person must find solutions to their health risks before addressing environmental risks. Studies indicate that communities which attain food regulation continuously engage in health-promoting activities such as conserving the environment. The food production system is one of the main contributors to environmental sustainability.

One goal of planetary health is to reduce the threat of communicable diseases and promote sustainable diets and nutrition. Environmentalists recognise that the health of the human populations and that of natural systems is related. That is, deforestation and climate change affect food production, distribution and the nutritional contents of food. The situation leads to a scarcity of food. As such, agricultural production systems are vital for public health. Some food regulation practices impact planetary health and affect the increase of non-communicable infections. The methods include over storage of food, and the addition of sugars in packaged foods during processing, among poor dietary activities.

From (Rose, 2018) the global population trends affect the way companies produce food. For instance, the unprecedented demand for nutrient-rich and safe food is becoming challenging to address.  Food processing companies opt to manufacture “poor” quality foods to cater for the growing population, and demand. Promoting health helps address food regulation in that people engage in activities such as afforestation which conserve natural resources. In return, resources such as land support agricultural activities – this helps to address food regulation. Therefore, a planetary health approach to food regulation helps achieve environmental sustainability; address nutrition, and improve environmental sustainability.

Strengthening Community Programs through the Ottawa Charter

According to McQueen and Salazar (2011) the treaty is an international agreement passed during an international conference on health promotion in Ottawa, Canada. The charter outlined issues which enhance health promotion, such as nurturing personal skills; generating supportive surroundings; strengthening community programs; formulating healthy public policies and orientating health care facilities to promote health and prevent diseases. (Thompson et al., 2017)Re-aligning health care programs to prevent disease and improve health affects an individual at a personal level. The program involves educating a person about the benefits of healthy nutrition, and this reduces the occurrence of food-related infections such as diabetes. In Australia, the Action Area consists of the creation of awareness on diet and proper storage of foodstuffs (Potvin and Jones, 2011).

From the charter, action area 1 (develop personal skills) encourages individuals to follow guidelines on safe handling and consumption of shelved products. Notably food regulation involves controlling the processing of food, trade and production. In recent years, the resolutions of the Ottawa Charter have been increasingly undertaken by food agencies and companies. The standards provide a framework for food regulation, that is, it describes industry standards for companies. Examples include the excellent dietary composition of food items.

One of the basic foundations for good health is food. That is, health promotion involves advocacy of better nutrition to promote the overall well-being. Similarly, food regulation aims at ensuring consumers access safe and nutritious foodstuffs.  

At the industry level, the Ottawa Charter for food promotion encourages producers to uphold the correct standards concerning the design and location of food processing facilities. One of the rules is that the industry must avoid pest “hot spots” or areas prone to contamination. The materials used for the creation of internal structures must also be safe, easy to clean and durable to a dust buildup.  Rose (2018) argues that the adopted standards originate from food regulation policies. In this way, the charter promotes food regulation.

Another action area for the Ottawa charter is strengthening community programs. In most cases, the Australian government and international agencies conduct outreach programs to educate the society on healthy consumption habits and maintenance of natural resources such as forests. The programs encourage people to store food resources in safe enclosures hygienically – this prevents the spread of diet-related infections. According to (Dugani, 2017) pest control plays a vital function in food safety. Insects such as flies and cockroaches can spread germs by contaminating farm harvests at different stages.


Additionally, rodents such as rats can damage stored crops, buildings and machinery. Community programs which centre on pest control can individuals prevent pests from entering storage facilities. The concept improves food regulation in that the foodstuffs processed are safe and healthy.

Action area 3 of the Ottawa Charter outlines programs which create a supportive environment. The segment describes activities which encourage farmers to produce healthier foods with low energy demand. Staff training is one of the food safety programs which create a supportive environment. In some cases, the hired staff lack theoretical or practical knowledge of the correct storage, handling and transport of food products to the market.  During transportation, some factors should be considered to ensure that the products do not get contaminated. For instance, the hygiene of the packaging, containers and vehicle; humidity; and temperature. The training programs educate the staff on the proper handling of food products – this creates a supportive environment. A conducive environment may also involve government regulation concerning food storage and transportation. Favourable policies support agriculture and monitor the processing companies. In this way, the charter promotes food regulation.

Action area 6: orientation of health care to prevent illnesses conforms to the basics of food regulation. The concept directly relates to personal hygiene and that of the surroundings. The charter inspires food-handling companies to undertake safe storage practices to prevent physical or biological contamination. Additionally, this prevents the spread of food-borne diseases.


Food regulation is a fundamental issue in planetary health. The concept aims at promoting healthy and sustainable diets and reducing the threat of contagious diseases. The planetary health perspective explains that health is a fundamental issue tied to the wellbeing of Earth’s natural resources. The goal of food regulation is to promote healthy eating habit-this conforms to food promotion.

Scientists suggest that research plays a fundamental role in identifying new products and ensuring optimum use of available resources. Today, there is an increasing demand for safe food products; however, the supply is low. Further research needs to be carried out to identify crops which mature quickly and have average sugar contents. Examples include fruits and vegetables. Other subjects of study include the creation of processing facilities which maximise the food production and ensure minimal wastes. There increasing need to apply modern technology in agriculture. The goal is to provide a continuous supply of high-quality farm products to the market. The concept increases the availability of safe food products for consumers.

Other subjects of research include food handling equipment. In some cases, bacteria grows in packaged products. Scientists explain that food poisoning occurs due to unpleasant symptoms caused by consumption of harmful toxins, parasites, viruses or bacteria. A new invention will allow customers to evaluate the possibility of bacteria in food before opening.  Another concern is the presence of added sugars in some packaged foods – this creates foodborne diseases. In Australia, sugar components are added to packaged products to preserve or boost the flavour. Consuming the excessive sugars increases the risk of high blood pressure. In some cases, sugar accelerates ageing and is responsible for chromium deficiency. Research should be conducted to create new inventions which allow consumers to analyse the number of calories on shelved products.


Cole, J., and Bickersteth, S. (2018). What’s planetary about health? An analysis of topics covered in The Lancet Planetary Health’s first year. The Lancet Planetary Health, 2542-5196.

Brouselle, A., and Butzbach, C. (2018). Redesigning public health for planetary health. The Lancet Planetary Health, 2(5), 188-189.

Dugani, S. (PMC). Empowering people for sustainable development: the Ottawa Charter and beyond. 2017, 7(1).

Potvin, S., and Jones, C. (2011). Twenty-five Years After the Ottawa Charter: The Critical Role of Health Promotion for Public Health. Potvin, 102(4).

Rose, D. (2018). Environmental nudges to reduce meat demand. The Lancet Planetary Health, 2(9), 369-413.

McQueen, D., and Salazar, L. (2011). Health promotion, the Ottawa Charter and ‘developing personal skills’: a compact history of 25 years. Health Promotion International, 26(2), 194-201.

Schultz, J. et al. (2018). The 2017 perfect storm season, climate change, and environmental injustice. The Lancet Planetary Health, 2(9), 369-413.

Sharma, L. et al. (2010). The Food Industry and Self-Regulation: Standards to Promote Success and to Avoid Public Health Failures. PMC, 100(2), 240–246.

Thompson, R. et al. (2017). The Ottawa Charter 30 years on still an essential standard for health promotion. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 56(2), 73-84.