Many food and beverage manufacturers and distributors contact FOCIS in the first instance to discuss their products. We are happy to provide information about the canteen industry, the benefits of working in partnership with FOCIS and further details about the FOCIS Food Registration Program to ensure readiness to start the registration process.
Please contact the FOCIS assessment team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for all other information.
FOCIS Nutrient Criteria
There is significant evidence that in Australia the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased, with an estimated 27% of children and adolescence now overweight or obese. Overweight and obesity in childhood is linked with chronic health problems and children who are obese are more likely to maintain their obesity into adulthood. Identified population strategies for the management and prevention of childhood obesity, such as improving eating patterns and decreasing the consumption of energy dense nutrient poor foods, have been taken into consideration when developing the FOCIS Nutrient Criteria
FOCIS first developed the nutrient criteria in 1998 in consultation with State and Territory Canteen Associations and their nutrition advisors, health and education professionals, and representatives of the food industry. The 2016 FOCIS criteria have been developed using a similar process. The criteria are strongly based on the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines and products are colour coded as green, amber or red.
The criteria used to assess the suitability of products for registration address levels and types of fat, salt (sodium) sugar and fibre in foods and beverages because excessive amounts of fat, salt and sugar and inadequate amounts of fibre are associated with many of the chronic health problems suffered by Australians. Some categories of products also stipulates a maximum portion size and/or kilojoule allowance.
The criteria does not address food additives/preservatives as their addition or otherwise to food and beverages is controlled by the Government body Food Standards Australia New Zealand. Information regarding additives and preservatives may be found at www.foodstandards.gov.au.
FOCIS Inc encourages school canteens to stock a wide variety of tasty nutritious foods and beverages that contribute to children’s growth and development. Children should be encouraged to eat 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables each day as part of a healthy diet and this should be a key component of the school canteen menu.
The ‘traffic light system’
The FOCIS nutrient criteria and traffic light system (2016) closely align to the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines (2010). The traffic light system enables the practical identification of food and drinks suitable for school canteens. See the Traffic light system fact sheet.
GREEN: contain a wide range of nutrients; generally low in fat/sugar/sodium (salt). These foods and drinks correspond to core food groups in the Australian Guide to Health Eating.
AMBER: contain some valuable nutrients; may also contain higher levels of fat/sugar/sodium (salt); over-consumption could contribute to excess energy intake.
RED: low in nutritional value; often contain excess energy (kilojoules)/fat/sugar/sodium (salt); often discretionary foods. Products that do not meet the FOCIS nutrient criteria are red.