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Witnessing the effects food additives had on her own children inspired a Western Australian mother to create a movement that has been recognised in this year’s Consumer Protection Awards.
Francine Bell of Additive Free Kids (AFK) won the 2021 Rona Okely Award for individuals in recognition of her tireless efforts to educate consumers about additives and how to make additive-free choices.
She does this by auditing ingredient and green/clean labels to cut through marketing tactics and claims, in order to identify the facts, which then allows consumers to make informed decisions about the food they eat.
This has led consumers to vote with their dollar – in some cases, sales of some products have plummeted, leading to those items being pulled from supermarket shelves altogether. A list of additive-free products can be found on AFK’s website: www.additivefreekids.com.au
Another of the worthy winners in the 2021 Consumer Protection Awards was Melanie Mitchell, whose almost 3-year-old son Lachlan died after drowning in a backyard pool at a family day care (FDC) centre in 2015. She won the Kidsafe WA Award for her work in lobbying for a ban on swimming pools at FDCs under the banner of ‘Lachlan’s Legacy’ and as an ambassador for Royal Life Saving Society Australia.
Women’s Legal Service WA of Perth was awarded the Richard (Dick) Fletcher Award for its work providing support, advice and legal assistance to women.
The Ruby Hutchison Media Award went to Gary Adshead, from 9News Perth, for his story on the tow truck industry that highlighted the dishonest tactics used by some operators to gain business from consumers involved in motor vehicle accidents.
This year’s awards have been a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the fantastic achievements of people in the community who are helping consumers and tenants overcome difficulties and promoting their rights.
If you know of an individual or organisation that deserves recognition for their work advocating for consumer rights, keep an eye out for when nominations open for the 2022 awards later this year. Visit www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/cpawards for more information.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection