Juice decision shakes and stirs | OPINION

Juice's star rating has industry shaken and stirred | OPINION

Editorial
WANTING: Fresh juice has a Health Star Rating of no more than 2.5 stars, which as continued to anger agriculture groups. Photo: Shutterstock

WANTING: Fresh juice has a Health Star Rating of no more than 2.5 stars, which as continued to anger agriculture groups. Photo: Shutterstock

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Despite the delay, the state ministers didn't give fresh juice any more stars.

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IT boggles the mind.

The decision on fruit juice's Health Star Rating, that is.

On Friday, February 12, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation decided to "maintain the status quo", thereby keeping fresh fruit juice's 2.5 Health Star Rating.

So yep, diet cola can be ranked higher than juice.

A faint glimmer of hope was given in December last year when the forum announced it would delay the decision.

Alas, it was a mirage of hope.

The recent decision, and even the discussion leading up to it, sparked some strong words from various corners of the country.

Here's a sample:

"It's now obvious that we have a national health propaganda instrument manipulated by anti-sugar lobbyists and a rating system not based on facts but instead voted on down party lines,' - Nathan Hancock, CEO, Citrus Australia.

"We're angry and we feel as though it's a wrong decision. It's a flawed calculator and it discriminates against juice," -Archer Walters, managing director, Grove Juice, Qld.

"The use of stars is ridiculous - let's replace them with sugar cubes or teaspoons to ensure consumers are not hoodwinked into thinking the health stars reflect a common-sense guide to a product's full nutritional value," -Jeremy Griffith, head of government relations, APAL.

"Today's decision makes a mockery of Australia's Health Star Rating system, and sadly both consumers and fruit and vegetable growers will suffer as a result," - Tony Mahar, chief executive, National Farmers' Federation.

"It's harmful and nonsensical to send a message that fresh, unsweetened fruit and vegetable juice is somehow worse for you than a synthetic drink like diet cola," - James Jackson, president, NSW Farmers.

"This decision will negatively impact our hard working mango farmers who sell their produce to juice companies," - Paul Burke, CEO, NT Farmers Association.

"This sends the wrong message to consumers. This woeful decision will have a flow-on effect on school tuckshops, preventing them from selling fresh juice on a regular basis," - Stephen Barnard, CEO, Growcom.

"By ranking pure juices lower than diet drinks it's suggesting something that our farmers grow, nurture, then harvest and squeeze into a bottle, is somehow worse for you than a product that is put together in a factory," - Adam Marshall, agriculture minister, NSW government.

"Totally let down, totally disappointed, basically gutted by the way the government is thinking to put fizzy drinks ahead of good quality, fresh fruit juices," - Trevor Roberts, owner, Mumble Peg, Narromine, NSW.

"States and territories who supported this including Queensland, Northern Territory, ACT and Victoria have let down our farmers, consumers, and Australia's $800 million juice industry," - David Littleproud, federal agriculture minister.

"This decision will negatively impact our hard working mango farmers who sell their produce to juice companies," - Paul Burke, CEO, NT Farmers Association.



Perhaps the best way to fathom the madness is by buying and drinking some fresh Australian juice.

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