Growers angered as juice rating receives another blow

Leeton, Griffith citrus growers angered by health star rating

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SPEAKING OUT: Leeton citrus grower Justin Davidson (left) and Griffith and District Citrus Growers president Vito Mancini say they will continue to fight the rating. Photo: Berri Australia, The Area News

SPEAKING OUT: Leeton citrus grower Justin Davidson (left) and Griffith and District Citrus Growers president Vito Mancini say they will continue to fight the rating. Photo: Berri Australia, The Area News

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"It's a sugar rating, not a health rating".

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"IT'S a sugar rating, not a health star rating".

That's the thoughts of Leeton shire fifth-generation grower Justin Davidson regarding the changing health star rating for juice drinks.

This rating system has advised fruit juices, including orange juice, will soon have their products rated at 2.5 stars, while giving diet cola 3.5 stars.

It's something that is continuing to infuriate the MIA's orange growers, who received a further blow last week when the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation officially endorsed and gave approval to this rating system.

Growers are concerned this will not only create confusion among consumers, but see the move as downright wrong when you place the products side-by-side.

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Mr Davidson said the benefits of having a glass of orange juice a day far outweigh the dangers of drinking multiple diet soft drinks in a 24-hour period.

"With any sort of fruit juice there are nutritional benefits ... this issue has become politicised now," he said.

"It's all about the sugar content in orange juice.

"It's not a health star rating, it's a sugar star rating.

"That's where it confuses people. You can buy an orange at five stars, but as soon as you take it home and squeeze it into a glass, it's now two-and-a-half stars? It makes no sense.

"Orange juice is a great source of things like Vitamin C, for it to be rated lower than diet soft drink is so confusing for everyone."

Mr Davidson is concerned the rating, which is yet to be officially implemented, will impact on the MIA's citrus industry, which is a vital part of the economy here.

Griffith and District Citrus Growers president Vito Mancini said the fight would continue to change this rating.

"Some juice processors will be avoiding using this labelling until they absolutely are required to," he said.

"Until they can tie it to health, it's not something we can support.

"We're anticipating a fairly big impact on sales from this.

"We hope consumers can stand by us."

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The story Growers angered as juice rating receives another blow first appeared on The Irrigator.

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