National Farmers' Federation

Petition puts squeeze on ministers to pulp sour attempt to rate 100% juice less than coke

A proposal to halve the Health Star Rating of fresh 100% Australian orange juice defies logic and threatens to send a worrying message to all Australians, NFF CEO Tony Mahar says.

“It simply doesn’t pass the common-sense test that freshly squeezed orange juice, with no added sugars or preservatives, is facing a downgraded Health Star Rating of 2.5 stars, less than that given to Diet Coke, at 3.5 stars.”

The NFF today launched the #RateItRight petition calling on premiers, agriculture ministers and specifically health ministers who make up the Ministerial Forum for Food Regulation, to see that the proposal is pulped when they meet on Friday.

“Up to 94% of Australians don’t eat the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables each day. A small glass of juice has enough nutrients to reverse this disappointing trend,” Mr Mahar said.

“Pure fruit and vegetable juices are an important source of vitamin C, Folate and Thiamin and play a valuable role in a well-rounded and balanced diet. The nutritional benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables do not change when simply crushed or squeezed into a liquid. 

“If this proposal is adopted, it risks sending a message to Australians that chemical-laden, artificial soft drinks are somehow healthier than fruit and vegetables.”

Mr Mahar said the ludicrous folly had created an added worry for growers who were already battling a chronic worker shortage exacerbated by COVID-19 border closures. 

“Farmers are right now struggling to get the workforce they need to pick and pack fruits such as oranges. The last thing they need is an obviously flawed Health Star Rating system, telling shoppers that their product has a reduced nutritional value.

“We’re calling on Australians to send a clear message to Ministers, that the Health Star Rating is broken and common sense must prevail in the classification of fresh 100% Australian orange juice.”

Sign the #RateItRight petition here.

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