Citrus Australia stated it is “vastly disappointed” with state ministers’ decision to remove the 5-star rating for fresh juice with no added sugar under the revised Health Star Ratings (HSR) system.
The Food Regulation Forum, comprised of ministers from every Australian state and territory, on July 17 rejected Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud’s proposals to retain the current 5-star rating. Some of the state ministers proposed a 4-star rating, but that proposal was unsuccessful.
Under the revised HSR system as it stands, diet cola would receive 4 stars, and 100 percent fresh juice with no added sugar, preservatives or additions would receive 2.5 stars. Fresh juice has held a 5-star rating since the HSR was implemented in 2014. Citrus Australia in May urged the federal government to retain the product’s 5-star rating; read more here.
Citrus Australia CEO Nathan Hancock said the effective demonization of fresh juice — a 100 percent natural product with no additives or preservatives — defied common sense. “Under the revised HSR system as it stands, 100 percent fresh juice would receive less stars than diet cola which contains additives and preservatives and no nutritional benefits,” Hancock said.
“The algorithm that underpins the new HSR assesses fresh juice on sugar content alone and does not consider essential nutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium, folate and magnesium, or antioxidants,” Hancock added. “It also contradicts the Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG), which places fresh juice in the ‘eat more of’ category.”
Hancock said Citrus Australia would continue to work with Australian growers to promote the health benefits of the product to consumers and reassure them that the contents within the bottle have not changed, despite the new rating.
“We are genuinely concerned that the suggestion that fresh fruit juice is unhealthy will have a detrimental health effect on the community, particularly in winter,” Hancock said.
Source: Citrus Australia
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