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Juice regulation “kick in the guts” for orange farmers

It’s official, diet soft drinks are now deemed healthier than fresh fruit or vegetable juice.

The Australia New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation has been reviewing the Health Star Ratings.

It saw ministers vote for fresh fruit juices to have their ratings slashed from five stars to as low as two.

Fruit and vegetable growers will be hardest hit by the decision.

Citrus Australia Chief Executive Nathan Hancock told rural editor Eddie Summerfield it’s a “kick in the guts”.

“We’re gutted, it’s a really disappointing day for Australian agriculture and the Australian consumer,” Mr Hancock said.

The new ratings will see apple juice receive two stars, orange juice two and a half stars, diet cola four stars.

“It’s a nutritious product, it’s simply nature in a bottle, and we’re being told by our governments that it’s better for you to drink manufactured diet soft soda,” Mr Hancock said.

“That is such a poor message to send to a country that is struggling to meet the the needs of eating fruit and vegetables daily.”

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud took a proposal for 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice to receive a minimum four star rating.

But that was rejected by the Ministerial Forum.

“It’s madness. Fresh, pure, vitamin-rich Aussie OJ is better than soft drink every day of the week and our Health Star Rating system should reflect this,” Minister Littleproud said.

Listen to the full interview above, and Subscribe to the National Rural News podcast:

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