AUSVEG is backing the calls of Australia’s fruit industries for common sense to prevail, when it comes to the Health Star Ratings.
Government Ministers will meet at the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation this week to vote on whether they agree to changes to the Health Star Rating (HSR) system.
Changes include that we would see fresh juices given a lower HSR than diet soft drinks.
“When the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation meets this week, it must apply common sense and give automatic ratings of at least 4 stars to fruit and vegetables juices – anything less than this would undermine the entire system,” says AUSVEG CEO, James Whiteside.
“Fruit and vegetable juices have a range of health benefits, and it is deeply concerning for growers and consumers that this change is being considered.”
AUSVEG is aligned with other industry bodies, including Citrus Australia, Apple and Pear Australia Limited and the National Farmers’ Federation Horticulture Council, in calling for the change.
Mr Whiteside continues, “While about 3% or 93,000 tonnes, of total annual vegetable production in Australia is consumed in juice form each year, it is important the messaging around the Health Star Rating system doesn’t confuse consumers.
“People reading labels that tell them a soft drink, which has added sugars and artificial sweeteners, has a higher HSR than a natural juice would be confused and could be led to believe that fruits and vegetables are not healthy, which is simply not the case.”
Mr Whiteside concludes in saying that we should be making it easier, and more simple for Aussies to live a healthy-balanced lifestyle, rather than confusing consumers more.