Monday, 15 February 2021
Statements by Members
Last week the Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation drove a stake through the heart of the citrus industry in my electorate of Mallee. Now, 100 per cent fruit and vegetable juice, with no added sugar, will score as low as two stars in the health star rating system. That is lower than many diet soft drinks. Although the Commonwealth voted against these changes, growers across the country have been betrayed by the states and territories that supported the new ratings, including Queensland, Victoria, the Northern Territory and the ACT. The health star rating system was designed to help consumers make healthier choices. However, following these new ratings when choosing something to drink will legitimately make you less healthy. These changes completely undermine the system and make it virtually pointless. The state and territory jurisdictions that supported these changes need to admit they got it wrong and work to rectify this ridiculous decision. Nathan Hancock of Citrus Australia, in Mallee, said this decision could rip hundreds of millions of dollars out of the regional industries and communities. We can only hope that consumers will use common sense and see these new ratings for what they are: idiotic. I will continue to support local industries in my electorate by drinking fresh fruit and vegetable juice, and I hope Australia will do the same.