Rating change could hurt fruit and veg farmers

Feb 8, 2021

Rating change could hurt fruit and veg farmers

Feb 8, 2021

A health star rating change for juice could significantly impact fruit and vegetable growers in Queensland, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto. 

Mr Dametto said he was concerned the Australia and NZ Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation was considering a proposal to change the treatment of juice with no added sugar under the Health Star Rating (HSR) system, which could result in product’s existing four star rating being dropped to as little as 2.5 stars. 

“A lower HSR for what is an already healthy product will harm the livelihoods of Queensland and the nation’s juice processing company employees and those along the entire value chain nationally, including fruit and vegetable growers,” Mr Dametto said.  

“Australian Dietary Guidelines state that an occasional 125ml glass of fruit juice with no added sugar can be used instead of one serve of whole fruit or vegetables to count towards Australians’ recommended daily serves, so this new proposed HSR makes no sense.” 

Queensland produces 48 per cent of the nation’s fruit; and up to 70 per cent of fruit for juices.  

Mr Dametto said he was concerned for the future of Hinchinbrook and Queensland fruit and vegetable farmers if the new HSR went through. 

“The juice industry is worth $730 million to Australia’s economy and comprises more than 4500 Full Time Equivalent jobs. A lower HSR means less demand for juice and ultimately, growers will be the biggest losers here,” he said. 

“I urge the forum to exercise some common sense and vote against this proposal at their next meeting on February 12 to ensure our fruit and vegetable growers have a viable future in this industry.”  

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