Mr PASIN (Barker) (10:51): It’s my melancholy duty to inform the chamber about the decision recently by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation, which rubberstamped the previous decision of them, which has cut at the heart of the horticultural industry in Australia and New Zealand. Their decision will now allow fruit juices, and for that matter vegetable juices, to be rated as low as two health stars based purely on their sugar content, ranking them lower—lower!—than many diet soft drinks. Industry proposed a sensible middle ground solution, four health stars for 100 per cent Australian and New Zealand made fruit juice with no added sugar, but that was rejected. I congratulate Mr Littleproud on the campaign but, unfortunately, we haven’t seen success.
What’s most disappointing from the decision of states and territories like Queensland, the Northern Territory, the ACT, Victoria—and, of course, Jacinda Ardern’s New Zealand—is that these governments have betrayed Australian and New Zealand farmers and they’ve let down people who rely on these health star ratings. The low health star rating for juice blatantly contradicts the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which place fresh fruit in the ‘eat more’ category. These guidelines allow for juice to substitute for free—125 millilitres of fruit juice equates to a serving of fruit. It’s almost inconceivable that despite the many benefits of fruit juice all-natural Australian fruit juice will attract a rating below 2½ stars. At a time when only five per cent of Australians get their daily recommended intake of fruit and vegetables, regulators such as the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation have a moral responsibility to encourage the consumption of fruit and vegetables.
As a result of this change, I feel confident that we’ll see less Australian 100 per cent grown fruit juice in trolleys. That’s the last thing we need around the country. It’s the last thing consumers need and it’s absolutely the last thing Australian producers need. The Australian citrus producers in my electorate turn out some of the best product in the world, and to think that an orange juice without any sugar added to it would be deemed less healthy than Diet Coke—Mr Deputy Speaker, I’m sorry for the unparliamentary language—is batshit stupid. My call-out to Australians who are listening to this is: do me a favour, support these producers, next time you’re at the supermarket put some 100 per cent Australian fruit juice in your trolley and tell the regulator to get stuffed!