Australian Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud has stated that he supports retaining the 5-Star Health Star Rating for fresh juice with no added sugar. The Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation will meet on Friday to talk about changes to the Health Star Rating guidelines.
A proposal would rank freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juice with no added sugar as low as 2.5 stars, the same as diet soft drink. Keeping the five star rating will be an issue during Friday's meeting.
Littleproud said that retaining the current rating recognised the benefits of fruit juice and aligned with Australian Dietary Guidelines: "I am concerned that the previous decision of the Ministerial Forum has resulted in a health star rating on juice that doesn't pass the pub test. Juice provides many health benefits as a minimally processed fruit and should be judged on more than just its sugar content."
Citrus Australia CEO Nathan Hancock welcomed the minister's support. "Importantly, retaining the 5-Star rating ensures consistency with the Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG), which places fresh juice in the 'eat more of' category," Hancock said.
"There are allowances in the ADG for the substitution of fruit juice for a whole piece of fruit in the diet. Vitamin C contributes to immune defence, particularly important in winter, and one 125 mL glass of fresh orange juice contains half the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C."