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It’s official – Heath Stars say diet cola is healthier than fresh juice.

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The Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation voted last Friday to adopt its voluntary health star ratings that will give fresh fruit and vegetable juice a lower health star rating than diet cola. 

APAL and Citrus Australia had lobbied for amendments that would recognise the many other nutritional benefits that fresh juice provides. 

“The use of stars is ridiculous – lets replace them with sugar cubes or teaspoons to ensure consumers are not hoodwinked into thinking the health stars reflect a common-sense guide to a product’s full nutritional value,” said APAL Head of Government Relations, Jeremy Griffith. 

The stars are meant to assist consumers make healthier and more informed choices that reflect the nutritional value of the product – but the system is so heavily skewed to reflect sugar content that other health benefits are invisible.  

“At this stage we are strongly urging our members to reconsider the value of participating in this voluntary program – and we encourage consumers to do the same. 

APAL suggests consumers refer to the ingredients panel and data for guidance on the nutritional value and to compare products. 

An automatic fivestar rating applies to all fresh and minimally processed fruit and vegetable products. 

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