Food Standards Australia and New Zealand slammed over fruit juice 'back-flip'

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Food Standards Australia and New Zealand slammed over fruit juice 'back-flip'

South Australia senator Nick Xenophon has hit out at Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ), following a decision not to ban the import of orange juice with carbendazim.

A Citrus Australia release said FSANZ chief executive officer Steve McCutcheon "effectively admitted" that lobbying from juice processors was a key factor in forcing a last-minute review on the ban, which was met by fierce criticism from Xenophon.

"Again we see the big end of town putting the squeeze on small producers," said Xenophon.

"The citrus industry in Australia was effectively banned from using this chemical over two years ago, yet FSANZ decide to wait for another review before banning the harmful fungicide at the import level."

The release said that McCutcheon also admitted orange juice labeled as 'Australian Made' could have up to 80% Brazilian juice concentrate.

"This clearly highlights just how pathetic our food labelling laws are," said Xenophon.

He said FSANZ also didn't adequately communicate its back-flip to the industry, as it only published the information on its website.

"The growers I speak with in the Riverland don't spend too much on the internet searching for fact sheets," he said.

"FSANZ may try and bury the facts, but they certainly can't bury this issue."

However, the Brazilian juice industry has effectively vowed to ban the use of the chemical in its orange production and is looking for alternatives.

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