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Juice report welcomed, but further work needed

Juice report welcomed, but further work needed

The New Zealand Juice Association (NZJA) has welcomed the Commerce Commission’s report into the juice industry which will complement its own self-regulatory system, but believes further work is needed to ensure clear and consumer-friendly descriptions on juice product labels.

NZJA President, Kelvin Clout, noted that through its Code of Practise and Industry Compliance Committee (ICC) the industry has already made great strides in ensuring fruit juice companies label their products in a clear, consumer-friendly manner.

“While the Commerce Commission has highlighted some exceptions, it is important to note that the vast majority of fruit juices manufactured and sold in New Zealand are labeled in accordance with legislation and are both clear and informative,” Clout said.

There are, however, still differences between the words used to describe fruit juices and juice drinks in New Zealand and Australia. The NZJA is currently working with its Australian counterpart on these ‘descriptors’ and will also meet with the Commerce Commission to ensure definitions are precise and defined.

“We advise consumers to continue to carefully read labels and to purchase the juices they enjoy. Fruit juices offer considerable health benefits and are one of the ways that people can consume the recommended five servings of fruit and vegetables a day,” said Clout.

The Code of Practise and ICC have been operating since 1997 and many juice labels carry the NZJA compliance logo. The system is based on random testing by an independent laboratory.

Any issues with labelling or product composition are brought to the attention of offending companies and, without exception, member companies undertake the required remedial action.

Existing Commerce Commission guidelines were tabled in 1994 and may have been superseded by advances in technology and packaging. The NZJA and its members do, however, refer to the guidelines when making decisions through the ICC.

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