Cider Australia says rules governing cider production lack integrity
Cider Australia is calling on the Australian Government to introduce tighter regulation of cider production.
Currently there is no minimum standard in respect to the proportion of juice in cider, manufacturers can add alcohol to the product, only apples and pears are allowed to be used to make cider and there is no requirement to specific that imported fruit has been used.
Cider Australia wants the Australian Government to implement a minimum of 50% of fruit in cider (by weight of finished product) as per definitions in all other international markets; redefine the meaning of cider and perry to exclude added alcohol; and permit all pome fruit products to be used.
The body said it believes the rules governing the production of cider in Australia lack integrity.
“Both the cider industry and consumers rely on these rules to ensure products are safe and the information provided about products is accurate and meaningful,” Cider Australia notes.
“Sensible regulatory requirements that are consistent across food categories and with the rules in other countries where practical will minimise compliance costs and reduce barriers to exporting, giving the cider industry the best chance at achieving sustainable growth.”
Currently, according to Cider Australia, consumers and producers struggle to differentiate higher quality products in the marketplace. It also believes the rules impose unnecessary compliance costs on producers through inconsistent design across the Food Standards Code and WET definitions.
“Cider Australia’s goal is to build a sustainable cider category by undertaking activities that improve the quality of ciders produced and marketed in Australia,” the body said. “Australia’s current cider production standards are a significant barrier to achieving long-term industry growth.”
Cider Australia is concerned that the current Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code allows cider to contain unlimited amounts of water, sugar and other ingredients.
“In effect there is no minimum quality standard for cider, in contrast to the stringent rules for grape wine,” it said.
Producers are not required to declare consumer information about the ingredients in cider products such as the fruit content or its country of origin.
“In fact, the current rules on country of origin labelling are that a cider label can say ‘Made in Australia’ even when the juice content is 100% imported concentrate,” Cider Australia said. “Surely this would mislead all but the most informed consumers?
Cider Australia estimates that more than 85% of the cider ‘made in’ Australia is actually made with imported juice concentrate and not Australian grown fruit.
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