Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Infant Fruit Juice Meets Stiff Resistance in Australia

It looks like the Australians are light years ahead of Americans when it comes to feelings about fruit juice. Whereas our love affair with juice seems unquenchable, at least a certain segment of the Australian population realizes the issues with the liquid that lost its fiber. (The fiber found in whole fruits helps regulate our bodies' intake of the fruits' sugars, a process that doesn't happen with just juice.)

As I wrote about two weeks ago, the Chief Health Officer of Queensland (an Australian state) recently called for her constituents to curtail giving fruit juices to their kids in an attempt to combat the state's ballooning weight issues among its children.

Now, parents have forced Woolworths, Australia's largest supermarket chain, to pull fruit juice for infants from its shelves. Here's the story, courtesy of Australian Food News:

Woolworths Delists Infant “Fruit Juice” Following Social Media Outcry

November 27, 2012
Kate Carey
"Woolworths has announced it will delist a range of infant fruit juices under the Bebi brand, which have raised concerns from angry parents on the Woolworths Facebook page.
"The Bebi fruit drink range claims to be the world’s first infant suitable beverage, and is marketed as being suitable for infants from six months. The juice range in 'organic white grape' and 'organic apple and banana' flavours is sold in a bottle that comes with a teat, just like a baby’s bottle.

"Australia’s consumer watchdog CHOICE reports that last week, midwife and mother Jessica Williams started a petition with Change.org calling for Woolworths, currently the only stockist, to stop selling the Bebi range of drinks, fearing that many parents would see them as 'healthy.'

"Along with the petition, many parents left comments on the Woolworths Facebook page claiming that the Bebi range will lead to tooth decay, sleeping problems, and unhealthy weight gain. 

"Woolworths has said that they have consulted with an in-house nutritionist and will be removing the product from its stores over the next few weeks.

"Bebi has since issued a statement to clarify that the product is not a substitute for milk, and meets all standards of the Australian and New Zealand Food Standards Code.
“'Most people seem to understand that Bebi is not promoting our products as substitutes for breast milk and that our products are recommended for infants over 6 months of age, a time when parents are often trying to introduce their child to new feeding experiences,' a Bebi spokesperson said."

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