WHEN you sit down and sip on your favourite commercial cider, are you aware that you could well be sucking down some Chinese or South American apple or pear concentrate?
Current labeling requirements for cider don’t cover a country of origin disclaimer, a situation that Cider Australia members want rectified.
According to a Cider Australia spokesperson 70 per cent of the cider marketed in Australia is made using imported juice concentrate that is significantly cheaper than Australian grown fruit juice.
Cider Australia has launched an online petition calling on the government to apply its strict new country of origin labeling laws to cider, as it does to fruit juice.
James Kendall from Small Acres Cyder in Borenore says that the big cider makers have to put themselves in the consumers’ shoes.
“It’s a basic right that we need to know where our food comes from, it’s no different for beverages,” he said.
Claims by the government that their research indicates that people don’t prioritise alcohol as a product in need of clear labeling, have been rejected by Mr Kendall.
“Just as there are many people who don’t care if the chicken they eat is cage bred, there are just as many who want to know if their food has been treated humanely, is clean, and is sustainable.” “The same has to apply to the drinks we consume.”
Cider is one of those products where the recent growth in the industry has surpassed the regulations governing it.
“Certainly the policing of regulations on cider have been lagging. They place all these lovely images of fresh apples all over the labels and in their promotional material evoking the idea that they use fresh Australian apples,” Mr Kendall said.
“The members of Cider Australia are all fiercely proud of what we do and we’re all located in prime apple growing areas in Tasmania, South Australia and here in Orange.
“We support the growers and they support us. It certainly irks us to be seeing images of fresh apples in bottle shops when they’re using concentrates.”
The petition is available via the website change.org