Citrus and apple farmers have been dealt a bitter blow after a move to ensure fresh juice has a higher health rating than soft drink was crushed.
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud's proposal to lock in a four-star rating for fruit and vegetable juices was rejected by a majority of states on Friday.
While NSW and South Australia had already backed the plan, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and ACT voted it down at a food ministers' meeting.
Mr Littleproud said the failure to support the rating would hit sales and cause confusion for consumers.
"It's madness. Fresh, pure, vitamin-rich Aussie OJ is better than soft drink every day of the week and our health star rating system should reflect this," he said.
"At a time when we need more jobs, and our farm and food processing sector need more support, governments are abandoning them."
Changes to the consumer guide rate fresh apple juice two stars while diet cola scores three and a half.
Australian orange juice scores two and a half under the new algorithm that puts extra emphasis on total sugar in the drinks.
The federal government recommended an automatic four-star rating for 100 per cent fruit and vegetable juice with no added sugar.
Mr Littleproud said he supported good health outcomes, but the majority state and territory governments had lacked common sense.
"The disgraceful decision has undermined the integrity of the entire health star rating system, and will lead to juice manufacturers dropping the health label altogether, leaving consumers worse off," he said.
Australian Associated Press