Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (15:22): Today I rise to talk about an issue that is quite dear to my heart, being a citrus grower for nearly 25 years. During the last couple of weeks, I have been involved in a campaign to bring public awareness to a product that has been on our supermarket shelves—actually, it has been dumped on our supermarket shelves—and that is a product branded synonymously with South Australia as a Berri product and as a 'truly' orange product.
Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (15:22): Today I rise to talk about an issue that is quite dear to my heart, being a citrus grower for nearly 25 years. During the last couple of weeks, I have been involved in a campaign to bring public awareness to a product that has been on our supermarket shelves—actually, it has been dumped on our supermarket shelves—and that is a product branded synonymously with South Australia as a Berri product and as a 'truly' orange product. This has been put on supermarket shelves and I have had constituents come into my office in the Riverland outraged at how a litre of orange juice could be on the shelf for $1.
I thought I would do some investigation into this product, with some concerns that this product was not an Australian product. I looked further and, to my outrage, this product was imported from Mexico, and not only was the product imported from Mexico but also the packaging was from Mexico. Despite hiding behind a name synonymous with the clean, fresh produce from the Riverland, the Berri brand and its 'truly' juice product is 100 per cent produced and packaged in Mexico. I urge Australians to look at the carton and the product and the disclosure regarding where that product comes from.
Berri Juice is a brand familiar to most people in this place and most consumers of juice. Its life began in the Riverland back in 1943, and it was around that time and into the 1950s that Berri, along with the Riverland region, started to dominate the local juice industry. It was always widely regarded as fresh Riverland produce with an image of being hand picked from local trees, and it was a region that was reliable, clean and green. That image still remains today. If you talk to people walking in the street, or in the supermarket, and you ask them about the brand, they see the Berri brand as synonymous with clean, fresh, green produce.
At the moment, Riverland orange growers are being forced to rip out orchards due to poor commodity prices. They are receiving returns of less than 1.8 cents a kilogram for juicing fruit. Yet, we see these multinationals using an Australian brand to sell juice that has been imported from Mexico. Lion claims to have hand picked the finest oranges, but they forget to mention that they were hand picked in Mexico and, potentially, by child slave labour.
Lion subsequently issued a statement, after last Monday's press release, about the Berri Truly product claiming that it had not met performance benchmarks. I agree that it has not met those benchmarks. If it tastes like the back of a dunny door then, potentially, that is where it might have come from. For those consumers drinking orange juice, or any juice for that matter, if you smell that juice and it tastes like a steel drum that is potentially where it has come from because that is where the imported juice comes into this country via steel drums. That is just a tip for the consumer.
The South Australian citrus industry is already under siege from imported concentrates and cheap overseas labour, as I have stated. It is during this time that we need our iconic brands—supporting this state's economy and supporting this state's growers—to be supported by South Australian consumers. If you want to drink local juice, not oranges from the other side of the world, then have a look at the packaging, have a look at where it comes from, where it is produced and how it is being presented on that shelf.
There is a continuing argument about foreign ownership in South Australia and yet we are not doing anything about foreign products that are put on our supermarket shelves. So, I encourage everyone here to promote the South Australian citrus industry by supporting a South Australian business. Look at the Nippy's brand, the Orchard Crush brand, the Crusta brand, they are reliable, reputable brands from South Australia that are guaranteed fresh produce from Riverland growers.
It has been an ongoing issue. Kiring has issued a release that they would withdraw those products from the shelf. I call on Kiring to do that immediately. They said one week ago that they would remove the product but they are yet to do it.