George Christensen MP

Federal Member for Dawson
MEDIA STATEMENT

Sugar attack based on sour science
A government regulator has ignored its own scientific guidelines to demonise sugar and threaten an entire industry, according to Federal Member for Dawson, George Christensen. Mr Christensen said in parliament this morning* the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) was changing the national dietary guidelines based on information it had deemed as not being credible. “Instead of basing the decision on the science they deemed credible, the council is promoting a nanny state approach that will have a drastic effect on both the sugar industry and what we can buy in the grocery store,” he said. “This is of particular concern to the Mackay Sugar Refinery, which is the major supplier of domestic sugar.” The current Australian Dietary Guidelines on sugars is: “Consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars”. The draft guidelines change that to say: “Limit intake of food and drinks containing added sugar. In particular, limit sugar-sweetened drinks”. Mr Christensen said the new guideline would be used by Food Standards Australia & New Zealand to set standards for food in Australia. “They will then regulate to limit sugar content,” he said. “The same thing happened with salt in the UK and everyone was up in arms when the taste of the iconic HP Sauce changed. “What will happen to the taste of Tim Tams in Australia if regulations force the sugar content to halve?” In the process of testing the drafting guidelines, the NHMRC conducted a systemic literature review, seeking papers from a range of scientists and dietary experts that were peer-reviewed and categorised. The only papers supporting the proposed change were all weak enough arguments to receive the lowest grade (D).
 PO Box 1697, Mackay Qld 4740 |  07 4944 0662 |  george.christensen.mp@aph.gov.au
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George Christensen MP
Federal Member for Dawson
“Submissions that were deemed reliable (grades of A and B) did not support the draft guidelines so by their own process the NHMRC have discredited their own guidelines,” Mr Christensen said. “If the council ignores their own scientific advice, you have to question the motives. What is driving them to create a nanny state and decimate one of our most important agricultural industries. “More than 4000 sugar cane farms operate along Australia’s eastern seaboard, mostly owned by farming families, and the industry underpins 50,000 jobs in the nation. “Australia cannot afford to keep undermining industries, especially when the move runs contrary to all credible scientific advice.”
* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3BHilKio30&feature=youtu.be ENDS Thursday, 20 September 2012

 PO Box 1697, Mackay Qld 4740 |  07 4944 0662 |  george.christensen.mp@aph.gov.au
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