Diabetes UK has called for the Government not to water down plans to introduce mandatory calorie labelling in restaurant, cafe and takeaway chains, which could result in just 0.3% of businesses in England adopting the proposed legislation.
The Government’s original plans for calorie labelling legislation, which were publicly consulted on in 2018, included all medium-sized businesses, suggested exemptions only for ‘micro’ businesses with fewer than 10 employees, such as single operator food trucks. Indications are that they could be significantly watered down, exempting all businesses with fewer than 250 employees. The charity says this would mean only 520 businesses out of a total 168,040 in the accommodation and food services sector across England would be required to introduce calorie labels on menus or at the point of choice – a significant step back in the fight against childhood obesity.
Helen Dickens, Assistant Director of Policy & Campaigns at Diabetes UK, said: “Exempting 99.7% of businesses from its calorie labelling legislation would be a cop out from our government. The plans, if they only apply to the largest businesses, would mean the vast majority of out of home businesses would not have to provide consumers with the information they want and need. The government must publish their calorie labelling plans urgently, and provide assurances that medium sized businesses are included in their plans – along with a clear timeline for implementation in these businesses. We cannot allow 99.7% of café, restaurant and takeaway businesses to continue as usual while the UK’s obesity crisis worsens and cases of Type 2 diabetes continue to rise.”
As part of the charity’s Food Upfront campaign, Diabetes UK is also calling for clearer and more consistent nutritional and carbohydrate labelling so people with diabetes – and the public – know what is in the food they’re buying.