UK Government Poised to Introduce Menu-Calorie Labeling Rule in Food Retail Sector
In the speech delivered by Queen Elizabth II last May 11, to mark the opening of the parliament’s 2021 session, she touched on the obesity and mental crises. The subjects form part of the parliament’s law making agenda for the year, to which one of the actions to be taken will affect the country’s food and beverage industry.
All participants in the country’s food service sector will have to label each meal with caloric contents, while manufacturers of the so-called “junk food” will no longer be allowed to advertise online. Restaurants, cafes, food delivery and takeout services will be required to indicate the calories for each meal (excluding beverages) listed in their menus.
At the Queen Mary University of London, the Chair of Action on Sugar and Action on Salt, Professor Graham MacGregor welcomed the news that the UK government will finally introduce landmark obesity policies. He added that such policies are crucial not only in treating those with overweight problems but in preventing obesity.
According to Professor MacGregor, including product reformulation is a must. Due to the worrying figures and reports that link obesity to the COVID-19 mortality rates, it’s important for the food and drink industry, as well as the hospitality sector, to act immediately and without further delay.
The ban on online advertising on junk food is still undergoing consultation with manufacturers, as there is not clear definition of what are regarded as junk food.
According to those who oppose the proposed ban, there should be a limit to the scope in the advertising ban. Many producers have already carefully reformulated, or provided smaller portions in line with the UK Government’s previous campaigns in battling the country’s obesity crisis.
The US FDA Implemented the Menu-Calorie Labeling Rule in 2018
Actually, the menu-calorie labeling rule is not new to food retail establishments in the US, since the US-FDA officially implemented the rule in May 2018. Moreover, the rule requires the display of statements informing customers that the menu-calorie information are available upon request, and general information for general nutrition advice about daily calorie intake and of how calorie needs tend to vary.