New calorie labelling rules come into force

New rules requiring calorie information to be displayed on menus and food labels has come into force to improve the nation’s health and tackle obesity levels.

As part of the new law, calorie information will need to be displayed on menus, online menus, third party apps, food delivery platforms and food labels at the point a customer is making their food and drink choices. As well as listing the calories for each food item, menus and labels will also need to include daily recommended calorie needs.

The legislations aims to ensure people can make more informed, healthier choices when it comes to eating food out or ordering takeaways. Displaying calorie information may also encourage businesses to provide lower calorie options for their customers.

There are some exemptions to the legislation including food that is only on a menu for 30 days of the year or less and all alcohol drinks above 1.2 per cent ABV.

The legislation will be enforced by local authorities with the Department of Health and Social Care supporting them with the additional costs of enforcing the policy. Local Authorities are encouraged first to have conversations with those businesses who are not complying with the law. Local authorities can issue improvement notices. Any person who fails to comply with a notice could be guilty of an offence and could be fined £2,500.

Public Health Minister Maggie Throup said: “It is crucial that we all have access to the information we need to maintain a healthier weight, and this starts with knowing how calorific our food is. We are used to knowing this when we are shopping in the supermarket, but this isn’t the case when we eat out or get a take-away. As part of our efforts to tackle disparities and level up the nation’s health, these measures are an important building block to making it as easy as possible for people to make healthier food choices.”

It is estimated that overweight and obesity related conditions across the UK cost the NHS £6.1 billion each year.

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