Restaurants and other food outlets in London are being urged to sign up to a voluntary scheme which would see them accredited for actively making their menus healthier.
The scheme, run by the London Food Board, has already been piloted in the fast food sector and is now being extended to all food businesses in the capital who can demonstrate a commitment to reducing the amount of saturated fat, sugar and salt used in food sold to customers.
Once businesses can prove they have made food healthier they will receive a Healthier Catering Commitment certificate and door sticker underlining their commitment.
Tay Potier, London region policy officer at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), one of the supporters of the scheme, said take-up of the initiative had been good among businesses during the initial pilot period.
He said: “Most of the businesses involved in the pilot were surprised at how little they need to do to make their food healthier – small changes like changing the oil they use from an unhealthy one high in saturated fats to a healthier mono or polyunsaturated one could make a huge difference and it did not cost them any more.
“Many businesses also had a great sense of pride and satisfaction knowing that they were making a contribution to improving the health of their customers.
"It is relatively simple to operate as businesses wishing to participate in the scheme can be assessed during a routine food inspection."
Rosie Boycott, chair of London Food and who launched the initiative at City Hall today, urged the industry's businesses to sign up to help improve the health of diners.
She said: “One in four businesses in London sells food and it is the second biggest manufacturing sector in the capital, so food businesses cutting down on saturated fat, sugar and salt will have a huge impact on making us healthier. This is a great initiative, Londoners want to be able to go out and enjoy a delicious meal and know it is healthy at the same time.”
For more information on how to get involved visit http://www.cieh.org/healthier-catering-commitment.html