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Restaurant chains 'should display calorie counts' to tackle childhood obesity

By Sophie Witts , 16-Feb-2016
Last updated on 16-Feb-2016 at 11:34 GMT2016-02-16T11:34:39Z

Restaurant chains 'should display calorie counts' to tackle childhood obesity

The Government should make it a requirement for restaurant and pub chains with more than 20 outlets to spell out calorie counts as part of its upcoming child obesity strategy, the Local Government Association has claimed (LGA). 

The LGA is a politically-led membership group that represents the views of 370 councils across England and Wales.

It claims that the chain operations need to clearly display calorie counts on menus and at counters for both food and drink to give consumers more informed choice.

The call follows a similar initiative in the US, where rules were brought in making it compulsory for chain restaurants, movie theatres and pizza parlours to show calorie information on their menus.

This is not the first time the LGA has called for calorie counts to be mandatory but the industry response has raised concern about the costs being imposed on small businesses.

"We want the Government to require major retailers to make their customers fully aware of how many calories they are eating or drinking,” said Councillor Izzi Seccombe, the LGA's community wellbeing spokesperson.

"Clear and prominent signs indicating the number of calories in a product should be mandatory.

"We need to take bold action in changing our environment if we are to beat obesity, and that includes when we're sitting at a table in a restaurant reading a menu or ordering at the counter."

The Government's childhood obesity strategy, which is due to be announced in the coming weeks, will reportedly recommend an end to junk food adverts being screened around 'family' programming such as X Factor and Britain's Got Talent.

Plans to include a tax on sugary drinks, backed by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, have allegedly been scrapped by David Cameron.

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