The Conservative Party has said it wants to push forward with the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) efforts to get restaurants to display nutrional information on menus and will do away with unit labels on alcohol if it gets into power at the next General Election.
In its new green paper on public health, launched today by shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley, the Tories say they will 'work with the catering and hospitality sectors to provide consistent and meaningful information about meals eaten away from home'.
Under the Labour government, 21 catering businesses, including chain restaurants and fast food outlets, have been displaying calorie information on menus as part of a trial with the FSA, which has been hailed a success so far.
The Tories say they would 'promote' the display of consistent nutritional information in all restaurants with more than 15 outlets, although they have not stated it would be mandatory.
"We will focus efforts on extending nutritional infomration to restaurants in a manner consistent with the nutritional information baseline for on-pack labelling, including calories, sugars, salt, fat and saturated fat per portion," the paper says.
The alcohol units labelling system for alcohol content, introduced in 1998, would also be abolished under the Tories.
Lansley said the current unit system was 'misunderstood' and instead his party would be pushing to improve labelling so that calorie content was also highlighted on labels and would make drinkers more aware of the amount of alcohol in drinks and guideline limits. He said they would also make moves to make alcohol labelling standard across Europe.
The Wine & Spirit Trade Association said it welcomed the idea. "It makes sense to provide information for consumers about alcohol in a way that can easily be related to specific drinks. Equally, it is clear that standardised labelling would require European wide agreement," said WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles.