Food: Labelling:Written question - 132586

Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Asked on: 14 March 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Food: Labelling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to encourage food retailers to adopt calorie labelling on menus or at the point of purchase.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 22 March 2018

My Rt. hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has not had any recent discussions with the food and drinks industry on calorie labelling, including carbohydrate content, on pre-packaged foods or food sold in restaurants, cafes, fast food outlets and takeaways.

The mandatory nutrient declaration for pre-packaged food must include values for carbohydrate and calories. We welcome the actions taken by responsible producers and retailers who have adopted the front of pack and out of home nutrition labelling schemes. Businesses that have adopted the front of pack nutrition labelling scheme account for approximately two thirds of the market for pre-packed foods and drinks, and around a quarter of the food consumed outside the home currently has calories labelled at the point of choice, for example on menus and menu boards. But the challenge to industry to make further progress remains.

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union will give us greater flexibility to determine what information should be presented on packaged food, and how it should be displayed. We want to build on the success of our current labelling scheme, and review additional opportunities to go further and ensure we are using the most effective ways to communicate information. This might include clearer visual labelling, such as teaspoons of sugar, that help consumers understand more about the sugar content in packaged food and drink.

There has been no central assessment of the merits of introducing mandatory recommended dietary allowance guidelines on fast food packaging or in fast food outlets.

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