Hospitality operators have been urged to respond to a consultation on the introduction of mandatory calorie labelling by food and drink outlets, launched by the government today.
The consultation asks for opinions on which businesses should have to display calorie information as well as what and where it should be displayed. Respondents will also be asked to highlight any issues or obstacles businesses could face in implementing the legislation.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The consultation does seem to acknowledge that there will be difficulties for some businesses, particularly smaller ones, to implement calorie labelling.
“UKHospitality has been very clear that any inflexible mandatory requirements will place considerable burdens on smaller businesses and those venues that change their menus regularly. UKHospitality will be using the consultation as an opportunity to reiterate that point and highlight the efforts already being undertaken by the sector to provide transparency and choice.
“At a time of economic and political uncertainty, and with costs continuing to rise for employers, the last thing businesses need is additional, unwieldy legislation. We will be making this point forcefully to the Government to ensure that any new rules are proportionate and take into account the challenges faced by SMEs.
“We are urging businesses to engage with the consultation to make their voices heard.”
The policy, which is being pushed by the health department’s new minister Matt Hancock, would see all food outlets forced to declare the calorie counts of their dishes.
But, a leaked letter from Treasury chief secretary Liz Truss said the department would be likely to block the plans to protect small businesses.
To respond to the consultation click here.