London food outlets are being urged to sign up to the Healthier Catering Commitment, a new voluntary scheme which aims to raise awareness among caterers about healthy eating.
Initially aimed at fast-food businesses, certification will be provided to operators who can demonstrate a commitment to reducing the amount of saturated fat, sugar and salt used in food sold to customers.
Supported by the London Boroughs, the London Food Board, the Greater London Authority and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), the scheme will be launched today by Rosie Boycott, chair of the London Food Board at City Hall.
Tay Potier, CIEH London region policy officer, said the scheme was simple to operate, as businesses wishing to participate could be assessed during a routine food inspection.
"Most of the businesses involved in the pilot were surprised at how little they needed 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," Potier said.
"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. For an environmental health perspective, the healthier catering commitment provides a great opportunity to work with food businesses to promote the benefits of health eating as well as food safety.
Rosie Boycott 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."
By Janet Harmer
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