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Tories call on restaurants to reduce food portions to curb obesity

13 January 2010

The Conservatives are to call on restaurants and retailers to reduce their food portions in a bid to curb obesity.

The party revealed the aim in its new green paper on health, called A Healthier Nation](http://www.conservatives.com/News/News_stories/2010/01/~/media/Files/Green%20Papers/A%20Healthier%20Nation.ashx).

It also indicated that it will call on restaurants, pubs and bars with more than 15 outlets to display levels of calories, sugars, salt and fat voluntarily as part of an effort to "improve the consistency of information available to consumers".

The move follows a pilot scheme by the Labour Government and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) which sees 21 catering businesses already displaying nutritional information on menus.

Meanwhile labels showing the number of units in alcoholic drinks should be scrapped in favour of the number of centilitres of pure alcohol, the party said.

It would like to see details of the drinks calorie content as part of a voluntary arrangement with the drinks industry.

A voluntary code asking drinks manufacturers to display the number of units in drinks has been in place since the late 1990s.

But recent research has show that only just over half of drinks display the number of units they contain, while less than a fifth display advice about sensible consumption.

Commenting ahead of a speech to the 2020Health think-tank, shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: "We cannot go on like this. Today I am setting out concrete plans to encourage people to live healthier lives. But in order that people are able to make the right choices we need to provide them with simple and correct information.

"That is why, for example, we are going to move away from the confusing system of alcohol units, and also provide people with relevant, consistent information such as the centilitres of alcohol in alcohol products, and the calories content in each alcoholic drink.

"Information is a basis for us to create a positive climate for changing behaviour towards alcohol, with a strategy geared to encouraging responsibility for our health."

A government spokesperson said: "The Government has worked hard with industry so that labels on bottles and cans should give people the number of units in the drink and the NHS advice on daily limits. We are already looking at putting calorie information on labels."

Child obesity may be in decline, says National Heart Forum >>

Jamie Oliver awarded US TED award for anti-obesity drive >>Calorie counts on menus likely to become standard, says FSA >>By Neil Gerrard

E-mail your comments to Neil Gerrard here.

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