UKHospitality has hit back after Public Health England set out new calorie and salt reduction targets for the industry, despite businesses facing acute threats to their survival.
UKHospitality accused the government body of throwing "petrol on the fire" caused by the Covid-19 pandemic after it set out voluntary targets for a 20% reduction in calories for most categories of the out of home dining, takeaway and delivery sectors alongside maximum calorie guidelines.
A second report on salt intake has also recommended voluntary cuts.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "The hospitality sector has been supportive and proactive in helping to provide healthier choices and nutritional information for customers.
"We continue to support the objectives and will never absent ourselves from such well-intentioned pursuits, but the timing of these announcements, with the country still in the grips of a pandemic and hospitality businesses struggling to stay afloat, rather sticks in the craw.
"Never have the burdens threatening the existence of hospitality businesses been more acute – this is not the time to throw petrol on the fire."
The government has said it will monitor progress through to 2022 and take further action if results are not seen.
Public health minister Jo Churchill said: "We can all do our bit to stay healthy, to help protect us from coronavirus and take pressure off the NHS.
"The food industry can play their part, by making it as easy as possible for everyone to eat more healthily. These guidelines will help them take positive action."