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Thu 10th Oct 2019 - Blanket calorie cap proposed for out-of-home sector in childhood obesity report
Blanket calorie cap proposed for out-of-home sector in childhood obesity report, UKHospitality deems measure ‘impractical and unfair’: A calorie cap per serving of food and drink sold by the out-of-home sector has been proposed by professor Dame Sally Davies as part of new measures aimed at tackling childhood obesity. Dame Sally has today published her final commissioned report focusing on childhood obesity and called on the government and industry to work together. The report was agreed and written while Dame Sally was chief medical officer for England. She stepped down at the start of October with professor Chris Whitty taking over. The report contains a series of recommendations aimed at “improving our environment and stemming the tide of unhealthy food and drink”. They include “developing a system to apply a cap on the amount of calories per serving for all food and drink sold by the out-of-home sector”. Dame Sally has also proposed a review of VAT rates on food and drink, to ensure all “healthy” food has no VAT applied. She also recommended frameworks are updated so a business selling healthy food is recognised as different from a business selling unhealthy options. However, UKHospitality had described the proposed blanket calorie cap as a “knee-jerk, impractical and unfair measure”. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We are supportive of measures to tackle childhood obesity, but a cap on all portions clearly removes choice for all customers irrespective of age. Such a cap would cause problems for businesses, not to mention the obvious reduction in choice for customers and restricting of personal freedoms for adults who should be able to choose for themselves. We certainly welcome the opportunity for the hospitality sector to work with the government to tackle childhood obesity. Promoting healthier attitudes to food and drink is important for hospitality businesses. Many businesses have been working hard to cut calories from their menus and provide greater choice for customers and we are keen to continue that work. Reducing the rate of VAT for healthier options on menus could be a good way to promote healthier choices. We would certainly be interested in exploring options to reduce costs for businesses providing healthy food and drink for customers. Many businesses have been hammered by increasing costs, so making it cheaper and easier for them to provide healthy options would be a good move.”

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