Preparing Your Business for Calorie Labeling Laws 2022

Preparing Your Business for Calorie Labeling Laws 2022

An estimated 40,000 premature deaths could be prevented if obesity was eliminated, according to a study presented at the European Congress of Obesity in Glasgow. With almost a third of UK adults now classified as obese, the health implications present a huge concern for the healthcare system as the numbers just keep getting higher.

Obesity increases the risk of heart and lung disease and metabolic diseases like type II diabetes and certain cancers. It’s a huge public health crisis, and one that the government must do everything it can to tackle urgently.

As Food Safety Consultants, it’s our responsibility to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in Food Safety Legislation. Here’s the lowdown on the action being taken by the government and how it impacts food businesses.

An action plan to tackle obesity has led to new legislation about calorie labelling

As part of the UK government’s action plan to tackle obesity is to empower children and adults to live healthier lives. This empowerment comes in the form of information and education, but there will also be increased accountability for restaurateurs and food providers to help people make informed choices about what they are eating.

Public Health Minister, Jo Churchill, said, “Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for people to make healthier food choices for themselves and their families, both in restaurants and at home. That is why we want to make sure everyone has access to accurate information about the food and drink we order.

“These measures form an important building block in our strategy to support and encourage people in achieving and maintaining a healthier weight.”

What does the new calorie labelling law mean for your business?

From 6th April 2022, you will be required to list calorie information on all food and drink prepared and sold for immediate consumption. This law applies to all businesses with more than 250 employees that serve food in the following ways:

  • Restaurants, pubs, bars, and cafes that prepare food to order
  • Takeaways
  • Sellers of coffee, juice, smoothies or other beverages
  • Ice cream or dessert vendors
  • Bakeries, patisseries or chocolatiers
  • Cinemas and leisure facilities
  • Supermarkets that sell prepared food for immediate consumption, like bakery items selected by the customer then packaged later

Which foods are exempt?

  • Condiments that are to be added by the customer
  • Food items that are included on a menu for less than 30 consecutive days or fewer than a total of 30 days in a calendar year
  • Drinks containing more than 1.2% of alcohol by volume
  • Fresh fruit or vegetables that do not contain more than one ingredient or are not added to any other food
  • Unprocessed products consisting of a single ingredient
  • Loaves of bread or baguettes for consumption off the premises
  • Fish, meat or cheese for consumption off the premises providing they are not added to other food or offered as an ingredient

Which premises are exempt?

  • Food served on an international aircraft, train or ferry where the destination is outside of the UK
  • Food provided at a hospital, care home, social care facility, or education institution or by the military or prison service

How must information be displayed?

  • Included on packaging in a clear type that can be easily seen and read
  • On the menu next to the price, or in a position that can clearly be seen
  • On a label identifying the food and within close proximity of the food
  • As part of the description of each item offered for sale on the website or app

What information must be included?

  • Energy content in kilocalories (kcal) of a single portion of the food, or if the item is for consumption by multiple people then for the whole item
  • The portion size to which the above relates
  • The statement that “adults need around 2,000 kcal a day”, unless the menu includes food for children

Special Considerations

The Government gives express permission for businesses to provide a menu that excludes calorie information to be handed out at the express request of the customer. This is to protect consumers who may have personal needs to avoid this information when eating out, such as those in recovery from or suffering from eating disorders.

How will the legislation be enforced?

Each food authority is responsible for enforcing the legislation in their areas. Failure to comply will result in an improvement notice served on the proprietor. Failure to comply with this notice may result in a fine or criminal prosecution.

What does your business need to do to prepare?

Accurately recording and representing the calorie content of your food will have implications should you run into supply-chain issues, and require training in serving and portioning food at the point of sale to ensure accuracy in relation to calorie information.

If your business is affected by the new calorie labelling legislation, drafting in the services of a Food Health and Safety Consultant to help you implement procedures and ensure compliance is essential. The legal implications of improperly representing the calorie content of the food your business sells could be serious.

For more advice and best practice information, call us to start a conversation about how your business needs to get ready.