IFST responds to the consultation on mandating calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector

We have responded to the consultation launched by the Department of Health and Social Care on mandatory labelling for food and drink consumed outside of the home.

We welcome the concept but believe that addressing allergen labelling is more urgent, and limited Local Authority resources should be focussed on ensuring these practices are robust. Calorie labelling will be a burden on small business and will be difficult to implement meaningfully in these establishments, given the variability due to differences in ingredient variety and other factors (e.g. frying times). Consumed foods will also differ in the availability of calories due to digestibility, different eating situations and individual metabolism.

IFST would like to see the science of calorie measurement and weight loss presented in any proposal for new regulations. Additionally, enforcement of calorie labelling will require testing. At a time when testing budgets are constrained, this is likely to be considered a lower priority, leading to a lack of enforcement. We would like to see the presentation of cost/benefit ranking to assess the relative impact of different potential calorie reduction interventions.