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UK Government Denies Plan to Implement ‘Calorie-Caps’ in Restaurants

Public Health England is working to reduce the number of calories in ready-made sandwiches and fast food restaurants

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A number of reports this weekend suggest that the Government department Public Health England (PHE) is seeking a so-called “calorie-cap” on supermarket ready meals and menu items in fast food restaurants. However, the department has been moved to deny that it will stipulate new rules for restaurant chains.

It comes as the latest National Health Service (NHS) figures show that the British population (65 per cent of men and 58 per cent of women) “are overweight or obese.” A new initiative led by PHE, thought to be planned for roll-out in March, is designed to address the rising levels of obesity in the UK.

In an interview with The Times PHE’s chief nutritionist Alison Tedstone said that people were eating between 200 and 300 calories “too many a day.” That is: 200 to 300 above the Government’s recommended daily calorie intake (2,000 for women; 2,500 for men.)

Speaking specifically about those responsible for this over-intake, Tedstone said: “This is all about things like pizzas and readymade sandwiches.” We will need to set out guidelines and, I suspect, a series of calorie caps.” She also confirmed that she’d discussed the plans to promote lower calorie meals with food businesses.

However, a spokesperson for the department today qualified the statements, telling Big Hospitality that “the story was misinterpreted and there were no plans to tell chains to cut down lunches and dinners [to 600 calories] and breakfasts [to 400 calories.]”

PHE also confirmed that it would not amend the recommended daily calorie intake.