Charities hit out at calorie count plans

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Eating disorder charities said that being forced to read calorie counts on menus could have a negative effect on those battling bulimia and anorexia

26th August 2019 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

Charities that support people with eating disorders have hit out at plans for calorie counts to be listed on menus.

Last week, Food Standards Scotland (FSS) revealed that it will make it mandatory for restaurants and cafés to list calorie counts on every menu item, which it hopes will make people consider their choice when eating a meal or a snack.

However, eating disorder charities said that being forced to read calorie counts could have a “negative health effect” on people struggling to recover from an illness such as anorexia or bulimia.

Andrew Radford, chief executive of eating disorder support charity Beat, said: “Requiring calorie counts on menus risks exacerbating eating disorders and so causing great distress for people suffering from these severe mental illnesses.

“Campaigns aimed at reducing obesity are important for our public health, but they must take into account the negative health effect they risk having on people with eating disorders, which themselves can be life-altering and life-limiting.”

Mandatory calorie labelling was introduced in the US in May 2018, in several states in Australia from February 2012 and in Ontario, Canada from 2017. Comparable regulations are planned for Ireland, while the UK Government consulted on a similar plan for England, although no such measure has yet been introduced.

FSS said the Scottish Government could work with English authorities to align a roll-out of calorie labelling across the whole of the UK.

Heather Peace, head of public health nutrition at Food Standards Scotland, said: “Food Standards Scotland has already identified the issue of eating disorders in relation to calorie labelling.

“This will be considered fully as part of our planned impact assessments, which will involve stakeholder groups to ensure a wide range of views are taken into account, and any further evidence reviewed.”

26th August 2019 by Peter Le Riche

The NHS cannot cope with obesity and people are generally over weight unhappy. Showing what is on a plastic free packet is a good idea, people with eating disorders will learn to adapt. If you want to fight for people suffering with eating disorders then fight against Capitalism and consumes. Don't just patch up the issue with superficialities