VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter has welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement it will introduce laws requiring fast food outlets to display the kilojoule contents of items on their menus.
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Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, today announced legislation will be introduced into Victorian Parliament later this year that will require chain food outlets and large supermarkets to display kilojoule content on their menu boards, price tags and online menus.
Ms Rechter congratulated the Victorian Government for taking such strong leadership on this important issue.
“At present around 50 per cent of fast food outlets display the kilojoule content of their food and drinks,” Ms Rechter said.
“Mandating that all major chain fast food outlets make their kilojoule contents clear to consumers will empower Victorians to make healthier food choices.”
Victoria’s Citizen’s Jury on Obesity, an initiative of VicHealth held in late 2015, showed significant support for mandatory kilojoule labelling on fast food with around 75% of the Jury supporting the concept.
In addition, a VicHealth-Herald Sun reader poll last year found 87% agreed information including kilojoules should be shown on menus in all chain restaurants and fast food outlets.
The evaluation of compulsory kilojoule menu labelling in New South Wales showed a 15% decrease in the average amount of kilojoules purchased from fast food chains after it was legislated, indicating that consumers do pay attention to kilojoule labelling when it is visible.
“Consuming excess kilojoules from foods that are high in energy, saturated fat, salt and added sugars, increases the risks of becoming overweight or obese and developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes,” Ms Rechter said.
“About two thirds of Victorians are overweight or obese and obesity is estimated to cost the Victorian economy $14.4 billion a year so it really is critical to address this epidemic.”
“We support action that encourages Victorians to choose healthier food and beverages and look forward to working with the government, businesses and the community as these new laws are rolled out.”