VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter has congratulated the Victorian Government on introducing Victoria’s first mandatory kilojoule labelling scheme.
Legislation requiring large chain food outlets and supermarket chains display food kilojoule contents on their menus passed through State Parliament yesterday in what is a major health win for consumers.
Under the new laws, chain food stores and supermarkets with 20 or more outlets in Victoria or 50 or more national outlets with at least one in Victoria, will be required to display kilojoule content of food and drinks on menus, menu boards, price tags and online menus.
The laws will come into effect in 2018.
Ms Rechter welcomed the legislation and congratulated the Victorian Government, in particular Health Minister Jill Hennessy, for taking leadership on such an important issue.
“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.
“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.
VicHealth’s goal is to see one million more Victorians with better health and wellbeing by 2023, including 200,000 more people adopting a healthier diet.
Samantha Dalton Acting Media Advisor P 03 9667 1319 E [email protected]