Government ditches menu calorie counts after just five months
Government ministers have ordered an official review of its anti-obesity strategy, five months after its introduction
In April calorie labelling on menus became a legal requirement for restaurant groups employing over 250 staff in the UK, but now the government could be looking to drop them altogether.
Under the orders of the Treasury, government ministers have ordered an official review of its anti-obesity strategy. As a result, menu calorie counts could now be scrapped as part of a ‘drive to cut red tape’, reports The Guardian.
First introduced on April 6, new rules currently require larger hospitality businesses to display calorie counts ‘clearly and prominently’ along with the statement ‘adults need around 2000kcal a day’.
But now a new review, described by Whitehall sources as “deregulatory in focus”, could see the policy ditched entirely, meaning many cafes, takeaways and restaurants thart have invested in printing new menus will now likely find them redundant.
When calorie labelling came into force, it was widely criticised by eating disorder charities, restauranteurs, chefs and food critics alike.
Then Public Health Minister Jo Churchill, said at the time: “Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for people to make healthier food choices for themselves and their families, both in restaurants and at home. That is why we want to make sure everyone has access to accurate information about the food and drink we order.
“These measures form an important building block in our strategy to support and encourage people in achieving and maintaining a healthier weight.”
Masterchef winner Simon Wood, who has a restaurant on First Street, appeared on TV the morning the legislation was introduced to speak out against it.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, the Oldham-based chef said that although the rules didn’t currently apply to him, he wouldn’t consider following suit unless forced.
He told viewers: “Sometimes given the current situation with hospitality and the supply chain things aren’t there, you have to adapt your menu on the fly, what are you going to do? Rewrite it every day?
“What if things don’t turn up? What if you’re making a sauce and you need four bottles of wine but you’ve only got two?
“What if someone adds too much salt, sodium, things like that that aren’t considered in calories, I think there’s a bigger approach to what people should be looking at than just a number.”
A week later, Manchester restaurant Dishoom made headlines for scribbling calories off its menu at a customer’s request. Soon after, it added a calorie free option.
Many others have since followed suit, suggesting the move to ditch calorie labelling could prove popular with business owners.
Read more: ‘Until I’m forced to do it, I wouldn’t’ says Simon Wood as calorie counts added to UK menus
However, the review may also look to ditch the 2018 sugar tax, a measure hailed by experts for helping to make soft drinks less unhealthy.
It is also likely to reverse bans on displaying sugary products at checkouts and multi-buy deals, as well as scrap restrictions on advertising before the 9pm watershed.
Health officials are said to be ‘aghast’ at the idea that the new Prime Minister could potentially scrap the new anti-obesity strategies, which were agreed upon and approved by parliament just this year.
The Obesity Health Alliance, a grouping of 50 health charities and medical organisations, has described it as “a kick in the teeth”.
“We are deeply concerned. It would be reckless to waste government and business time and money rowing back on these obesity policies, which are evidence-based and already in law. These policies are popular with the public, who want it to be easier to make healthier choices,” Katharine Jenner, the alliance’s director, told The Guardian.
Read more: Manchester restaurant Dishoom scribbles calories off menu at customer’s request
There has also been criticism of the move from within the Conservative party, with one Tory peer telling the paper: “Improving the nation’s health is one of the best ways we can increase productivity and workforce capacity and thereby drive growth. So I would be very surprised by any decisions that actually strive to make the UK less healthy.”
Liz Truss said in a recent newspaper interview: “Those taxes are over.
“Talking about whether or not somebody should buy a two-for-one offer? No. There is definitely enough of that.”
She added Brits “don’t want the government telling them what to eat”.
Feature image – Dishoom
Body found at Bolton restaurant and suspected cannabis farm days after fire
A body has been found at the site of a fire in Bolton, days after a blaze ripped through a restaurant.
It’s believed that the fire started on the first floor of the property, with early inquiries suggesting it may have been used as a cannabis farm.
Human remains were found at the premises on Bolton Road in Farnworth.
A criminal investigation is now underway and Greater Manchester Police are appealing for information and footage relating to the incident.
Emergency services had first been called to the area at around 1pm on Monday 27 November, to reports of a fire.
Earlier today, Saturday 2 December, a body was found during a search of the restaurant building, days after the fire.
Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Naismith of GMP Major Incident Team said: “Work is ongoing to identify the deceased and we are committed to ensuring the potential family members are fully supported and informed of updates in this investigation.
“The loss of life is a tragedy and I understand the upset this news will cause in the local community. I can assure you on behalf of the investigation team that we are determined to get to the bottom of what has occurred and establish the circumstances surrounding the fire.
“I can confirm this fire is being treated as suspicious and if there is any criminal responsibility, it will be brought to light and dealt with appropriately. We are particularly interested to hear from anyone who knows how this building was being used in the lead up to 27 November 2023.
“I would also like to appeal to anyone with information about the fire itself – including if you have any footage (such as CCTV, mobile or dashcam) – to contact GMP’s Major Incident Team.”
You can make a report by calling 0161 856 1995 quoting log number 1485 of 27/11/2023 or via the reporting function on GMP’s website: www.gmp.police.uk
Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Featured image: Google Maps
Tameside police officers hailed ‘absolute heroes’ after saving the life of a seven-year-old girl
Two Tameside police officers have been hailed as “absolute heroes” after saving the life of a seven-year-old little girl.
It comes after emergency services were called to an address in the Greater Manchester borough of Tameside earlier this week (29 November), and found a young girl who was struggling to breath and coughing up blood after choking on a sweet.
Police Constables Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell, from Greater Manchester Police‘s (GMP) Tameside division, were first on the scene.
To the huge relief of the girl’s parents, who were said to be “understandably distressed” and concerned for her welfare, PC Kincaid jumped straight into action and was able to utilise his first aid training to full effect by going on to successfully dislodge the sweet from the youngster’s throat, and then helping to calm her down before the paramedics arrived.
Whilst PC Kincaid looked after the little girl, PC Blundell did “everything he could” to help the parents remain calm.
Paramedics then took over once they arrived, and the young girl was taken to hospital as a precaution.
Reflecting on the incident, and hailing his officers “absolute heroes”, Superintendent Mike Walsh, from GMP’s Tameside district, said: “PCs Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell acted without hesitation during the incident, and took control of the situation that they were faced with.
“They deserve every credit for staying calm under extreme pressure and for working together as a team and utilising their training to lifesaving effect, and I’m sure the girl’s parents and family will consider them to be absolute heroes.”
“We’re both glad that we were in the right place at the right time,” PC Kincaid added.
“I have a daughter the same age as the little girl who needed our help, and I cannot tell you how much of a relief it was when she started breathing normally and said she was okay after I had managed to dislodge the sweet.
“I remember saying, ‘Thank God for that’.
“The little girl gave me a thank you hug before she went to hospital, but I couldn’t have done what I did without PC Blundell’s assistance, so it was a real team effort.”
Featured Image – GMP