South Australia introduces kilojoules on menus

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 7th March 2011

HamburgerSA Health Minister John Hill has announced moves to require all major fast food retailers in South Australia to display kilojoule information on their menu boards, websites, leaflets and menus.

The new regulations (under the Food Act 2001) would require food chains with 20 or more stores in SA, or 50 or more stores nationally, to state the kilojoule content of each item clearly and legibly alongside the price of the product, as well as prominently featuring the average adult daily energy intake of 8700kj, and

Any outlet failing to provide the information as required could be fined and, if successfully prosecuted, named on the Department of Health website.

Minister Hill said the new rules would level the playing field for traditional fast food outlets as well as the larger chains of cafés and coffee shops, bakeries, juice bars and ice cream parlours.

“We all want to eat healthily and feed our families food that is nutritious as well as affordable – but sometimes it’s hard to know what the best choice is.

“Nearly half of the meals served commercially are in the fast food sector and this food is often high in fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt and can be sold in very large portions.

“I don’t want to tell people what to eat or not eat, but I do want them to have access to information about the food they buy so they can make their own decisions.

According to self-reported data from 2008-09, 58 percent of adults and 22 percent of children aged 5-17 years in SA are either overweight or obese.

“We will consult on the detail of these regulations before they are introduced in January next year.

In 2007, approximately 1.64 billion fast food or takeaways were served by nearly 17,000 outlets in Australia, making up 44 percent of all meals served in the commercial food service sector. In 2009-10, Australians spent $14.56 billion on takeaways and this is expected to increase to $16.83 billion by 2014-15.

“New South Wales has introduced similar regulations and this will bring us into line with them and hopefully encourage other states and territories to follow suit,” said Hill.