McDonald’s introduces calorie count to UK menus and Australia to follow

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 6th September 2011

McDonald’s UK is the latest multinational chain to display the calorific content of items on its UK menus. Australian Food News can reveal that McDonald’s Australia plans to follow suit by displaying the kilojoule content of items on its restaurant menus across Australia later this year.

McDonald’s UK is supporting a UK government initiative to tackle obesity by introducing calorific content information to its UK restaurant menus. Others supporting the UK initiative include KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks.

A spokesperson for the UK Government’s Department of Health said, “Research shows that calorie labelling makes people more aware of the energy content of their foods and does influence people’s choices. So with McDonald’s serving three million meals every day in 1,200 restaurants, this will have a huge effect on the high street and will help people to make healthier choices when they are eating out.”

Jill McDonald, CEO and President of McDonald’s UK said, “This move supports the principles we believe are important: giving our customers clear information to help them make decisions that are right for them and provide a choice on our menu.”

Back in July, Australian Food News reported on a similar initiative taking place in New York, where new calorie labelling laws were recently introduced.

Australian position

McDonald’s Australia spokesperson Skye Oxenham told Australian Food News, “We are planning on rolling out a similar scheme later this year using kilojoules instead of calories. No dates have been confirmed.”

In Australia, various moves are being made to encourage disclosure of energy values of food sold in chain restaurants.

Joe Lederman, managing principal of food law specialists FoodLegal points out that a number of State governments in Australia have announced an intention for disclosure of nutritional information at the point of sale in fast food chain restaurants.

Mr Lederman said, “In December 2010, the Australia and New Zealand Food, Regulation Ministerial Council announced its intention to develop recommendations on a national approach for the disclosure of the nutritional content of foods purchased from fast food outlets.”

Mr Lederman also pointed out that the Blewett Review of Food Labelling, released in late January 2011, also recommended that chain food service outlets across Australia be encouraged to display a multiple traffic lights system on menus and menu boards.