Energy content joins fast food menus in Queensland

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 5th December 2011

The State of Queensland has announced plans to introduce new legislation requiring fast food outlets to display the energy content of foods and drinks on their menus – a move which has already been voluntarily pre-empted by several of Australia’s major fast food chains.

Several major quick service food chains in Australia now voluntarily display energy contents on their menus, including SubwayHungry JacksDomino’s, and McDonald’s.

Similar to laws are already in place in NSW and the ACT. A number of State governments in Australia, including Victoria and South Australia, have previously announced an intention for disclosure of nutritional information at the point of sale in fast food chain restaurants.

Queensland Health Minister Geoff Wilson said the Queensland Government will consult and work with jurisdictions and industry to develop the legislation.

Minister Wilson said the move followed recommendations from the Blewett report. He said, “We’ll be targeting those outlets where we can have the most impact – larger chains and outlets with a larger number of stores, as is the case is NSW and the ACT.

“We’ll be basing our legislation on what is in place elsewhere, but we’ll need to ensure that any final decisions are made based on Queensland’s particular needs.”

Minister Wilson said that about one in every three Queensland adults is overweight and around one in five is obese. If current trends continue, it is expected that about two thirds of Queensland adults will be overweight or obese by 2020.

The CEO of the National Heart Foundation Australia Cameron Prout welcomed the move. Mr Prout said, “More than four million Australians buy meals at fast food or snack food outlets every day. We need these kind of innovative laws to counteract the consequences of overweight and obesity in our community – it is now the leading cause of premature death and disability in Queensland.”