Pubs urged to make responsibility pledges

By John Harrington, M&C Report

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Responsibility deal Health Alcoholic beverage Nutrition

Unit information: one of the pledges
Unit information: one of the pledges
Pub operators have been asked to make three specific commitments on responsible retailing — including providing alcohol unit information at point...

Pub operators have been asked to make three specific commitments on responsible retailing — including providing alcohol unit information at point of sale — for the Government's responsibility deal with the industry.

The Government also wants pubs to commit to include calorie labelling on food and soft drinks by 1 September this year, reduce salt levels in food by 15% by the end of 2012, and promote a more healthy lifestyle among their staff.

The Department of Health (DoH), which is spearheading the voluntary responsibility deal with the licensed trade, has written to the Association of Licensed

Multiple Retailers (ALMR), asking if members want to sign up before the official launch date.

Although the commitments are voluntary, the industry could ultimately face sanctions if they are not taken seriously.

In a statement to members, the ALMR said: "Ministers have made clear that signing up to the deal will

be taken into account in considering new legislation in these areas.

"This could help fend off further calls for action from the health lobby."

The three specific pledges on responsible drinking, which pubs are asked to sign up to, are:

• Under-age sales. A commitment to reduce or prevent under-age sales, primarily via Challenge 21. The ALMR said: "This should be an easy commitment for most companies and is simply recording existing best practice."

• Unit awareness. Pubs are asked to provide the unit content of drinks at point of sale. The British Beer & Pub Association is already piloting a project to provide information via means such as beer mats and pumpclips.

• Support for "community alcohol initiatives" such as Best Bar None, pubwatch, and business improvement districts.

The commitments on calorie counts and salt are included in separate pledges on a healthy diet. The DoH has outlined details of how these would work in practice for pubs and restaurants.

For example, for branded pre-packed products such as crisps, the responsibility for calorie counts would rest with the brand owner.

One-off meals and daily specials could be exempt under the pledge, which only relates to "standardised" food and drink menus — these are defined as items offered for 30 days or more every year.

Other pledges include

promoting physical activity in the workplace and encouraging a healthier workforce by, for example, encouraging healthier options to be included in staff meals.

A copy of the deal and pledge sheet are available at​.

A DoH spokeswoman said there is currently no release date for the responsibility deal, which is being devised by a committee of industry figures and health bodies.

Related topics Legislation Other operators

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