Licensees claim displaying calories on menus 'impossible'

By Emily Sutherland

- Last updated on GMT

Pub staff are ideally placed to warn customers about unhealthy lifestyles according to the RSPH
Pub staff are ideally placed to warn customers about unhealthy lifestyles according to the RSPH

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Calls for pubs to list the calorie content of food on their menus have been branded ‘impossible’ by licensees.

The Local Government Association urged pubs, restaurants and cinemas to do more to fight obesity and said the industry needs to go ‘farther and faster’ to tell customers exactly what they’re eating.

However, licensees described the idea as ‘terrible’ and pointed to the difficulties it could cause for small businesses.

Pub head chef and licensee Robert Allcock, who runs The Long Arms in South Wraxhall, Wiltshire said: “It would be impossible for small businesses like ourselves, who change the menu twice a day but only have 1 chef. It’s not reasonable or practical.”

He added: “How on earth would a chef who was not also a nutritionist go about doing this-it’s a terrible idea.”

The team at the Harlequin in Sheffield vented their anger on Twitter, writing: “We wouldn’t do it-it’s too much for a regularly changing menu and it would need very tightly controlled portions. Besides, calorie counts can be misleading.”

Caroline Benjamin, founder of Food Allergy Aware added: “Pubs to count calories? Many can’t get allergy information correct or freely available and this is the law.”

Pub and restaurant staff could play a vital role in supporting efforts to improve the public’s health according to the Royal Society for Public Health. The charity thinks kitchen, bar and waiting staff could help people to see the dangers of excessive drinking and an unhealthy diet.

Shirley Cramer RSPH’s chief executive said: “Many of these occupations enjoy trusted relationships with the public and have golden opportunities to reinforce and support conversations about lifestyle health issues in a sensitive and non-judgemental fashion.”

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