01.Kilojoules on the menu
Among other measures to combat obesity, the federal government’s new Preventative Health Taskforce is considering whether restaurants and fast food chains should display the number of calories/kilojoules alongside each item on the menu. But compared with other countries, Australia has already fallen well behind in this trend.
In the UK, Burger King (Hungry Jacks), KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway and the Harvester restaurant chain already display the number of calories/kilojoules on the menu board above the counter or printed on the menu alongside the items. They’re part of a voluntary scheme being promoted by the UK government’s food regulator, the Food Standards Agency.
In the US, Massachesetts has enacted legislation that will require fast food and other chain restaurants from November 2010 to display the number of calories for each menu item; California has adopted similar laws to take effect from 2011. Congress is considering legislation along the much the same lines that would be enforced nationally. KFC, Pizza Hut and Subway already display calories on their menu boards.
CHOICE asked Hungry Jacks, McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut and Subway if they’re considering displaying calories/kilojoules on their menu boards here. Unanimously, and disappointingly, they have no plans to be this upfront. All the fast food chains now have nutritional information available on their websites, and some provide leaflets with this information, but this isn’t much use when you’re standing in the queue deciding what to order.