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MP warns Health Secretary to ditch calorie labelling plans for restaurants and takeaways

May 14, 2021 9:38 AM

This afternoon, South Lakes MP Tim Farron has written to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, urging him to drop "dangerous and counter-productive" plans to introduce calorie labelling in hospitality venues.

The Department of Health and Social Care have announced that from next April, all large restaurants, cafes and takeaways will be required to display calorie information on menus and food labels.

However, the eating disorder charity BEAT has warned that the move would be "dangerous" for people living with eating disorders.

In a letter to the Secretary of State, Tim said: "While I acknowledge that this move comes with the best of intentions, I am deeply concerned about the significant impact it will have on people living with an eating disorder.

"Of course it's really important that in the fight against the obesity crisis in this country we equip people with as much information as possible to make better informed choices. However there are serious risks here in people becoming fixated with calorie numbers in a very unhealthy way which can lead to mental health problems.

"Eating at restaurants can already be highly anxiety provoking for people with eating disorders, and this move threatens to make things even worse.

"Creating a culture of shaming people for what they eat will not help us tackle obesity, but instead drive more and more people into having eating disorders, and exacerbate the problems for those who are already diagnosed.

"I therefore urge you to listen to what eating disorder charities such as BEAT, campaigners and specialists are telling you and drop these extremely dangerous and counter-productive plans."