Information is now available for families to make healthier food choices, with new kilojoule labelling laws coming into effect this week.
From 1 May, large Victorian fast food and supermarket chains are required to display the kilojoule content of ready-to-eat food and drinks, along with the average adult daily energy intake of 8,700 kilojoules.
With Victoria’s Food Amendment (Kilojoule Labelling Scheme and Other Matters) Act 2017 coming into effect on 1 May the Department of Health and Human Services is running a complementary consumer education campaign “Kilojoules on the menu: check before you choose.”
The average Australian eats out more than four times a week, and almost half these meals have too many kilojoules – items like burgers, chips, pizzas, smoothies and bakery items. Even some salads may be surprisingly high in kilojoules.
One take-away meal may contain more than half of an adult’s daily kilojoule intake – so many people are eating far too much without realising it. A beef burger with chips and a soft drink could contain around 5,000 kilojoules. It would take the average person more than four hours of walking to burn that much energy.
The new laws ensure consumers can compare the kilojoule content of food and drinks on offer and help them make more informed decisions when eating out and taking food away to eat at home or on the go.
Being overweight and obese increases the risk of many chronic and potentially lethal diseases. Data shows about two thirds of Victorian adults and a quarter of kids are overweight or obese – and those rates are rising. Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer, costing Victoria $14.4 billion each year.
Victorians will see kilojoule labelling on menus in large food chains with 20 or more outlets in Victoria, or 50 outlets nationally with at least one in the state – around 2,500 outlets in Victoria will be subject to the laws.
The kilojoule content of food will also be on the tags of ready-to-eat food in more than 550 supermarkets across the State.
Food businesses and local councils wanting more information on the labelling laws, including a User Guide, click here