'Traffic light' menus to fight obesity

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 8, 2008 - 14:06

London, April 08: Restaurants in Britain may soon be forced to introduce a ‘traffic light’ system to guide diners choose healthy dishes in efforts by the government to fight the obesity epidemic in the country.

The system of ‘traffic light’ labelling would provide diners menu with choice of green, amber and red circles to guide them to the healthiest food in the restaurants.

A green circle would show food is safe and advisable to eat, while amber foods should be eaten in moderation. The unhealthiest food would carry a red circle warning of high fat, sugar and salt content and eaten only occasionally.

According to a newspaper, the Food Standards Agency has already held talks with some restaurant chains on the traffic light system.

An unnamed Department of Health spokesman was quoted as saying by the daily that it was considering the plan "in the future as part of a healthy food code of good practice".

Ministers are stepping up their anti-obesity campaign by considering a radical extension of the system to restaurant chains to persuade people to choose a healthier diet, the report said.

Two-thirds of adults and a third of 10-year-olds are classed as overweight or obese.

The Department of Health is actively considering the scheme similar to the one set to be operationalised in New York this month that will make it mandatory for all restaurants and fast food outlets to list calorie content next to their food.

According to the report, McDonald's, which is affected by the New York law, was discussing introducing some guidelines in the UK.

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First Published: Tuesday, April 8, 2008 - 14:06

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