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Calorie labelling rules - does my business need to comply?

View profile for Paul Loughlin
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Calorie labelling rules - does my business need to comply?

From the 6th April 2022, food service companies employing 250 people or more will need to display kilocalories (KCAL) details on food and soft drink . This includes cafes, restaurants and takeaways, caterers and franchises in relation to non pre-packed food and soft drink items that are prepared for customers. This would include food without packaging, food packed on the sales premises following consumer requests and food pre-packed for direct sale.

How does the information need to be displayed?

Calorie, energy and portion size information needs to be displayed at the point of choice. This includes physical and digital menus, food ordering app and platforms and food labels. It should also display on each page and screen the daily intake recommended amount of 2000 kcal, but this would be varied on a children’s menu.

Are any businesses or scenarios exempt?

  • Smaller businesses below 250 employees (so, independent, none chain businesses) are less likely to be affected;
  • If a food item is added to a menu temporarily (i.e. for less than 30days) then information does not need to be displayed;
  • It is also not necessary to display this information for alcoholic drinks above 1.2% ABV;
  • Sauces and condiments are also not included in any count;
  • Any takeaway food that is unprocessed and not part of another dish (such as bread, fish, fruit, veg, meat and cheese) are also exempt;
  • Whilst there is a requirement to display information for all of the various options , there is no requirement If a customer requests something not on the menu

What is the accepted calculation method?

One of three methods can be used to comply:

  1. The manufacturer’s analysis of the food,
  2. A calculation from the known or average values of the ingredients used
  3. Or a calculation from generally established and accepted data.

Government guidance suggests that a tolerance of plus or minus 20% may be an acceptable margin of accuracy.

For companies using food products from other suppliers that have not been processed by the business, there is also a requirement to ensure that the supply chain is using accurate measures of calculation.

What is the penalty for not complying?

This is at the discretion of the enforcement authority. As a guide it could include the enforcement officer in the first instance speaking to the potentially non-compliant business to try and get a better understanding.

If the officer has reasonable grounds for believing that a business is non-compliant, they can  issue an improvement notice which effectively provides an opportunity to secure compliance. Failure to comply with an improvement notice constitutes an offence under the legislation for which the authority may impose civil sanctions up to a £2,500 fine. However, the authority still has the right to bring a criminal proceedings as well. Criminal proceeding are likely to be imposed after other enforcement has been considered but they can be bought instead of civil penalties and for nonpayment of fines.

If you would like advice from our team of regulatory solicitors regarding a related issue please call us on 0161 696 6250. Alternatively please submit our online enquiry form and a member of the team will contact you urgently.