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Review Calorie Labelling, Scottish Government Urged

The possible harm of showing calorie counts on food menus could outweigh the benefits, according to study by Public Health Scotland.

The report warns that people recovering from a range of eating disorders find calorie labelling “triggering”.

The Scottish government has been consulting on whether hospitality establishments must display calorie levels.

Campaign groups, including Obesity Action Scotland, argue they would help people make healthier choices.
However, there are fears that the move could heighten the risk of relapse in people who have experienced eating disorders in the past.

Leon Thompson, Executive Director of UKHospitality Scotland, said:
“Understanding how calorie labelling impacts people with lived experiences of eating disorders is important in this debate and I commend Public Health Scotland for carrying out this research.

“Its findings suggest that calorie labelling can have negative consequences for people dealing with, or having dealt with, eating disorders.

“The research recognises that hospitality can help people with their recovery by allowing them to enjoy the experience and socialising with family and friends. That’s the power of hospitality and these benefits must be recognised when legislation like this is being discussed.

“The Scottish Government must now factor in these findings, alongside wider business concerns, and reconsider its proposals to introduce mandatory calorie labelling.

“We look forward to discussing these findings and the broader concerns of our members with the Scottish Government to make the case for scrapping this harmful and unnecessary move.”