The UK government’s nanny statist food ingredients and portion size policies are now being expanded to restaurants, cafés and pubs of all sizes.
The government plans to set sugar reduction targets, calorie caps for particular products such as chocolate bars and muffins, and push for smaller portion sizes.
If foot outlets, of any size, don’t follow the punitive guidelines they will be named and shamed – possibly on an offical government website. This comes on top of a plan announced in this year’s UK budget to introduce a “sugar tax” on soft drinks. (I have previously written for The Spectator Australia that such taxes are illiberal, ineffective and regressive.)
UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is reported to have told a private meeting of over 100 food companies that he wanted to “shine a light” on non-complying companies, The Times reported in a front page story on Friday:
“We can’t ignore the changing habits of consumers. This means we expect the whole of the out-of-home sector — coffee shops, pubs and family restaurants, quick service restaurants, takeaways, cafés, contract caterers and mass catering suppliers — to step up and deliver on sugar reduction.”
Tim Wilson first wrote on FreedomWatch about Britain’s the impending portion size regulation back in 2013. At the time these were particularly targeted at larger food manufactures. The IPA’s Chris Berg has also warned in 2012 that draconian portion size regulation was recommended by the Rudd/Gillard government’s now-abolished Preventative Health Taskforce.
The basic idea that individuals should be able to choose what they consume, and restaurants allowed to decide their own ingredients and portion sizes, appears to have been lost. Instead the UK government intends to go after family restaurants that don’t comply with their arbitrary standards.
It is apparently now the role of government to decide what we are allowed to eat, and circumstances in which we can eat it.