Cancer Council will today count up the alarming kilojoules in popular fast food meals and on-the-go snacks, as compulsory menu labelling is mandated in Queensland from tomorrow.
The energy content of food and drink must be displayed on fast food and snack chain in-store menus, online ordering websites, apps and takeaway menus delivered to homes from 24 March.
Fast food and snack chains must display the average energy content of each standard food item for sale, along with the statement ‘the average adult daily energy intake is 8700 kJ’.
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Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said takeaway chains with at least 20 outlets in Queensland or 50 outlets nationally had to comply with the legislation. “Many Queenslanders simply aren’t aware of how many kilojoules are in some fast food meals or everyday snacks,” Ms McMillan said.
“One large BBQ meatlovers pizza alone contains 8817 kilojoules – more than the recommended average adult daily energy intake of 8700 kilojoules. A standard beef burger and side of fries has up to 3500 kilojoules – almost half the daily energy intake. An everyday snack like a latte and chocolate caramel muffin can quickly clock up 3180 kilojoules. Even the odd treat can be deceiving – one scoop of cookies and cream ice-cream can contain around 800 kilojoules – about 10 per cent of the recommended daily energy intake.
“It’s crucial that Queenslanders are aware of how many kilojoules they consume, in order to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of being overweight or obese.”
Research shows not enough Queenslanders are offsetting extra kilojoules from unhealthy food and drink choices with adequate exercise.
“Queenslanders might be surprised that burning off a medium caramel frappe could take 122 minutes of walking or 30 minutes of running,” Ms McMillan said. “A small tub of mixed berry yoghurt could take 25 minutes of running to burn off, and a regular hot chips could take more than 90 minutes of walking.
“Regular exercise and a healthy diet is key to maintaining health and happiness – we need to do all we can to ensure this is as easy as possible for all Queenslanders. We commend the Queensland Government for making a positive move on menu labelling and hope that the scheme will improve community awareness and healthy eating behaviours.”
More information about the kilojoule menu labelling laws is available at health.qld.gov.au.