Consumers are set to benefit from new laws making it mandatory for food retailers to display the kilojoule contents of food and drinks on store menus.
The laws, passed by Queensland Parliament on Tuesday, will apply to fast-food chains, bakery chains, café chains and supermarkets with at least 20 outlets in Queensland or 50 outlets nationwide.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson, Nicole Border, said the labelling scheme would help consumers make healthier choices.
“Menu labelling is an important strategy to promote the health and wellbeing of Queenslanders,” Ms Border said.
“Menu labelling will allow Queenslanders to choose healthier foods and avoid unhealthier options that increase the risk of obesity and cancer.
“Queenslanders will now be able to easily compare different products and make healthier choices.
“Effective kilojoule labelling has the potential to reduce consumers’ intake of kilojoules, saturated fat, sugars and sodium – leading to reductions in obesity rates and a range of chronic diseases.
“Rolling out the menu labelling system at a state level will ensure Queenslanders have the best possible chance of choosing healthy foods for their entire family.”
Eating a poor diet can lead to overweight or obesity and increase the risk of a range of chronic diseases, including some cancers.
Queensland has the highest rate of adult obesity in Australia – 10 per cent higher than the national rate – and about one-third of all Queensland adults eat takeaway food at least once a week.
“Around 65 per cent of Queensland adults and 27 per cent of Queensland children are overweight or obese,” Ms Border said.
“The good news is, up to one-third of all cancers and a range of other chronic diseases are preventable through lifestyle changes including eating healthily and maintaining a healthy weight.
“Menu labelling will help Queenslanders to stay healthy and we congratulate the Queensland Government for its action.”