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Restaurants to include calorie counts on menus

Restaurants are to include calories on their menus and food manufacturers will cut salt levels and remove all artificial trans fats in their products, under a deal brokered by the Government.

Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, has written formally to all members of the Food Network, which includes McDonald's, PepsiCo, Kellogg's and Unilever, to ask for a written commitment to make the changes following initial discussions.

The Food Network is one of five "responsibility deals" where the Government has teamed up with business to develop policies. The aim is to achieve changes without the time, effort, and expense involved in legislation. Restaurants, takeaways, cafés, pubs and sandwich shops would sign up to put calorie labelling on their eat-in and takeaway menus from September this year.

Many businesses include nutritional information on their websites but Mr Lansley wants to see it on the menu in front of consumers when they are making their choices.

New targets to reduce salt content across a wide range of foods by 2012 are to be set to help to cut salt intake to the recommended 6g per day. Artificial trans fats would be removed by the end of 2011.