Portion sizes for fish and chips, pizzas and other takeaways could shrink by up to a fifth under fresh proposals to battle obesity.
Public Health England is asking the food industry to cut the calorie content of a large range of products by 2024.
Officials believe the rise in popularity of takeaways, deliveries and food on-the-go is one of the driving factors behind the nation’s obesity crisis.
Portion sizes for fish and chips, pizzas and other takeaways could shrink by up to a fifth under fresh proposals to battle obesity
They want the fat, sugar and salt levels slashed in many fast foods, ready meals, crisps and sandwiches.
Ready meals could be capped at 570 calories and sandwiches at 580 calories.
Some bacon and egg sandwiches contain over 750 calories while a Big Mac meal of burger, fries and soft drink contains more than 1,000 calories.
Health bosses have suggested a 10 per cent calorie reduction in children’s ‘food bundles’, ready meals, chips and garlic bread, and a 20 per cent calorie reduction in pizzas and pastry products.
But they stressed that portion sizes should not be reduced so far that it encourages people to buy two products instead of one.
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist for PHE, said the guidelines aimed to help consumers make healthier choices.
She said: ‘Eating food and drink that’s higher in calories than people realise is one of the reasons why many of us are either overweight or obese.’
But Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, accused the Government of ‘beginning to sound like a scratchy record’.
Public Health England is asking the food industry to cut the calorie content of a large range of products by 2024
He said ‘bold action’ to enforce calorie limits was vital, warning that voluntary reduction programmes had failed in the past.
John Maingay, of the British Heart Foundation, said the guidelines ‘should be an absolute minimum’.
‘The Government must also start to consider tougher action, such as fines or sanctions, if the food industry does not make the changes that are needed,’ he said.