McDonald’s has changed its new digital menu boards across Australia to comply with New South Wales kilojoule (energy) labelling laws, after its new boards in NSW were found to be breaching labelling laws by not showing how many kilojoules are in each item.

The fast food giant recently introduced new animated, digital menu displays to 700 stores that also made customers wait for up to a minute to view kilojoule information.

McDonald’s spokesman Chris Grant said on Monday that it had proactively made some changes to its new menu boards in consultation with the NSW Food Authority.

NSW food laws require larger fast food and snack food chains (‘standard food outlets’) that have 20 more locations in NSW (or 50 or more locations nationally) to display nutrition information at the point of sale.

While convenience stores and service stations are exempt from the requirements, they include quick service restaurants, coffee, bakery and supermarket chains. Standard food items are defined as being:

  • ready-to-eat foods (not pre-packaged),
  • sold in single or multiple serves that are standardised for portion size and content, and
  • shown on a menu (printed or electronic) or displayed with a price or label.

The requirements came into effect on 1 February, 2011. Quick service businesses had to comply before penalties came into force on 1 February, 2012, while supermarkets had to display the nutrition information from 1 February, 2013.

The Obesity Policy Coalition pushed in 2014 for Victoria to commit to mandatory kilojoule labelling on chain fast food outlet menus, with similar schemes already in place in NSW, the ACT and South Australia.

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