A new initiative between Liverpool John Moores University, the city council and NHS Primary Care Trust is being introduced in order to reduce obesity and related health problems in the area.
'Eatright Liverpool' has been designed to properly educate food preparation staff and has already enlisted 20 fast-food outlets, including Chinese and Indian takeaways, to participate.
Takeaway staff will be taught how to make a healthier menu without compromising much on taste in an attempt to cut the growing toll of obesity, heart disease and related health conditions.
This move comes after the council nutritionally analysed the contents of 300 takeaway dishes and found unbelievably high levels of salt, saturated fats and calories.
For example, a Chinese dish of beef and green peppers in blackbean sauce contained 27.6g of salt. That is almost five times an adult's recommended daily intake. A pepperoni pizza has 3,320 calories, far in excess of the advised daily maximum of 1,940 for women and 2,550 calories for men.
Although the initiative has had good responses from a lot of local takeaways,
some takeaway employees aren’t convinced.
A Bold Street takeaway worker, said: "I think the council should just shut all
takeaways. Children in England are used to this food because they don’t
know any different; it’s not the same in France. Most kids here wouldn’t have
a clue where their meal comes from."
While sceptical about the fast-food industry as a whole, he did acknowledge the potential usefulness of the plan to educate food preparations staff. He added: "We just tend to learn by doing. At present, there isn’t much we can do about the contents of the food."
The introduction of Eatright Liverpool coincides with a nationwide clamp-down on the fast-food industry. Councils across the country are stopping new takeaways from opening near schools in a bid to reduce the amount of obesity and related health issues amongst children. To help prevent the younger generations doing considerable damage to their health, councils are banning any new fast-food outlets from opening within 400 metres of schools, youth clubs and parks alike.
Waltham Forest, an East London borough, has led the way by being the first council to reject applications for takeaways in places likely to affect local children, such as schools and young people's facilities. Liverpool is among at least 15 other councils hoping to do the same.
The country-wide initiative has proved to be a popular idea amongst parents, with one Liverpool parent, Evelyn Farrelly, a nurse from Fazakerley, commenting: "I would be happier knowing that my children are eating healthier and I think that is easier to achiever when the convenience of having a takeaway so close is being removed."
By Sophie Grundy
YouTube: Report on obesity in the United Kingdom; Children are to be taught the dangers of fast-food