RAI slams compulsory calorie counts as ‘nanny-statism at its best’

The Restaurants Association of Ireland says government proposals to introduce compulsory calorie counts on menu boards will cost tens of millions of euro to implement

Proposed legislation would see displaying calories on menus becoming mandatory for all restaurants, pubs, catering establishments and eateries

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14 January 2020 | 0

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) has spoken out against proposed new legislation, which would see displaying calories on menus becoming mandatory for all restaurants, pubs, catering establishments and eateries.

“It looks like this proposed legislation for presenting calories on menus is being rammed through by the government with little thought about the negative effects it will have,” said Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland.

Describing the proposals as “nanny-statism at its best,” the RAI chief said enforcing calorie count menus will cost the state tens of millions of euro to implement. 

According to the association, chefs will also be spending more and more time doing paperwork rather than in the kitchen, which will do nothing to make the career more appealing at a time when the industry is facing a chef shortage.

The RAI is calling for education not legislation”, with Home Economics or Food Science being made mandatory at second level, with more comprehensive food education on the primary education syllabus.

“Yet again,” said Cummins, “the government is stifling small businesses who cannot afford the administration of this. It’s unacceptable.”

Small businesses which will be affected by the legislation, can make a submission to a consultation held by Minister for Health Simon Harris, by visiting gov.ie and searching ‘Consultation with Food Businesses on the Introduction of Mandatory Calorie Posting on Menus’. The consultation will be open until 5pm on Friday, 14 February, and the Department of Health will subsequently publish a report with analysis of the responses.

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