Restauranteurs oppose government bill to display calories on menus

RAI chief executive Adrian Cummins

Calories on menus will cost each restaurant €5,000 to implement, says Restaurants Association of Ireland



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10 February 2015

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The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) has said it is extremely concerned at the government’s proposal to introduce calorie information on menus in restaurants nationwide.

The Cabinet has approved proposals requiring food outlets to post the information at the point where the food is ordered, whether at tables or counters. Drafting legislation is expected to start immediately and should be ready for enactment by next year.

The proposed laws will require all menus, including boards, leaflets, digital menus or other forms, to display the amount of calories alongside the price in the same font size and colour.

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland has welcomed the plans as “an incredibly positive step forward in tackling…obesity”.

However chief executive of the RAI, Adrian Cummins said the introduction of calorie information on menus “will have devastating effects on the restaurant industry, costing €5,000 on businesses and will have a knock on effect in other sectors.” He urged the government to reconsider this bill in the interest of the restaurant industry and tourism.

Cummins added that such “nanny state proposals” are an unnecessary burden on the restaurant owners, as the measures would be virtually impossible to monitor.

“How does the government propose that this will be monitored? Will inspectors be paid to eat out in all of Ireland’s 22,000 food outlets and check if each menu has calorie counts on them? Any chef will tell you that menus in restaurants vary from day-to-day and therefore calorie counting would be highly inaccurate anyway.”

The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has also warned against the introduction of mandatory labelling of calories on menus in hotels and guesthouses.

IHF president Stephen McNally expressed concerns about any adoption of an indiscriminate ‘one size fits all’ approach to mandatory calorie labelling, which he said would be unworkable for hotels and guesthouses, many of whose menus change on a daily basis reflecting the use of locally sourced produce and seasonally available ingredients.



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