CALORIES ON MENUS ‘UNWORKABLE’

Restaurant Proprietors Conor Mee & Charlotte Carr  Photo: Courthouse Restaurant/Pat Byrne

Restaurant Proprietors Conor Mee & Charlotte Carr Photo: Courthouse Restaurant/Pat Byrne

Calorie Information on Menus Will Not Work: Local chef and proprietor of the award-winning Courthouse Restaurant in Carrickmacross, Conor Mee, says he believes the government proposal to introduce calorie information on menus will not work. He told the Northern Standard the measures outlined in the Heads of a Bill designed to help tackle the problem of obesity would be unpoliceable. The Cabinet has approved proposals requiring all food outlets to post the information at the point where the food is ordered, whether at tables or counters. Drafting of legislation is expected to start immediately and should be ready for enactment by next year.

Adrian Cummins, CEO RAI  Photo:  ITIC Ireland

Adrian Cummins, CEO RAI Photo: ITIC Ireland

Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins, said the introduction of calorie information on menus would have devastating effects on the restaurant industry, costing €5,000 on businesses and would have a knock-on effect in other sectors. The aim of this Bill is to encourage people to choose healthier options and to tackle the growing problem of obesity in Ireland. Mr. Cummins also commented, ‘I urge the government to reconsider this Bill in the interest of the restaurant industry and tourism’.

Mr Cummins reiterated that the ‘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 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 RAI represents the interests of its members and lobbies government on various issues.

Calorie counts on menus have already been introduced in the United States, with disastrous results. Five out of six customers paid no attention to the information, according to a study by New York University.

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