“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,” claims RAI Chief Executive Adrian Cummins.
Cabinet-approved proposals will require that food outlets post this 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 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 Bill aims to encourage people to choose healthier options and to tackle the growing problem of obesity in Ireland. But Adrian Cummins has urged the government to reconsider this Bill “In the interest of the restaurant industry and tourism”.
He reiterated that these “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?” he asked, “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.”
Calorie counts on menus have already been introduced in the US, “with disastrous results” he added, “Five out of six customers paid no attention to the information, according to a study by New York University”.