At a time when restaurants are trying to create new jobs as well as save existing ones, extra costs don’t need to be placed on them, it states.
“How does the Department of Health suggest that we pay for this without having to pass on that cost to employees, reduce their hours or cut staff?” asked the Association, “It’s not easy for a business to cough up €5,000 in the morning. The banks aren’t lending us any money.”
The New MenuCAL Calculator requires chefs to manually input data for each dish. It’s estimated that this will take each chef on average five hours per week – 20 hours per month – to complete a 40-item monthly menu.
The RAI is also concerned that the data provided by the MenuCal Calculator may be in breach the Consumer Protection Act 2007.
The Association’s Chief Executive Adrian Cummins reiterated that the proposals were “total nonsense” and pointed out how it would also be an unnecessary burden on restaurants as the measures would be virtually impossible to monitor.
“Will civil servants/health officers be paid to eat out in all of Ireland’s 22,000 food outlets and check if each menu has calorie counts on them?” he asked, “Any chef will tell you that menus in restaurants vary from day-to-day and therefore calorie-counting would be highly inaccurate anyway. It’s difficult to calculate hand-crafted dishes correctly.”
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, he pointed out.