Department of Health Target Restaurant Owners with Proposed Calories on Menus Legislation

Restaurants Association of Ireland Accuse Department of Health of Gerrymandering Survey

• Calorie counts on menus will have a devastating impact, costing restaurants an extra €5000 per annum.
• Risk of job losses if legislation goes ahead.
• Dining out does not cause obesity.
• Calorie counting will stifle creativity in the kitchen.

27th October 2015

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) have encouraged all of their members to complete the survey issued by the Department of Health on the legislation for the introduction of mandatory posting of calories on menus. The RAI have also expressed concerns at the way in which the survey has been formatted. The deadline for completion of the survey is tomorrow, 28th October.
Chief Executive of the RAI commented, “The survey issued by the Department of Health is biased. There are no options only to agree that calories should be on menus. Our members are outraged and insulted by this questionnaire.”

Introducing new legislation forcing restaurants to display calorie counts on their menus will cost the industry €110 million and thousands of jobs, say the Restaurants Association of Ireland. The RAI believe that education is key to tackling the obesity problem in Ireland.

Any proposed legislation requiring restaurants to have calories on menus will cost each restaurant an estimated €5,000 per year. At a time when restaurants are trying to create new jobs as well as saving existing ones, extra costs don’t need to be placed on them.

Adrian Cummins commented, “In December 2014, Allergens on Menus were brought in. Feedback from our members is that it takes an additional 4-5 hours each week to prepare this information and now the Government want to enact calorie on menu legislation adding more hours and costs to the restaurant.  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? It’s not easy for a business to cough up €5,000 in the morning. The banks aren’t lending us any money.”

Mr. Cummins reiterated that the proposals were total nonsense, and pointed out how it would also be an unnecessary burden on the taxpayer, as the measures would be virtually impossible to monitor. “How does the government propose that this will be monitored? Will civil servants 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. It’s difficult to calculate hand-crafted dishes correctly.”

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.


For further information contact:

Adrian Cummins,
Chief Executive,
Restaurants Association of Ireland,
11 Bridge Court, Citygate,
St. Augustine Street, Dublin 8.

Mobile: +353 86 8263311
Telephone: +353 1 6779901
Fax: +353 1 6718414
Twitter: @rai_ie

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