Restaurants Association of Ireland hits back at proposed Calories on Menus legislation

CEO Adrian Cummins highlights negatives of government “ramming through” new legislation, “nanny-statism at its best”.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland are outraged at proposed new legislation, which would see displaying calories on menus becoming mandatory for all restaurants, pubs, catering establishments and eateries.

Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, said:

“It looks like this proposed legislation for presenting calories on menus is being rammed through by the Government with little thought about the negative effects it will have. This really is nanny-statism at its best.

Enforcing calorie count menus will cost the state tens of millions of euro to implement, money that would quite frankly be better spent elsewhere. Chefs will also be spending more and more time doing paperwork than in the kitchen, which will do nothing to make the career more appealing when we are facing a chef shortage.

The RAI are calling for Education not Legislation. We want to see Home Economics or Food Science equivalent mandatory in Second-Level and we need more comprehensive food education on the Primary education syllabus.

Calories on their own are not a good measure of healthy menus. Calories are one part of calculating a healthy diet. Calorie needs differ depending on a person’s age, gender, height, weight, and physical activity level. Restaurants by their very design are for occasions and we as an industry have confidence in our customers knowing a restaurant meal is just that, a treat!

Yet again, the government are stifling small businesses who cannot afford the administration of this. It’s unacceptable.”

The Restaurants Association of Ireland have called on their members to make their voices heard and submit a submission to The Department of Health and Minister for Health Simon Harris TD here.

Why we are against mandatory Calories on Menus

  • Enforcing calorie count menus by law will cost the state tens of millions of euro to implement. The state will have to test, and re-test food used by food service outlets to make sure it is living up to the calorie counts.
  • Chefs are spending more and more time doing paperwork than in the kitchen. Turing chefs (a creative role) into food scientists & nutritionists.
  • We are calling for Education not Legislation – want to see Home Economics or Food Science equivalent mandatory in Second Level and need more comprehensive food education on the Primary education syllabus
  • Proper nutritional information includes; total fat, calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fibre, sugars, and protein – it is simply not feasible for a restaurant to provide all the above
  • Calories on their own are not a good measure of healthy menus. Calories are one part of calculating a healthy diet.
  • Calorie needs differ depending on a person’s age, gender, height, weight, and physical activity level.
  • Restaurants by their very design are for occasions and we as an industry have confidence in our customers knowing a restaurant meal is just that, a treat!
  • We are at risk of stifling small business who cannot afford the administration of this and stifling the creativity of chefs
  • In the US, the FDA requires Calorie labelling for restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are part of a chain of 20, we would be in favour of the same in Ireland