Calories on menus will cost €20,000 a year
A bill forcing all Irish food outlets to print the calorie content of their food on menus could cost convenience retailers and restaurants up to €20,000 a year.
Tara Buckley, RGDATA’s director general, said the cost to independents could be huge, while menus would require constant monitoring, modification, and calculation.
A consultation on the plan is due to conclude on October 28, with the plan expected to be enacted in early 2016.
The consultation involves an online questionnaire on the FSAI’s website, and the proposed legislation will apply to food businesses regardless of size, type of food sold, type of ownership or location.
All menus, including boards, leaflets, and digital menus will be forced to display calorie details alongside the price in the same font size and colour.
Calorie amounts will be displayed in Kcal (Kilo calories) and KJ (Kilo Joules).
However, retailers and restaurants alike have complained the rules will be complex to implement, require the hiring of professional nutritionists, and hamper chefs.
The Food Standards Authority Ireland has launched an online tool, MenuCal, to help retailers with calorie counting, and it can be found on menucal.fsai.ie.
The Department of Health said it is looking for opinions on optional measures, such as calorie information at self-service buffets, specials on sale less than 30 days of the year, loose fillings and foods used in sandwiches and delis, and food designed for sharing.
The Restaurateurs Association Ireland said it was also opposed to the plans, believing high-end hotels could be looking at costs of €35,000 upwards.