Restaurants are describing Government plans to introduce mandatory calorie counts on menus as “nanny-statism at its best.”
The Restaurant Association of Ireland has accused the Government of attempting to Ram through the measure with little thought on the effect it could have on the industry.
It comes after the Minister for Health launched a public consultation asking food businesses for the plan.
It notes that, with more and more people eating out, the new laws aim to “empower customers to make informed choices about the food they consume and provide the information they need to manage their calorie intake.”
In a statement, the RAI claimed it would cost the state “tens of millions of Euro” to enforce the regulations – with chefs left spending more time on paperwork than in the kitchen.
It said the Government should instead focus on making a food science subject mandatory in secondary school, while also increasing the level of nutrition education at primary level.
“Calories on their own are not a good measure of healthy menus,” it said. “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.”
The association said the Government plan will stifle small businesses that are already struggling.
It is calling on its members to “make their voices heard” and make a submission to the public consultation.