The Taoiseach has said there has been an "overreaction" to new regulations forcing pubs and restaurants to keep a 28-day record of food orders.
Food businesses reacted furiously yesterday after Fáilte Ireland published new guidelines requiring them to keep the record.
The Government today said the businesses were not required to keep individual records of what was orders by every person at a table; however, it said they must be able to prove that a substantial meal was served.
This is ridiculous. Think of the admin burden this is going to create.
How is it going to help protect public health knowing what topping was on a customer’s pizza or what way their potatoes were cooked?
Complete overreach. 1984 here we come. pic.twitter.com/oOIjd7LQbI
— LVA (@LVADublinPubs) September 3, 2020
Speaking this evening, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the Government “has no interest” in what people are eating.
“I have to say, it got misinterpreted,” he said.
“It was misrepresented completely as somehow Government trying to have an investigation or an assessment of what people are eating – that was never the cases.
“We have no interest in really finding out what people are eating. What we do have is an interest in protecting businesses that are obeying the rules and avoiding any rogue businesses that are out there.”
The new guidelines also require businesses to take contact details for one member of a party – and to note the time the group arrives.
Meanwhile, all straws to be individually wrapped and decorations on cocktail glasses to be kept to a minimum.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner said the guidelines did not represent a serious breach of people’s privacy rights.
Earlier on the show however, Fianna Fáil backbencher Marc MacSharry labelled the guidelines 'Stasi-esque' while the Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said they were “nuts” and warned that they were “open to ridicule.”
This afternoon, the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the rules were about ensuring businesses can prove that they sold customers a “substantial meal.”
“We have had some instances, a small number of instances of pubs operating as restaurants that really were not doing that at all,” he said.
“This is designed to crack down on misbehaviour by a small number of pubs operating as restaurants not to inconvenience the vast majority of pubs and restaurants.”
It is expected that, when Gardaí are empowered to enforce public health guidelines, they will be able to sanction premises for failing to keep the food record.