Calorie Posting On Menus Part of Obesity Crisis Solution – Noone
Senator Catherine Noone has today welcomed the announcement that the Government has approved Heads of Bill for calorie posting on menus. Speaking on the issue, Senator Noone said: “This is a positive step: this brings about transparency in relation to the food we eat and allows people to make positive, healthy choices in their own lives”.
Senator Noone added: “The new laws will require restaurants, take-aways and food service outlets to post the information alongside the price for all items offered on menus, at the point where the food is ordered, whether at tables or counters”.
Senator Noone continued: “The Government has also listened to industry concerns about extra costs. That’s why the Food Safety Authority of Ireland has developed an online calorie counting model known as MenuCal, which allows food providers to calculate the calorie content of a meal. It’s a user-friendly app and it’s free of charge – this should take the cost element away and allow a reasonable approximation of a calorie count without too much bureaucracy or cost”.
Senator Noone went on to say: “This kind of small “nudge” towards bringing about a positive change in eating habits of people can, cumulatively, have a major impact on the obesity crisis. After all, who can – hand on heart – say they know how many calories they consume a day with certainty? Very few. People often underestimate calories by a factor of 100s, and surveying shows this time and time again.
Senator Noone concluded: “The voluntary approach clearly doesn’t work: in 2011, the Department of Health wrote to a range of fast food restaurants requesting that they display calories on menus on a voluntary basis. A number of outlets – including McDonalds and Starbucks – went ahead and did this and I don’t think it created a huge burden for them, but it’s important to note only 8% of fast food outlets complied. We also know from public consultation that 95% of the public want this. This move is urgently needed as the obesity crisis continues to grow”.