The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, TD, invites views from relevant food business operators on the introduction of mandatory calorie posting in premises selling non-packaged foods.
The consultation is on a proposal to require that calories be displayed on the menus of all food businesses including restaurants, take-aways, fast-food outlets, coffee shops, cafes, catering companies, delicatessens, and pubs where food is served.
A number of food businesses are already posting calories on their menus on a voluntary basis. This consultation includes questions directed specifically at those businesses in order to learn from their experience of adding calorie counts to their menus.
The results of this consultation will assist in the development of the draft legislation.
In its Obesity Policy and Action Plan 2016 -2025 the Government committed to the development and implementation of legislation on calorie posting as one of a series of measures aimed at addressing rates of overweight and obesity across the population. A Government Decision of March 2015 gave the Minister for Health approval to draft the General Scheme of a Bill that will provide the framework for mandatory calorie posting.
The primary purpose of the proposal, in an environment where increasing numbers are eating out and consuming take-aways and food on the go, is to ensure that calorie information is available at the point of choice for the consumer. Its objective is to empower customers to make informed choices about the food they consume and provide the information they need to manage their calorie intake.
Previous consultations in relation to aspects of this proposal were carried out in 2012 and 2015. A 2012 public consultation hosted and evaluated by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) found overwhelming consumer support for the principle of calorie posting with 95% in favour of its introduction. Consultations in 2012 and 2015 sought industry views on the technical aspects and practical implementation of calorie posting.
The timeframe for the introduction of calorie posting has yet to be determined but a substantial lead-in time will be provided following the enactment of the legislation to allow businesses to prepare. In addition, guidance will be provided to ensure that the obligations on food service businesses are clear.
Section 2 Questions for food business operators that are currently displaying calories
Section 3 Questions for all food business operators
The consultation is open until 17:00 on Friday 14 February 2020.
It will not be possible to access the online questionnaire after this time. Submissions that are received after this date will not be included in the final report.
The Department of Health will publish a report containing an analysis of the responses to this consultation.
How We Will use the Information That You Share
We will treat your information in line with data protection laws and policies when we are analysing and publishing the results of this consultation. Overall results that are given by individuals will be anonymous, that is, it will not be possible for you to be identified in the final report. All personal data will be securely stored. If you want more information on how your data is used see the Data Protection Act 2018.
Please note people can request to see the submissions we receive under the Freedom of Information Act 2014 so we may have to release submissions in response to an FOI request. This is more likely to happen for submissions from organisations. This means that they might get your answers to the questionnaire, however you don’t have to write your name on the questionnaire if you don’t want to.