Ireland will see a decline in Michelin star restaurants if the government introduces a "draconian regime" of mandatory calorie information on menus, according to chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI), Adrian Cummins.
The Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, launched the ten-year obesity policy and action plan last week, saying: "Government can and must help to empower people make these healthy choices. We have a responsibility to influence the environment and conditions which help people to have their desired quality of life."
Despite minister Leo Varadkar previously claiming that "95 per cent of consumers in Ireland want the calorie count of meals displayed on menus", there has been much disapproval from industry voices with Dublin restaurateur Oliver Dunne telling Newstalk.com that, "It's ludicrous, I'll just be making them up".
Get a FREE Digital Subscription!Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
Dunne, who owns Bon Appetit, Cleaver East and recently opened Beef & Lobster, added: "There's not another country in the world that has imposed – or suggested to impose – this on a blanket-scale across all restaurants. It's just not going to happen and, if it is enforced, it's not going to be factual information so what's the point? There's better things to spend the money on. Restaurants do not operate like that and can't."
The RAI says the cost of implementing such a plan would cost €5,000 for each restaurant and goes against the idea of promoting Ireland as a foodie destination, reports Thejournal.ie. Cummins commented: "It works for chain restaurants where they have over 20 identical meals and uniformity in their menus, but for the vast majority of restaurants it’s not the case. I don’t think it is feasible or practical."
Although there has been delays in legislating for the change, Cummins thinks it will be introduced sooner rather than later, adding, "I think they want to drive this through now without any thought given as to how this will be implemented".