The Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) says it is strongly opposed to the introduction of calorie counts on menus. The VFI represents publicans throughout Ireland, many of whom serve food and will be adversely impacted by proposed legislation to introduce calorie counting.
Earlier this week the Department of Health issued a consultation document inviting publicans and others in the food service business to complete a questionnaire about the planned change.
VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben says “Putting calorie counts on menus will place an unnecessary burden on our members at a time when small businesses are facing unprecedented challenges.
“There are so many factors involved in assessing the calorie content of an individual meal, not least portion size, that it will be extremely difficult for an individual business to implement. What happens when a pub wishes to change the menu at short notice due to unavailability of seasonal produce? How will the system be monitored? There are too many variables in food production to make this a worthwhile exercise.
“We are calling for the funding that would be used to introduce this measure to be diverted to a schools’ education programme, which is the proper location to learn about calorie counting and the benefits of eating fresh food.”
The VFI says that asking businesses owners for their opinion after making the decision to introduce legislation is an empty gesture by the Department of Health.
“We are calling on all our members serving food to contact Minister Simon Harris to express their dismay over this week’s announcement.
“Our members are still reeling from the VAT increase and it’s unrealistic to expect them to introduce such a costly but pointless plan. This is a badly thought-out idea that should not progress any further,” concludes Mr Cribben.