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Restaurant food calorie count to become law

Proposals to require restaurants, takeaways and all food service outlets to post calorie details of all meals on menus have been approved by the Cabinet.

The 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.

“I am very concerned about levels of overweight and obesity in Ireland. Latest figures indicate that nearly two out of every three adults, and one in four children, are overweight or obese. This presents real risks for health and wellbeing and causes a high percentage of many of the chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes,” Minister Varadkar said.

“Giving calorie details on menus is a very simple but effective way of encouraging people to choose a healthier option. Food options can be deceptive. Some salads contain more calories than a burger meal. But if we make the information clearly available, at the very least people can make an informed choice. It won’t work in every case but it’s a powerful tool which has proved very effective in the US.

“The Government has 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.

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