As Minister for Health I established the Special Action Group on Obesity to advise me on priority actions to tackle overweight and obesity. This Group identified putting calorie information on menus of fast food establishments, restaurants, bars and coffee shops, as one of a range of measures. Therefore, I have prioritised calorie posting on menus as a key initiative that will have a positive impact in addressing the problem of our rising levels of overweight and obesity, and as a means of educating the general public on the calorie content of food portions. It is a simple concept that will provide consumers with information on calories and facilitate them in make healthier choices, eat smaller portions and enjoy food without over-eating.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland‘s report on their national consultation, which I launched last week, showed that there was an overwhelming demand by consumers (96%) for calorie menu labelling in food outlets. With regard to schools, my Department already has Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Preschools and Primary Schools which are being implemented in liaison with Health promotion teams in HSE areas and similar Guidelines for Post Primary Schools to facilitate them in drawing up a Healthy School Food Policy are at an advanced stage.