Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (672)

Denis Naughten

Question:

672. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health if his Department will be present at the Codex Committee on Food Labelling in Charlottetown, PEI, Canada, from 14 May 2013 to 17 May 2013; his position on the establishment of new calorie count information; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9809/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The CODEX Committee meeting in May 2013 will be attended by officials from both Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the FSAI. The FSAI will be leading the EU delegation at this meeting. The Department of Health continues to attend meetings of the Irish Codex Advisory Committee. The Department will meet with the FSAI prior to the May meeting to ensure that Irish health policy is reflected during those discussions. In 2012, my Department requested the FSAI to conduct a national consultation on the display of calories on menus. Over 95% of respondents expressed their support for this initiative. I then wrote personally to a range of fast food restaurants requesting that they display calories on menus on a voluntary basis. Recent monitoring information from the FSAI, found that almost half of the 19 fast food restaurants, coffee shops and catering companies are now displaying calories on menus. I consider that this will help consumers to make healthier eating choices. To assist the companies concerned, the FSAI has published technical instructions for Irish food business operators. It is also in the process of developing a software tool to help Irish companies to count the calories in dishes that are on menus for more than 30 days per year. The FSAI is currently conducting a large telephone survey and quality assessment evaluating the uptake of calorie menu labelling by Food Service Businesses in Ireland. The final survey results will be ready for publication in March 2013.