Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (485)

Robert Troy

Question:

485. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health his plans to introduce legislation to ensure that calorie counts are advertised on food; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11133/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Last year I called on all food service businesses to display calories on food and drinks served in Ireland. Calories on menus help people make healthier choices. My Department requested the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) to carry out a national consultation on this issue, which found that over 95% of consumers in Ireland want calories on menus. Following the national consultation, the FSAI have published a step-by-step guide on how to do this: Putting Calories on Menus in Ireland - Technical Guidance for food.

I also 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 currently displaying calories on menus. The FSAI are 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. I welcome the progress that has been made so far and will use the FSAI survey results to inform my decision regarding further progress in this area.