Calories on Menus – The Big Debate

The Department of Health have launched a consultation with Food Businesses on the Introduction of Mandatory Calories being posted on menus. The submission is open from the 6th of January 2020 and closes on the 14th of February 2020.  The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) had previously carried out such consultation in 2012 and 2015 which found that 95% of the public were in support of such an introduction.

The majority of the prepacked foods we purchase are labelled with their nutritional declaration which includes calories. This became a mandatory requirement in December 2016. However according to the FSAI over a quarter of the calories consumed within Ireland are now consumed outside the home in restaurants, take-away, fast food outlets, coffee shops, catering companies etc., where calories are currently not declared.  Several food businesses do provide this information to their consumers on a voluntary basis.

The Department of Health has not as yet put in place a time frame for such an introduction but have stated that substantial lead in time and guidance would need to be provided to the food service sector.

Dr Mary Flynn from the FSAI stated on RTE’s Prime Time that if such legislation is passed that Environmental Health Officers will be the enforcing body working on the ground with the food sector to implement such legislation.

Like with the introduction of declaration of food allergens for loose foods, training for people working within the catering sector on this matter will be a key to the implementation of such a piece of legislation.

Book an upcoming Food Hygiene Course/HACCP training course or contact an EHAI approved trainer at