04 Dec 2021

Popular Waterford restaurant outraged over calories on menus legislation

Popular Waterford restaurant outraged over calories on menus legislation

Waterford's Momo Restaurant outraged over proposed new legislation for calories on menus

A Waterford restaurant has been left angered over proposed new legislation that would see displaying calories on menus become mandatory in premises selling non-packaged foods.

Last week, the Department of Health issued a consultation document inviting food business operators to complete a questionnaire about the planned change.

The change would see calories on menus in restaurants, takeaways, coffee shops, cafes, catering companies, delicatessens and pubs where food is served.

A spokesperson for Momo Restaurant on Patrick Street in Waterford city says implementing the legislation will put business owners and chefs under immense pressure.

“You don’t have to be an expert to understand the basic rules of being healthy and keeping a healthy weight - eat less, move more,” the Momo Restaurant spokesperson says. 

“I’m a restaurant owner and my responsibility is to run the business, look after staff and pay taxes - not to educate my customers. As I’m very passionate about all food related stuff, in our restaurant we educate our customers only if they ask. It is not our job or responsibility.

"We share our passion with others, we use local suppliers and producers, we avoid big international companies as we want to support the Irish economy, and we cook from scratch. We don’t buy ready dishes or sauces.”

The Momo Restaurant spokesperson says calories on menus can only work for big food chains, where food is ready-made, pre-packed and weighed. “It will take at least one extra full-time staff to measure, weigh and control each plate. Who will count nuts and seeds in each salad portion? Who will weigh each slice of artisan sourdough from local bakery? Or should I just relax, guess the number and give customers wrong information?” 

The Momo Restaurant spokesperson suggests that emphasis should be placed on educating kids on food at school. “It is not restaurants’ fault that the Irish population is getting more obese. We are trying in the most positive way to change Irish food culture. We are supporting farmers and producers. We appreciate, cherish, support, buy and share Irish food with others. 

“Give us a break and concentrate on hospital beds, food education for children, basic healthcare for all and let us do what we do well,” the spokesperson adds. 

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