'One size fits all' just won't work
THE Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has warned against a 'one size fits all' approach towards labelling calories on menus, and warned against any move toward imposing mandatory calories on menus.
The Federation welcomed the fact that the scheme is voluntary, and called for clarification on what supports would be given to hoteliers to introduce the scheme. It said it would oppose any attempt in the future to introduce mandatory labelling of calories on menus in hotels and guesthouses.
Michael Vaughan, President of the IHF, welcomed the voluntary nature of the proposed scheme but expressed concerns that it could be transformed into a mandatory system once the introductory phase has been completed.
Mr Vaughan warned that the adoption of an indiscriminate, 'one size fits all' approach to mandatory calorie labelling would be entirely inappropriate for hotels and guesthouses, many of whose menus change on a daily basis reflecting the use of locally sourced produce and the seasonally available ingredients.
'Our members are very concerned that the announcement could be the first step toward a mandatory system across the board without taking account of the challenges faced by hotels and guesthouses,' he said. 'Such a system would be unworkable for many of our members given the prohibitive costs involved in determining calorie content for menus that are constantly changing from day to day.'
'Any given premises could have hundreds of ingredients making up their menu and there simply wouldn't be the resources to calculate, in a scientific way, the exact calorific value of dishes each day,' he added. 'At a time when many hoteliers are struggling to survive, this would result in an additional burden in terms of resources that simply wouldn't be practical to implement.'