In efforts to make a more healthy union, Ireland is proposing that restaurants across the country publish calorie counts on their menus. The Restaurant Association of Ireland, according to The Journal, is wary of the legislation.
Adrian Cummins, the chief executive of the RAI, said that the proposed law will discourage food tourism to Ireland, something the country has been promoting, as well as make it difficult for the country’s 10 Michelin-starred restaurants to flourish. He also told The Journal that the process of testing every item at these restaurants with rotating menus can be pricey (costing €5,000, or about USD $5,600), unpractical and downright difficult.
“We have 10 Michelin star restaurants up and down this island,” Cummins tells The Journal. “I would definitely say for those with Michelin stars, they will think twice about operating within such a draconian regime and applying for a Michelin star again.”
The legislation could also discourage diners at these restaurants, which more often than not cook multiple courses with butters, fats and salts galore. How else would the food taste so delicious? By our very loose estimations, a three-course dinner at Dublin’s two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud could add up to 1,500 calories. Without drinks.
In the U.S., the FDA only requires chain restaurants with over 20 locations to display calorie information, so a fine-dining chef like Daniel Boulud doesn’t need to concern himself with the calorie count in his butter-poached lobster. Cummins argued that calorie counts have worked for chain restaurants because those menus are stagnant and offer little variety, making it easier to calculate the calories.
The legislation that would make publishing calorie counts mandatory in Ireland was expected to go into effect immediately but continues to be refined.