Bakers Journal

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Calorie-posting legislation not as simple as it appears


November 24, 2014
By Restaurants Canada

Nov. 24, 2014, Toronto – The plan announced today by the Ontario government to require calorie posting in restaurants will require complex regulations that will take time and industry collaboration to be successful.

Nov. 24, 2014, Toronto – The plan announced today by the Ontario
government to require calorie posting in restaurants will require
complex regulations that will take time and industry collaboration to be
successful.

“As we have seen in the U.S. and U.K., the many variables when it comes to preparing and serving restaurant meals make calorie posting regulations very complex,” says Restaurants Canada vice president James Rilett. “The United States FDA has been working on regulations for five years. This calls for a collaborative effort between government and industry to get the complex regulations right.”

Ontario’s restaurant industry has worked to provide calorie information to their customers for many years, in various formats. In addition, many restaurants have changed recipes and introduced healthier options, and several chain restaurants voluntarily participated in a national program to provide nutritional information to all customers in a standard format.

“There are some unique challenges in a restaurant environment,” says Rilett. “Calorie counts can only be provided when there is a high degree of standardization. While this is common in food manufacturing, it’s the exception in a restaurant setting.”

A typical breakfast menu offers a good example of the challenge of calorie posting. A “breakfast special” offers the choice of scrambled, poached, fried or boiled eggs; white or whole grain toast, with or without butter, jam, peanut butter, or honey; ham, bacon, sausage or a fruit bowl; orange, grapefruit, cranberry, apple juice, coffee or tea with or without milk, cream, or sugar. All of these choices have an effect on caloric intake.

Restaurants Canada will continue its conversation with the province to ensure an effective and workable solution.