TORONTO, November 24, 2014 – 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,” said James Rilett, Vice President Ontario for Restaurants Canada. “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,” said 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.
Restaurants Canada (formerly the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association) is a national association comprising 30,000 businesses in every segment of the foodservice industry, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and their suppliers. Through advocacy, research, and member programs and services, Restaurants Canada is dedicated to helping its members in every community grow and prosper.
Canada’s restaurant industry directly employs more than 1.1 million Canadians, contributes $68 billion a year to the Canadian economy (including commercial and non-commercial foodservice), and serves more than 18 million customers every day.