Press Release

Minister for Health launches new online FSAI calorie calculator- www.menucal.ie will help consumers make the healthy choice

Pictured at the launch of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland free online MenuCal calorie calculator was Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly T.D. and Dr Mary Flynn, Chief Specialist: Public Health Nutrition

Pictured at the launch of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland free online MenuCal calorie calculator is Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly T.D. and Dr Mary Flynn, Chief Specialist: Public Health Nutrition

The Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD, today (Wednesday 9 April 2014) launched the newly developed FSAI MenuCal, the online calorie calculator for businesses in the food industry.

Welcoming the initiative, the Minister said, “I am delighted to be here today to launch this easily accessible and free of charge on-line calorie calculator which will be of significant benefit to both individual consumers and food businesses across the country in determining the calorie content of their meals. I requested the FSAI to develop MenuCal because Irish people want information to allow them to make healthy choices when it comes to the food they eat.”

Continuing, the Minister said, “This calculator is in line with our approach under Healthy Ireland to help make the healthier choice the easier choice, and to create an environment where everyone can take responsibility and play their part in improving the health and wellbeing of themselves and their families.”

The potential benefits of calorie posting are immense for the prevention of obesity and all associated health problems. The Minister explained that there is no single approach which can successfully address Ireland’s current obesity crisis. Calories on menus highlight the downside of overly large portions. This information also enlightens people that ‘less is more’ when it comes to portion sizes and their effects on our health. Now, thanks to this initiative, food businesses have a potential market for healthier options in smaller sizes. The available evidence indicates that calorie menu labelling can positively affect consumer food choice without negatively impacting business profitability.

MenuCal centres on usability and accuracy, and will therefore enable users to calculate calorie values for their menu items themselves without any cost implications for their business, thereby negating the need for expensive outsourcing for technical expertise in calorie calculation. As a result of stakeholder consultation and testing during the development phase, MenuCal is easily navigable and calculates the calories on menu items with little need for instruction. However, if necessary, MenuCal can provide users with clear instructions and guidance.

Listen to Minister Reilly speech at this event