THE Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland has launched a scheme which will see local food businesses displaying calorie information on menus and takeaway food for the first time.
Staff and visitors in Northern Health Trust facilities in Antrim, Causeway and Magherafelt hospitals will be among the first to try the new scheme, as the Trust rolls it out in canteens across the three sites.
The Caloriewise scheme, which is being trialled by eight local businesses, including three health trusts, is a drive to encourage consumers to make more informed choices when eating out or on-the-go.
Speaking at the launch, the Health Minister, Edwin Poots MLA, congratulated the organisations which have had, what he described as, the “foresight and vision” to participate in the pilot scheme: “The Caloriewise scheme gives consumers the power to make informed choices. With so many of us eating on the move now, anything which raises awareness of the healthier choices we can make is a good thing.
“I would like to congratulate the Food Standards Agency and the participating businesses in Northern Ireland for working in partnership to deliver real benefits for consumers and I would urge other businesses to pick up this mantle and work with the FSA in order to have a positive impact on your customers’ health.”
Businesses involved in the pilot scheme, which will run for six months, will display the calorie content of items clearly and prominently at the point of choice, in menus and on menu boards. Businesses signed up include: The Streat, Sodexo Catering, Botanic Inns, Aramark, and Mount Charles catering, as well as three local healthcare trusts.
Margaret Mulholland, Head of Communications, Northern Health and Social Care Trust said: “Within all the Trust restaurants it will raise customer awareness of their eating habits and make it easier for them to make informed choices when eating out.”