Fine Gael TD for Dublin North, Alan Farrell, has called on the Minister for Health, James Reilly, and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) to promote healthier children’s menus in restaurants by introducing a FSAI recommended ‘Healthy Kid’s Menu’ Award for food outlets as part of the national campaign to tackle obesity.
“As parents across Ireland will know, children’s menus in many family restaurants and hotels consist only of high fat options such as chips, chicken nuggets and sausages. Parents often have no choice but pay good money for a meal that provides limited nutritional value for their child, while also promoting unhealthy eating at an early age.
“I am calling on the FSAI to publish guidelines for designing children’s menus and create a special award certificate for restaurants that register and prove that they offer healthier choices for kids. The restaurant would then receive a certificate or award which can help attract families to their premises.
“The Minister for Health and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland are currently undergoing a consultation process with regard to allowing consumers make informed decisions when eating out. I am calling on the Minister and the FSAI to examine the possibility of encouraging restaurants and children’s fun centres to offer healthier menus for children by introducing an FSAI recommended ‘Healthy Kid’s Menu’ award and a dedicated webpage for outlets that choose to offer healthy choices on kid’s menus.
“One in four children in Ireland are obese. That is a frightening statistic that will have major consequences for our health service and resources in the future. Introducing this award scheme would be a positive step towards providing our children with healthy eating choices and changing the approach we currently take to children’s food in our hotels’ pubs and restaurants.”
“If the Minister, along with the Food Safety Authority, is committed to tackling obesity through looking at how we eat in social settings, we must make a fundamental change in the eating out habits we are creating for our children.”