Published Tuesday, 24 April 2012
The Health Minister weighs up his calorie options with Dr Henrietta Campbell. (© FSA)
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has launched the Caloriewise scheme in an attempt to encourage consumers to make more informed choices when eating out.
For the first time, information on the calorific content of food will be displayed by eight firms - including three healthcare trusts - on restaurant menus and takeaway food displays.
Maria Jennings, Head of Dietary Health at the FSA, said that eight out of ten of people in Northern Ireland eat outside the home every week - accounting for one in six meals.
"For all of these occasions, we often have no idea how many calories we are consuming. Eating out clearly presents a major information gap for customers.
"Caloriewise is not just about the occasional 'dining out' experience, but the more frequent occasions like visiting a sandwich bar for lunch on the run, meeting a friend for coffee or regular eating in a workplace canteen."
Businesses signed up for the six month project include The Streat, Sodexo Catering, Botanic Inns, Aramark, and Mount Charles catering.
The Health Minister, Edwin Poots, congratulated the organisations which have had the "foresight and vision" to participate in the pilot scheme.
The DUP MLA said he recognised the effort and commitment required to make the project a success.
The Minister said: "Protecting public health is my department's number one priority.
"You only have to look at the figures to appreciate the enormous challenge we are facing: in Northern Ireland around 6 out of every 10 adults are either overweight or obese."
He continued: "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."
© UTV News