Lawmaker pushes for nutrition data on restaurant menus
Having second thoughts about ordering that pie because of its calorie count and sugar content?
A lawmaker is pushing for the public disclosure of the nutrition data of dishes on restaurant menus in a bid to help address health problems like obesity, unhealthy diets and inadequate nutrition.
House Bill No. 2421 filed by AGRI Rep. Wilbert Lee is aimed at helping Filipinos make “informed, healthier choices” whenever they dine at restaurants or order from food service establishments.
The measure, dubbed the “Nutritional Information Disclosure Act,” was filed in the House last July. A similar measure filed by Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva is pending in the Senate.
Lee pointed out that “eating out and eating extra calories contribute disproportionately to the excess calorie intake that fuels the rise in the reported cases of obesity.”
“While our existing system requires packaged foods to disclose nutritional facts, meals sold through food establishments contain no such disclosure,” he said in the bill’s explanatory note.
“The health conscious have to estimate or guess the nutritional content of meals taken in restaurants. Those who are less aware of the need for proper dieting are left oblivious to the nutritional values they intake, which would potentially cause detrimental effects on their health in the long run,” he said.
By requiring the public disclosure of caloric and nutritional information of items on restaurant menus, consumers would “make more informed and healthier food choices” while promoting health awareness and proper dieting.
Food intake monitoring
Such nutritional data would also help those who are monitoring their food intake due to chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The bill would require food service establishments to indicate nutritional information of dishes and food items in a “clear and conspicuous manner” on their menus and menu boards.
The data should include at least the total number of calories, the total number of grams of carbohydrates, saturated fat and protein and total number of milligrams of sodium.
In March, the Department of Health, World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund warned of the growing incidence of obesity in the Philippines, where 27 million Filipinos are obese.
HB 2421 imposes hefty fines ranging from P100,000 to P1 million for food service establishments, which fail to comply with the required public disclosure of nutrition data.
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