Belmonte OKs ordinance on food calorie labeling in QC restaurants

Belmonte OKs ordinance on food calorie labeling in QC restaurants

By: - Reporter / @luisacabatoINQ
/ 04:40 PM March 21, 2024

Belmonte OKs ordinance on food calorie labeling in QC restaurants

FILE PHOTO: Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte. INQUIRER FILES

MANILA, Philippines — Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte enacted an ordinance that would require restaurants, fast-food chains, and other food establishments operating within the city to show the calorie count of each serving of food items on their menus.

The ordinance was earlier passed by the city council and was only awaiting Belmonte’s signature to be formalized.


READ: DOH backs QC rule requiring food calorie count on restaurant menu


“Nais nating maging ligtas ang ating QCitizens sa non-communicable diseases. Kapag may calorie labeling, may kapangyarihan ang QCitizen na pumili ng masustansyang pagkain dahil hawak nila ang tamang impormasyon,” she said in a press conference held at Quezon City Hall on Thursday.

(We want our QCitizens to be safe from non-communicable diseases. With calorie labeling, a QCitizen have the power to make healthy food choices because they have the right information.)

Belmonte, however, assured owners of small food stalls or eateries, locally known as carinderia, that they have nothing to worry amid the enforcement of the local ordinance as they are only asked to voluntarily follow the rule. She even promised to give them incentives if they comply.

READ: QC may soon require restaurants to show food calorie count on menus

“Hindi po sakop ng ordinansa ang ating maliliit na kainan. Pero bibigyan pa natin sila ng insentibo kapag nagkusa sila na maglagay ng calorie count sa kanilang regular na menu,” Belmonte clarified.

(Our small restaurants are not covered by the ordinance. But we will even give them an incentive if they take the initiative to put a calorie count in their regular menu.)


The local government explained that compliance with the local law would be gradual.

On the first year of its implementation, only restaurants or food businesses that are part of a food conglomerates, companies, groups, or franchise with at least five branches nationwide will be required to obey.

Restaurants or food businesses that are part of a food conglomerates, companies, groups, or franchise with two or more branches must follow the city rule on the second year while all restaurants or food businesses should already comply with the ordinance on the third year of its enforcement.

The ordinance, however, exempts “barangay microbusinesses and micro, small, and medium enterprises like ambulant vendors, hawkers, and carinderia owners.”

The Department of Health earlier expressed its support for the ordinance, agreeing that it would help the public make “informed and healthy choices” regarding the food they consume.

“The DOH supports the ordinance of the Quezon City local government that requires restaurants to display the number of calories that their food contains. This will enable Filipinos to make informed and healthy choices on what to eat,” it said in a statement on Thursday morning.

“The Department encourages Filipinos to eat a balanced, well-moderated, and varied diet. Limit processed foods and foods that are high in calories. Opt for healthier choices, partnered with sufficient physical activity,” it added.

The DOH likewise reminded the public that excess calories could cause obesity, which leads to non-communicable diseases like heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.

Based on the Quezon City Health Department’s data, 19.9 percent of school-aged children and 43 percent of adults were found to be either overweight or obese in 2018.

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It also stated that almost one in five adults has high blood pressure due to unhealthy food and lifestyle choices.

TAGS: calories, Quezon City

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