HB requiring restos to display nutritional content on menus filed

October 28, 2022 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 595 views

A LAWMAKER has filed a House Bill (HB) requiring public disclosure of nutritional information on menus of food service establishments to help address the problems of obesity, unhealthy diet, and inadequate nutrition among Filipinos.

AGRI Party-list Representative Wilbert T. Lee said that while the existing system requires packaged foods to disclose nutritional facts, meals sold through food establishments contain no such disclosure.

“The health-conscious has to estimate or guess the nutritional content of meals 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,” Lee pointed out.

“This measure would enable consumers to make more informed and healthier food choices, promote health awareness and proper dieting and assist consumers who are monitoring their diets or dealing with chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” the lawmaker from Sorsogon added.

In March of this year, the Department of Health (DOH), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) raised the alarm on growing obesity in the Philippines. They reported that around 27 million Filipinos are overweight and obese, based on the latest survey of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI).

The report further said that for the past two decades, overweight and obesity among adults have almost doubled from 20.2% in 1998 to 36.6% in 2019, while the prevalence rates of overweight and obesity among adolescents have more than doubled from 4.9% in 2003 to 11.6% in 2018.

“Nakababahala ang trend na ito at hindi ito dapat ipagwalang bahala. Sa mga nag-didiet man o hindi, gusto nating makatulong sa pagpapabuti sa kalusugan ng ating mga kababayan. Sa malusog na mamamayan, mas produktibo ang lipunan. Winner Tayo Lahat,” Lee said.

If passed, HB No. 2421 would mandate food service establishments to put on their menus and menu boards—in a clear and conspicuous manner—nutritional information which includes, but is not limited to, all of the following per menu item:

• Total number of calories

• Total number of grams of carbohydrates

• Total number of grams of saturated fat

• Total number of grams of protein

• Total number of milligrams of sodium

Non-compliant food establishments may be suspended and be penalized with a fine of not less than One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) for the first violation; not more than Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) for the second violation; and not more than One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00) for the third violation.