De Lima pushes for nu­tri­tional info in fast food, resto menu

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Top Stories -

MABALACAT CITY -- With the wors­en­ing prob­lems of obe­sity and im­proper nu­tri­tion among Filipinos, Se­na­tor Leila de Lima has filed a mea­sure re­quir­ing all fast food and restau­rant chains to dis­close nu­tri­tional in­for­ma­tion in the menus of food they serve to pub­lic.

In fil­ing Se­nate Bill No. (SBN) 521, De Lima said con­sumers need to be in­formed of the calo­rie con­tent from food and bev­er­ages they take from fast food and restau­rants to help them mon­i­tor their weight and avoid health risks as­so­ci­ated with obe­sity.

“Weight gain oc­curs when more calo­ries are con­sumed than are ex­pended. Eat­ing out, and eat­ing ex­tra calo­ries while eat­ing out, con­trib­ute dis­pro­por­tion­ately to the ex­cess calo­rie in­take that fu­els the rise in in­ci­dence of obe­sity,” she said.

Un­der SBB 521, also known as “Nu­tri­tional In­for­ma­tion Dis­clo­sure Act of 2017,” fast food and restau­rant chains are man­dated to dis­play calo­rie con­tent in­for­ma­tion on the menus of “away-from-home” foods sold in most fast food and restau­rant chains

Also cov­ered are food sold at salad bar, buf­fet line, cafe­te­ria line or sim­i­lar self­ser­vice fa­cil­ity where calo­rie con­tent in­for­ma­tion should be clearly and con­spic­u­ously dis­played on their menus or menu boards.

“Nu­tri­ent con­tent in­for­ma­tion pro­vided at the time of food se­lec­tion in food ser­vice es­tab­lish­ments 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 Se­na­tor from Bicol said.

While most pack­aged foods are al­ready re­quired to dis­close nu­tri­tional facts, De Lima noted that those meals sold through food ser­vice es­tab­lish­ments which serve food that is eas­ily avail­able, in­ex­pen­sive and high in calo­ries do not con­tain such dis­clo­sure.

“The health con­scious have to guess at the nu­tri­tional con­tent of meals taken in restau­rants. On the other hand, those who are less aware of the need for proper di­et­ing are left un­aware of the nu­tri­tional val­ues that they in­take,” she said.

Based on the 8th Na­tional Nu­tri­tion Sur­vey con­ducted by the Food and Nu­tri­tion Re­search In­sti­tute in 2013, three out of ten – or 31 per­cent of – Filipino adults are over­weight or obese.

The same re­port stated that 22.3 per­cent of the adult pop­u­la­tion is con­sid­ered hy­per­ten­sive, as hy­per­ten­sion preva­lence tends to in­crease with wealth and is slightly higher among ru­ral ver­sus ur­ban res­i­dents.

Mean­while, di­a­betes preva­lence is at 5.4 per­cent and in­creases among the rich and ur­ban dwellers.

Ac­cord­ing to De Lima “nu­tri­tional in­for­ma­tion” in­cludes to­tal number of calo­ries, to­tal number of grams of car­bo­hy­drates, to­tal number of grams of sat­u­rated fat, to­tal number of grams of pro­tein and to­tal number of mil­ligrams of sodium.

In cases of non-com­pli­ance, busi­ness op­er­a­tions may be sus­pended and the owner of the branch needs to pay a fine of not less than P300,000 for the first vi­o­la­tion; not more than PhP600,000 for the sec­ond vi­o­la­tion; and not more than one-mil­lion pe­sos for the third vi­o­la­tion. SunS­tar Philip­pines

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