QC 1st in Southeast Asia’s for calories labelling policy

Quezon City – Pioneering in Southeast Asia’s Mayor Joy Belmonte has signed the ordinance passed by the city council that will require restaurants, fast food chains, and other food establishments operating within the city to publish the number of calories of food items on their menu. 

Based on data from the QC Health Department, almost 1 in 5 adult residents have high blood pressure. In 2018 alone, 19.9% of school-age children and 43.0% of adults were found to be overweight and obese. To address this, the city committed to building a food environment that will improve the overall health of its residents as part of its work with the Partnership for Healthy Cities – a prestigious global network of 73 cities committed to save lives by preventing noncommunicable diseases and injuries through the delivery of high-impact policy or programmatic interventions in their communities.

In a media briefing held at Quezon City Hall last March 21, 2024, the City Government, led by Chief Executive, Councilor Irene Belmonte, Councilor Aly Medalla. Councilor Bernard Herrera, Councilor Ram Medalla, Councilor Dorothy Delamente and Jai Sideco nutrionist of health department  announced that calorie labeling will be required soon to help QCitizens make informed food choices.

“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 (With calorie labeling, QCitizens have the power to make healthier food choices because they have the correct information),” expressed Mayor Belmonte.

At the same time, the Lady Mayor assured carinderia and small eatery owners that they should not worry about the policy.

“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,” she reiterated.

“We commend the Quezon City Government for this groundbreaking initiative. This is the first of its kind in the country and as a pioneer in calorie-labeling, we hope that QC inspires more cities and municipalities to do the same,” said Atty. Sophia San Luis, executive director of public interest law group ImagineLaw. 

Imagine law according to Policy Associate Regina Isabel R Ongsiako the assistance for their lawyer and nutrionist drafting the law  

In the first year of its implementation, the ordinance will cover QC restaurants or food businesses that are part of a food chain or franchise with five or more branches in the country. In the second year, it will cover the same businesses with two or more branches. In the third year, it will cover all restaurants or food businesses. Barangay micro businesses and micro, small, and medium enterprises like ambulant vendors, hawkers and carinderia owners are exempted from the ordinance.

Part of the intervenrion of the Department of Science and Technology, Food and Nutrition Research Institute for the calories detail of a certain products. 

This initiative underscores Quezon City’s commitment to prioritizing public health and

fostering environments that promote informed decision-making when it comes to dietary choices. 

///Mary Jane Olvina-Balaguer, +639053611058, maryjaneolvina@gmail.com and konekted@dzmjonline.net