Restaurants to include 1/2 cup of rice in menu
By Jason B. Neola
BEGINNING May 5, this year, all businesses in the city categorized under the food service industry are required to include one-half cup of cooked rice in their menus as mandated in City Ordinance 2023-024.
It is indicated in the penalty clause of the ordinance that any food service provider found violating the rule shall be reprimanded or will be sent with written warning for the first offense; will be fined P2,000 for the second offense; P3,000 for the third offense as well as suspension of business permit and/or license to operate; and permanent cancellation of business permit for the fourth offense.
City Councilor Jessie R. Albeus, the author of the ordinance, said that he is anticipating that with the implementation of the ordinance the campaign to reduce rice waste in the city will elicit better results.
Albeus said that he sees the importance of passing the ordinance as there are restaurants and fast-food chains do no offer a half-cup rice order, leaving customers with no choice but to settle for a cup full of rice which oftentimes go to waste if not consumed entirely.
A Food and Nutrition Research Institute study revealed that the Philippines, the world’s biggest rice importer, wastes at least P23-M worth of rice every day or at least P8.4-B per annum which is enough to feed 4.3-M Filipinos.
It was also shown that each Filipino wastes an average of 3 tablespoons or nine grams of rice daily, equivalent to 3.3 kilos annually and 308,000 tons of total wastage.
What is more painful is that the report bared that rice is wasted from the moment it was poorly harvested, inefficiently transported, wastefully processed, and remains unconsumed after being cooked and served.
The government’s campaign called “Be RICEponsible,” which was launched in 2013, aims to encourage farmers, policy-makers, and the public to be responsible in their own ways and engage every Filipino to do their part in achieving rice-sufficiency in the country.
“Eat your rice right,” and “save rice, save life” are the actual messages of the campaign that advocate reducing rice waste at the consumer level.
Behind the campaign is the objective to achieve a fourfold goal: reducing rice wastage, attaining self-sufficiency in rice production, lessening consumer expense, and promoting health through balanced eating.
The ordinance covers all businesses involved in and responsible for the preparation, sale of meals, catering services, restaurants, fast-food chains, food courts, school canteens, office and hospital cafeterias, carenderia or street stalls (turo-turo), and food carts.
The ordinance requires all establishments in the food service industry to include a half-cup of rice in their menu with its price also set at half of the one-cup order. For uniform serving, one cup of cooked rice should be 200 grams. Thus a half-cup of cooked rice should be 100 grams.