Restaurants bat changes to proposed ‘half-cup rice’ law

CHANGES to the proposed half-cup rice ordinance were made to include inputs from representatives of restaurant and hotel sectors in the city.

Staff from the office of Councilor Marissa Salvador- Abella, proponent of the ordinance, provided that among the major changes were the uniform definition or exact weight of half a cup or rice, as well as its pricing, and the exemption of including combo meals or other promotional set meals that an establishment might have.

The half cup rice ordinance was proposed by Abella in a bid to reduce wastage of rice.

It was raised at the committee hearing that restaurants and eateries do not have a uniform definition of an exact cup of rice, and mandating a half cup would differ from each establishment since some have bigger serving sizes as part of their promotion.

In a copy of the proposed law, a half cup of rice is defined at roughly 80 grams (g), or atleast half of 158g.

However, the proponent opted to rephrase the definition of a half cup rice to “not less than 80g.”

This is the official definition of half a cup of rice mandated by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology.

Initial discussions of the proposed ordinance placed the pricing of the half cup serving at exactly half the price of one cup, but this was scrapped, said staff, because prices and serving sizes varied for each establishment.

The ordinance will set instead that the cost should be lesser than what they charge for a whole cup.

Meanwhile, the proponent is also looking at exempting combo meal sets in restaurants from the ordinance as these have different “computations” as opposed to ordering ala carte.

The ordinance will also provide that establishments post signage they are serving half cup of rice.

The half cup rice ordinance is still at second reading at city council, in time for this month’s observance of Rice Sufficency Month.

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