Half-cup rice option in Philippine city

QUEZON, PHILIPPINES (PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER\ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Soon, all food establishments in Quezon City, Philippines - including those in hospitals, schools, even catering businesses - will be required to offer their customers the option of ordering half a cup of rice.

Citing a report that Filipinos were wasting 8 billion pesos (S$227 million) worth of rice yearly, the Quezon City council approved on third and final reading on Monday the "Half-cup rice ordinance of 2014," which would impose a fine of up to 2,000 pesos on violators in addition to the possible suspension of their business permits.

In approving the proposed ordinance, councilors took into consideration a report by the Los Banos, Laguna-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) which stated that the country was wasting 23 million pesos worth of rice every day.

The IRRI noted that the rice going to waste could be used to feed 4.3 million people.

The city council also cited data from the Department of Science and Technology's Food and Nutrition Institute which showed that on the average, every Filipino wastes three tablespoons or nine grams of rice daily, equivalent to 3.3 kilos a year.

"The hundred tons of rice wasted each year, not just in the Philippines but in the whole world, need to be taken seriously; our social conscience will tell us that the rice we waste can just be the very rice we need to feed the hungry and the undernourished," it said.

It added: "Empirical evidence shows that the availability of a half cup or half order of rice serving [WILL]minimise wastage especially within the food service industry."

As defined in the ordinance, a half cup or half order of rice refers to half or roughly 80 grams of the default restaurant serving of 158 grams or a whole cup of rice.

Covered by the new regulation are "all businesses, institutions and companies responsible for any meal prepared outside the home," including restaurants, fastfood chains, school and hospital cafeterias, food courts and catering businesses in Quezon City.

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