GenSan studies ‘half-rice’ ordinance to reduce wastage

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/05 May) — The city council has launched a series of consultations for a proposed ordinance that seeks the inclusion of half-cup serving of rice or “half-rice” in the menus of food establishments within the city.

Vice Mayor Shirlyn L. Bañas-Nograles said the council’s committee on trade, commerce and industry, is currently studying the provisions of the measure that also aims to set the “half-rice” as the default serving in restaurants and other related establishments in the area.

She said the move is in line with the national government’s “Be RICEponsible” campaign that calls for responsible rice consumption.

“Our main goal is to help reduce rice wastage at the consumer level in the city,” said Nograles, author of the proposed ordinance.

The proposed measure requires all food service establishments in the city to include and display the half-cup rice serving in their regular menus, with the price set at exactly half of the regular one cup serving.

A half-cup rice serving refers to one-half cup of the regular serving of cooked rice or not more than 80 grams.

It specifically covers businesses and institutions in the city that are engaged in the preparation of plated, packed or combo meals for a fee.

These include restaurants; school, office and hospital cafeterias; catering establishments; canteens, eateries, fast-food chains and other similar establishments.

“Food establishments are mandated to make the one-half cup of rice as the default serving for packed and combo meals as well as plated caterings,” it said.

Nograles said the proposed ordinance included penalties for establishments that would fail to implement its provisions.

She said a fine of P1,000 was set for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense and P3,000 and cancellation of business permit for the third and succeeding offenses.

In 2008, several fast food chains started offering “half-rice” serving in response to the national government’s call then to conserve the country’s staple food.

Studies made by the Philippine Rice Research Institute showed that Filipinos waste an average of two tablespoons of cooked rice or 9 grams of uncooked rice on a daily basis.

The Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology also said each Filipino reportedly waste an average of 3.29 kilos of rice every year.

Such wastage reaches around 296,869 metric tons or around P8 billion in terms of value. (MindaNews)