Fri, Dec 31, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Calorie labeling to be required in all Taipei restaurants

By Wang Hsiao-wen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Beginning next month, restaurants should provide customers with information on the calorie and fat content of the meals they serve, Taipei City health officials said yesterday.

The Taipei City Government's Department of Health will assist all buffet restaurants in the city to label their food more clearly, officials said.

"We believe that the move will improve people's eating habits and help customers make better choices," said the Jiang Yu-mei (姜育美), food and drug control chief at the department.

Starting in the new year, city health officials will implement the food label policy in every buffet restaurant and school cafeteria. To save customers the trouble of calculating calories and fat in every dish, health officials have designed labels in three colors: green labels for vegetables and fruits, yellow for food cooked in oil, and red for food with a high calorie and fat content.

Once implemented, every hotel restaurant, buffet restaurant and school cafeteria will be required to have the colored labelling system.

"We don't want the restaurants to list calories and fat alongside the price of every dish. That will make an easy meal an arduous task," Jiang said.

According to Jiang, too many indicators of nutritional content will only confuse customers. The colored labeling system, Jiang said, is easy to understand and will help customers make rational decisions. The health official also noted that the policy was an advisory one and not compulsory.

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