The Health Ministry (KKM) will implement a food calorie labelling pilot project in restaurants and cafeterias early next year to assess if the menu labelling policy is feasible in Malaysia, reported Bernama.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the Nutrition Division will introduce the pilot project in restaurants, as well as fast-food restaurant chains in Putrajaya.
“Currently, we are in the planning stage to identify cafeterias and restaurants that want to participate in this pilot project that will be implemented for at least six months to a year.”
“KKM will prepare the information (calorie count) so that they (entrepreneurs) do not need to spend money on consultants to label their food menus,” he said.
Khairy explained that the calories in restaurants will be analysed by experts from the Nutrition Division by looking at the ingredients needed to produce the dish.
“We just ask for cooperation from the restaurant management so that when the calorie information is ready, it can be placed on the menu in their food outlets,” he said after launching the Putrajaya Anti-Obesity Seminar and Trim&Fit Weight Management Module programme.
Expanding to entire country
Khairy added that the ministry will observe the changes in community behaviour following the implementation of the pilot project before deciding if it will introduce a menu labelling policy in the future.
“After this, KKM in an evidence-based way would examine the data, in terms of the success of the pilot project, before we decide on the mandatory labelling policy because there are countries that have made it mandatory and we will see the effects,” he said.
Khairy said the pilot project will eventually be expanded throughout the country if the pilot project is successful.
Meanwhile, Khairy said that the National Morbidity and Health Survey 2019 (NHMS 2019) found that obesity is prevalent among adults in the nation. The study found that one out of two Malaysians (50.1%) are overweight and obese.
In addition, obesity among civil servants working in government agencies and departments had reached 41.4%.
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