All Dubai restaurants must display calorie content of meals by January
Restaurants with more than five branches, such as fast food outlets, must comply with legislation by November
All restaurants in Dubai must display the calorie content of every meal they serve by January of next year, as part of a drive to improve the health of the emirate.
Dubai Municipality said it was bringing the new ruling into force to encourage eateries to provide more nutritious options for diners.
The initiative will be key to the National Nutrition Agenda, 2017-2021, an ongoing effort to boost the eating habits of residents.
“Dubai Municipality's initiative is to oblige food establishments to be fully transparent in declaring calories on all foods to give consumers the ability to choose food that suits their health status,”said Dawoud Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality.
“It is an innovative programme of Dubai Municipality and through it, the Municipality will encourage restaurants to provide healthy and tasty meals to consumers to achieve Dubai Municipality's vision of developing a happy and sustainable city.”
Results from a recent government health survey, spread over five years, found obesity had decreased by a quarter since 2010.
Previous studies revealed the UAE had higher than average obesity rates, although doctors retain concerns over childhood obesity.
More than 40 per cent of children are either overweight or obese, health authorities estimate.
The UAE National Agenda, which was developed by over 300 officials from 90 federal and local government entities, includes a set of national indicators in the sectors of education, healthcare, economy, police and security, housing, infrastructure and government services.
A 2018 YouGov survey of more than 1,000 Emiratis found men were more likely to eat out than women.
It also found men are more likely to Google a menu’s calorie content with 65 per cent of people eating out at least once a week.
The first compliance deadline will be the beginning of November for restaurants, cafeterias and cafes with more than five branches.
The second phase will be in January 2020, which will include all restaurants, catering establishments and hotels.
Dubai Municipality said is the first local authority to make menu calorie information compulsory.
“This initiative comes with the increasing pace of life, where consumers resort to unhealthy food choices due to their availability and accessibility,” said Mr Al Hajri.
“It is also due to the keenness of the municipality to encourage the food establishments to provide balanced and healthy meals to enhance the health of the community.
“This is their contribution to the protection of diseases caused by unhealthy meals.”
Updated: May 20, 2019 09:46 AM