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The Consumer

Calorie labeling is most welcome


The new food and drug circular requiring food manufacturers, including fastfood chains, to indicate clearly and properly the energy or calorie content of their products is a most welcome development.

As many nutrition experts have pointed out, just labelling something as “low cal(orie)” or “lite” does not help people wanting to lose weight. Many people over-indulge in these so-called low-cal or lite items, thinking they cannot exceed the recommended daily caloric intake.

Of course, over-consumption of these lite or low-cal products can add up to a significant amount of calories that may even exceed the amount in regular food items. If energy or calorie content is clearly marked on food labels, consumers will be able to do the simple addition required to find out how many calories they are actually getting every time they eat.


Reader Lilibeth C. Remolona is strongly protesting her bill from the Manila Electric Company. The problem stemmed from their electric meter being infested with ants which, according to Meralco, distorted readings of actual consumption.

Remolona raised several issues, but what I found interesting was that it seemed Meralco could not understand why their consumption dropped significantly after a span of several months. She said the power company was being unfair in its calculations and for failing to take into account their efforts to reduce their energy consumption in response to calls from environmentalists for conservation.

She could not understand why Meralco seemed to think that their consumption should remain practically unchanged and could not believe that they would be using less energy.

Actually, Remolona is not alone. I have been hearing similar stories about people being charged for higher usage after some problems with their electric meters. One story I heard was that a couple of senior citizens was even suspected of tampering with the meter when it was found to be defective, despite the fact that only the two of them lived in the house and they were too weakened by various health problems to be tinkering with gadgets, particularly an electric meter.

I myself had a similar problem years ago so I can fully relate to Remolona’s situation. Until now I could not understand why the average monthly consumption they came up with was higher than my highest monthly bill. Perhaps that is new mathematics.

From the little I know of math, I expected the average to result from adding charges for a certain number of months then dividing the total by that same number of months, resulting in a figure which is higher than the lowest but lower than the highest amount.

CCTV in Bench stores

Reader Mity Chua, who complained about the lack of closed circuit television (CCTV) at the Bench branch in SM North Edsa that would have helped her identify the thief who stole her wallet inside the store, might be interested to know that the well-known chain will be installing security cameras soon.

Honorio Pascual, who is in charge of store operations, said they were already in the process of installing CCTV cameras in all branches, in coordination with the malls where they were located.

Apologizing for Chua’s unfortunate experience, he expressed his disappointment that, despite the training they gave store personnel on customer service, the SM branch crew did not seem to know what to do to help Chua.



Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts, 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail lbolido@inquirer.com.ph.

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Tags: Calorie Labeling , calories , Consumer Issues , Food , Lifestyle

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