All food establishments in Dubai will soon have to display their calorie content on their menus, the Dubai Municipality has announced.
The new rule will apply to restaurants, cafeterias and cafes with more than five branches from November.
In the second and final phase, all food establishments will have to adhere to the ruling by January 2020, the municipality said.
The measures are being taken to ensure customers are aware of the nutritional value of the food they consume at restaurants.
The Dubai Municipality will be the first local authority in the country to implement such a rule.
Dawoud Al Hajri, director-general of the Dubai Municipality, said: “The municipality’s initiative is to oblige food establishments to be fully transparent in declaring calories on all foods, in order to give consumers the ability to choose food that suits their health status.
“It is an innovative programme, through which the municipality will encourage restaurants to provide healthy and tasty meals to consumers and help achieve the Dubai Municipality’s vision of developing a happy and sustainable city.”
The initiative is particularly targeted at consumers who resort to unhealthy food choices due to their availability and accessibility, he said.
“It is also due to the keenness of the municipality to encourage food establishments to provide balanced and healthy meals, enhance the health of the community, and contribute to protecting people against diseases caused by unhealthy meals,” added Al Hajri.
The UAE has been taking several measures to tackle the problem of obesity in the country, including early intervention programmes for children and drafting a public health law.
According to the results of the 2017-2018 National Health Survey – revealed in March – the percentage of obese individuals has now reduced to 27.8 per cent, from 37.2 per cent in 2010.