Diners that have had gastric band surgery are only obliged to pay half the bill for restaurant meals in the Brazilian town of Campinas, São Paulo, under legislation which came into effect on Dec. 6.
Restaurant customers will be entitled to a 50-percent discount on their bills if they provide medical proof they have undergone gastric band surgery. The discount only applies to a la carte restaurants, with buffet restaurants excluded from the law.
The Telegraph reported that restaurants are obliged to display a notice advising customers: “This establishment grants discounts and/or half portions to people who have had bariatric surgery or any other gastroplasty..” Failure to comply with the new legislation will result in a fine of $140.
The legislation was proposed in May by Councillor Francisco Sellin. The Daily Mail reported he justified the proposal by saying: "People with a gastric band eat less than half what everyone else eats. If they order a dish from the menu they'll only manage to eat a fraction of it. They shouldn't have to pay the same."
While the obvious solution is for customers to order half-portions or children's meals, Sellin said:
"Most restaurants don't give customers the option of ordering half a portion, leaving people with gastric bands ultimately paying more for the food they eat."
Restaurants have criticized the new legislation.
Brazil is second only to the United States in the number of gastric band surgeries performed in a bid to tackle rising obesity. AFP reported earlier this year that Health Minister Alexandre Padilha said: "There is a tendency toward increased weight and obesity in the country. It's time to reverse the trend to avoid becoming a country like the United States."