Fast food diet queried
Opposition MP Kerrie Symmonds yesterday called on the fast food industry in Barbados to tell the people of this country “the extent to which they are potentially poisoning our systems”.
He added that fast food operators must, as part of their packaging and labelling, inform consumers about how much sodium certain foods contained as well as the possible effects of ingesting sugar.
Quoting Barbadian author George Lamming in relation to Caribbean people “surrendering their palates to the colonial process”, Symmonds said that as Barbados is a mature country, foods sold here must bear compulsory warnings and labels reflecting, for example, the extent to which soft drinks and salted foods were compromising people’s general health.
“We have to accept that the time has come where even in our schools, there are a lot of little children who are being fed diets that are not necessarily the healthiest. I’m not only talking about the school meals but I’m talking about people who get into the school to sell as well and people who pull up outside the school gate and sell,” he told the Lower House during debate on the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure 2014-2015.
“We have, therefore, to establish some sort of a protocol where we are able to have an identification of those things which are acceptable to be sold on the school premises or around them. If we do not take these interventionary steps now, sir, we stand to compromise generations to come,” he added.
Symmonds also asked what the cost overruns were of the St John Polyclinic being constructed at the Glebe, St John.
He asked if it was true that the building would house a welfare department, fire department, the St John Constituency Council, a boutique and a National Library Service branch; and said that the last time he had heard of so many things happening in one project was at Pickering, St Lucy, which was touted as a site for a hotel, 1 200 houses, a bus stand and bus service, a taxi service and child care facility.
“If it is that the St John project is to be all of these things, and has gone beyond just the traditional polyclinic, I’m not knocking it . . . then the Minister of Health should condescend to tell the people what he is doing,” he said. (RJ)