Food ban

Barbados looking to restrict 'unhealthy’ imports

With the cost of treating Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) spiraling out of control, Minister of Health John Boyce today warned that Barbados had now reached the stage where restrictions would have to be placed on certain food imports.

Addressing a regional NCD forum, Boyce did not provide any details on the plan, but he said one of the biggest issues facing Government was the quality of foods coming into the island.
The Minister of Health also pointed out that Barbados was not the only country having problems controlling the rate of NCDs, and that some had already gone the route of restricting imports.

Minister of Health John Boyce
Minister of Health John Boyce

“If we can get our children to eat healthy, if we can get parents to ensure that the diets provided to children are healthy, if we can get our manufacturers and importers to import healthy diets, we would have gone a long way in starting to shape the patterns which we would love to see evolve with the treatment and fight against NCDs,” Boyce said.

Additionally, with the 2015 Budget less than two weeks away, the Minister said he felt the time had come for taxation and legislation to be implemented to help in the fight against NCDs.

“I know that the private sector has had discussions with the Minister of Finance and the Ministry of Finance as they prepare the 2015 Budget which will be delivered on the 2015 of June. It is time that Barbados looks at taxation maybe and legislation to tackle even more strenuously the question of the causes of NCDs,” Boyce suggested.

He also cautioned players in both the alcohol and tobacco industries of the need to work more closely with Government to help reduce the number of NCD cases while stating that the Ministry of Health was leading the charge of looking at the country’s student population in a very serious way.

“I believe, and we believe, that the battle against NCDs is an investment. The team at the Ministry often refers to it as something, which we as a country, will reap the benefits from maybe ten years from now,” he told participants of this morning’s Caribbean NCD Private Sector Forum, which was held at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel.

The Minister of Health also insisted that while most Barbadians still obtained treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, it meant that the state owned health care institution bore the brunt of the financial burden.

However, Boyce said all of the various stakeholders needed to work together if the fight against NCDs was to be a successful one.

“If we can prevent the NCD from occurring in the first place then we would have done a lot of good work. The [health] bill eventually sits at our feet, and that bill eventually lands more often than not at the QEH where Barbadians obtain health care. But that bill continues to spiral out of control as we try to contain and to treat the effects of NCDs,” the Minister complained.

14 Responses to Food ban

  1. Patrick Blackman June 5, 2015 at 6:40 am

    The only serious way to fight this is through education, banning stuff only creates a black market for goods. Make it part of the school curriiculum “health lifestyles” that each child would have pass to graduate.

  2. Alex Alleyne June 5, 2015 at 7:22 am

    I have said over and over and I am saying it again “BAN the sugar water that PINE HILL is selling for JUICE”.

    • Kevin June 6, 2015 at 8:46 am


  3. Patrick Blackman June 5, 2015 at 7:26 am

    @Alex Alleyne: Man it is really sugar water, came home 2 years ago and had some, just could not find the juice in the juice.

  4. jus me June 5, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Pinehill is Gubbermint innit?

    HMMmm.Summat ent right der.

    Case of F D M W O D B
    Flappin De Mout Widout Operatin De Brain.

    NCD = NON Composmentis Drivel

  5. Mac10 June 5, 2015 at 9:15 am

    A great start. But a ban is not necessary, what is required is a mandatory lowering of salt & sugar in both imported & locally made foods & drinks (Pine Hill juices are like drinking liquid sugar!)

    If you want to ban something, ban the vendors selling rubbish to kids in & around schools.

    Increase the price of cigarettes & put the money to QEH & make sure it goes there & doesn’t disappear on new SUV’s

    Lower the cost of living so people can actually afford to eat healthily.

    Educate the people is a must also as people looking after themselves before they get sick is the key to the issue. The Gov can only do so much, the people have to take responsibility for themselves & their health as well.

  6. Artneal Bear Abbey
    Artneal Bear Abbey June 5, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    How can poor people afford to buy these healthy foods? The only thing healthy that we can afford to eat is veg.

  7. Josh June 5, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    I would suggest sweet potatoe pie with added sugar and a pineapple and cherry a top; alongside fried chicken; fried necks and wings; macaroni pie; ham; pudding and souse and the list goes on is having as much if not more of an impact on people’s waistlines and health than anything the country imports. The answer lies in education, from school age citizens need to understand how a poor diet impacts their health. Instead of adding extra taxes which will only be passed onto the consumer, if there is a serious desire to tackle the problem, the answer in part is to reduce the costs associated with growing and buying locally sourced healthy foods as well as embarking on a health education initiative.

  8. jus me June 5, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    What absolute drivel.
    and from an obvious FAT GUTS

  9. Kevin June 6, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Bajans have high taste, many have mauby pockets. You can eat healthy with many locally grown foods. I use to hear folks say all the time that eating healthier is more expensive. But for me Ive found eating healthier is less expensive. Recently for a medical issue, i had to cut out certain foods and eat ‘healthier’. My reality is that I am not spending as much money in food as i use to. Yam, pumpkin, green banana, sweet potato (for the most part), eddoe, etc very affordable. Even imported items such as broccoli is very affordable. The thing that I had to sped money on was the canola and olive oil but Ive cut down my frying and boil/bake the majority of my food.

  10. Angela Fergusson June 7, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    This is a constructive and proactive move, and hopefully most of us will get the message.
    We must cut back on the amount of sugar and simple carbohydrates! Our health concerns are at a troubling stage, particularly where diabetes and hypertension are concerned. We need to accept the help from our Government through certain food cutbacks, as well as education on healthy food choices; (google information on healthy eating, check with the local information on healthy nutrition, listen to health conscious caring friends and neighbours, and take action! Kindly look after your beautiful bodies, we want them to last!


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