While front of package warning labels (FOPWL) are a priority for the Government, more must be done to ensure Barbadians are incentivised and that healthier foods become more accessible. In addition, Minister of Energy and Business Senator Lisa Cummins believes that during the transition to FOPWL, local manufacturers must be given enough time to transition, so they are not disadvantaged.
During the Barbados Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition’s (BCOP) Pathway to Octagonal Front FOPWL, at Accra Beach Hotel, Christ Church yesterday, Cummins pledged to support the cause. However, she pointed out some factors that she said had to be addressed.
“The Government of Barbados is committing to the front of package labelling, to ensure that Barbadian consumers, citizens and those visiting our nation are able to see what they are consuming and are making responsible choices. If I choose to pick up a product that has high salt content, it has to be because I have chosen to do so, not because I don’t know it has a high salt content. That is the core of the issue here,” she said.
During her feature address which was entitled Roadmap to FOPWL, Cummins referenced a study by the deputy principal at the University of the West Indies and economics, Professor Winston Moore, which assessed the taxation and cost structure of healthy items and unhealthy foods.
“We are committed to working with you to see what a healthy basket of goods looks like. We are committed to seeing how I can pay less for healthier items up front as opposed to paying a surcharge if I want to eat brown rice versus white rice.