If you're gonna ban bag juice, ban nutri-buns as well!
THE EDITOR, Sir:
After watching the news on Monday, March 27, 2017, l started thinking about the policy put forward by Senator Ruel Reid, minister of education, about discontinuing the supply of bag juice to schools come September. After much deliberation, I now have more questions than answers to this dilemma.
It was reported that the decision should be taken based on the high sugar content of these juices and how they contribute to more and more persons contracting lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and obesity. While I understand the need for us, as a people, to promote to the young the practice of a healthier diet, I see this position as counter-productive.
A ban on bag juice in schools does not prevent children from having access to it, as it would still be sold by vendors, shops, supermarkets, etc. Parents would still be able to purchase them as part of their children's snacks at home.
To eradicate this product from our children's diet, one would have to ban it totally, but would this move be a prudent one, as many other products contain similar ingredients and, in many cases, a higher sugar content.
WHAT'S THE ALTERNATIVE?
The fundamental question, from where I stand, is what is the alternative to bag juice? Certainly not sodas or other juices that contain artificial favouring, as these have similar sugar content and do, in some cases, greater damage than bag juice.
The nutrition programme the Government provides for students is intended to assist those who cannot always find it to purchase their meals at school.
I applaud the State for wanting to travel a healthier route, but what about the bun that is part of this offered diet? Speaking as a diabetic, the bun is just as dangerous as the juice.
There are other factors to consider as well. A ban on bag juice will definitely affect the man on the corner who makes his living in this way. It will affect the persons who are employed to a factory that manufactures this product.
Since we want take out bag juice out of our children's diet, why not examine buns, bread, rice, which may be just as dangerous for our children?
In the final analysis, it is our own responsibility to ensure that we eat right. Instead of restricting the sale of certain foods, let us look at educating our parents and children about the importance of eating healthy and, ultimately, allow them to freely make that choice instead of arrogantly imposing change through law and policy.