Dominica Cancer Society supports front-of-package warning labels for packaged foods

Some 300 Caribbean health professionals and over 40 regional organisations have publicly voiced support for octagonal front of package warning labels to help consumers across the region protect their health and the Dominica Cancer Society is adding its voice to this initiative.

NCDs such as diabetes, cancer and hypertension, are the leading causes of mortality, morbidity and disability in the Caribbean region representing 78% of all deaths and 76% of premature deaths. Additionally, rates of overweight and obesity in the region are among the highest in the world and most worrying among children, where 1 out of every 3 Caribbean children is overweight or obese.

The burden of obesity and NCDs is largely driven by our unhealthy diets which are dominated by processed and ultra-processed foods which contain high sugars, fats and sodium. People living with NCDs and obesity are more susceptible to severe COVID-19 infection. Our countries can and must do better. In building back better and fairer from the pandemic, it is imperative to invest in evidence-based policies and programmes aimed at preventing and treating obesity and NCDs such as FOPWL.

FOPWL is one of a combination of key policies, which have been identified by PAHO/WHO as ‘Best Buys’ to tackle overweight, obesity and diet-related NCDs. Specifically, the octagonal FOPWL scheme allows consumers to quickly, easily and correctly identify packaged foods which are high in critical nutrients of concern. Evidence, including a study1 conducted by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Jamaica, the University of Technology, Jamaica and PAHO, has shown that octagonal warning labels performed better than all other front of pack labelling schemes in improving the capacity of consumers to make healthier food decisions in Jamaica. This study validates the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards & Quality [CROSQ] proposal to use the octagonal warnings on food and drink products throughout the Caribbean.

With just about two weeks left until the CARICOM voting deadline, organisations and professionals across the region are sending a strong message to CARICOM that it is time to deliver on commitments made by our leaders since the 2007 Port of Spain Declaration to prioritise the prevention of NCDs through strong policies.

The Dominica Cancer Society stands in support of this strong and effective policy to combat the alarming NCD rates in Dominica and the wider Caribbean. Octagonal front-of-package warning labels are an important part of a comprehensive strategy to protect the health and wealth of all our people – regardless of age, socioeconomic status, literacy level and native language. We urge decision makers to act now to make this a reality.

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  1. If we knew better
    May 31, 2021

    When will the cancer society support the tried and tested natural use of cannabis in early detection stages of Cancer as a viable treatment and possible cure for cancer? When will the cancer society stop acting like cancer is just a business and they will only consider certain treatments but not others? I guess is only when its board of directors actually gets cancer, they will open their minds and have a willingness to consider cannabis treatments. All they love to push is chemotherapy which more kills you than cures you. for years many people have said that Cancer is a business and the pharma companies, doctors, cancer societies and associations profit from it by not curing, only treating. See the video i have posted for some consideration. Until the cancer society gets serious about cancer by advocating and exercising every option and not just talking, i cant take them seriously.

  2. Shem
    May 29, 2021

    So right, this is y I stop buying restaurant food..they stuff it with cubes..I have been in some restaurants and their kitchens are loaded with cubes and Sazon smh and people say oh their food is tasty..not me allu catching my natural seasoning all the way.

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