Barbados tackles unhealthy food environments

Healthy food alternatives on display (Photo via Health Caribbean Coalition)
Healthy food alternatives on display (Photo via Health Caribbean Coalition)

The Barbados Ministry of Health and the Barbados National NCD Commission on Friday, 24 March, 2017, hosted a national consultation on Healthy Foods for Barbadians under the theme ‘Affordable, Safe and Nutritious Food: Combatting NCDs’ (Non-Communicable Diseases).

The multi-sector meeting, which saw representation by schoolchildren, faith-based organisations and the local chamber of commerce, was opened by Sir Trevor Hassell, Chair of the Barbados National NCD Commission and President of the HCC. In his opening remarks, Sir Trevor highlighted the staggering impact of NCDs by asking participants to stand if they had an NCD. He then asked those with affected family members to stand. The entire room stood. The powerful exercise harkened back to the early days of HIV and AIDS activism and had an immediate and profound impact on delegates.

Acting PAHO/WHO Representative, Dr. Peter Cowley, followed with fulsome praise for the Barbados national NCD prevention and control response citing the implementation of the SSB tax, the National NCD Commission’s 10-year anniversary and the impact the collective efforts have had on the general public. He ended by sharing a recent experience in a Barber shop when two young men were discussing the unhealthiness of a national staple dish – macaroni pie. This is progress he remarked, when everyday people are discussing NCDs in their everyday lives. (more…)

Introducing banana pasta

Tonya Ifill preparing another batch of green bananas. (Photo by Ricardo Leacock via Barbados Nation)
Tonya Ifill preparing another batch of green bananas. (Photo by Ricardo Leacock via Barbados Nation)
‘Anything you do with normal flour you can do with banana flour. You are replacing the white flour with a healthy alternative. It has a sweet taste but there’s no sugar. I’ve found that when you dry out products, you get a little sweetness.’ – Tonya Ifill
IF ONE ENTREPRENEUR has her way, more consumers will be setting aside their wheat, cassava and sweet potato products for those made with green bananas.

Tonya Ifill, owner and operator of Carlesa’s Enterprises pioneered flour and pasta made from the unripened fruit. Ifill was attending Agrofest when she spoke with BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY.

She got the idea while participating in an agro-processing course at the Guyana School of Agriculture. As a group project, participants had to come up with a product that was new to the South American country.

“I did sweet potato and brown rice pasta and got my cousin to export a pasta machine from Canada and I was ready. When I came back [to Barbados], I was looking for something different to work with instead of the same sweet potato and cassava. I researched green bananas, asked around for some and started my trials and it took off from there,” she said.

Read more at: Barbados Nation