HAVANA TIMES — The photo is of a so-called “hot dog” label (a kind of sausage which is widely consumed in Cuba), sold in hard currency among other meat products.
They are quite popular and are used to put together a quick meal and even the bread with “something” snack that mothers despair about improvising for their children’s snack at school.
But, what really caught my attention in particular on this “hot dog” package, was the model in the picture, a young girl.
As the message of the photo isn’t even that subliminal (if you want a healthy, beautiful and strong child, feed them sausages), I raised several questions:
- Do the model’s parents know that the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified processed meats carcinogens for the human race?
- Does the girl who is innocently offering her sausage sandwich know this?
- Why is this essential piece of information not included among the other facts that appear on the packaging?
- Isn’t our Public Health Ministry speaking out against harmful food products which are being sold nationwide, at least the ones that have already been classified by the WHO?
Judging by what’s on the package, the offer is amazing:
Serving suggestion, appears right next to the piece of bread with a hot dog decorated with ketchup and mustard. Saturated fats: 0 kcal, total sugars 0 kcal, energy per packet 460…
A few years ago, because of complaints relating to teenagers roaming the streets and playing tricks during schooltime, the Ministry of Education introduced a session of back-to-back classes in secondary schools across the island.
This was a disaster in every aspect, because of overcrowding, because of the stress that silence created in teenagers without any other stimulus that wasn’t a boring curriculum, mainly taught via teleclasses, and also because of the shortages in food supply.
The government tried to resolve this last issue with a soy yoghurt, which is generally watered down, and a lunchmeat sandwich. On rare occasions, sandwiches were made with melted cheese, and these were better received.
I remember the dogs lurking outside the secondary school, where my son used to study, during this time, getting ready to pounce on the lunchmeat sandwiches that students used to throw out from the higher floors of the school.
The majority of these kids used to eat something their parents had brought in at noon, in plastic containers, which were handed in through the back door, almost as if it were a clandestine act.
I understand the happy situation for abandoned and starved animals, but every time I gave my dog some shavings of lunchmeat that used to come from school lunches, ulcers came out on its skin which secreted pus and really used to sting, and they only went away after treating her with antibiotics.
According to my doctor friend who I consulted for this piece, there is an unfortunate separation between what the market and health institutions offer in almost every country. Some well-developed countries such as Switzerland do make sure that foods classified as “toxic”, such as GMOs etc., aren’t sold.
I understand that every adult is free to eat whatever they want. However, the state-owned market shouldn’t be officially selling products that have been identified as harmful to our health, without the customer knowing this, and they should put a warning on the packaging like they do with cigarette packs.
And even though the product that led me to write this article was made in Mexico, with everything the Cuban government takes great pride in to protect children, they shouldn’t be using the photo of a little girl to promote a carcinogenic food product.