When Going Home at the End of the School Day: Beware, Poison!

FILES: Students are buying food at a school cafeteria in Phnom Penh.

Snacking kills! Shouldn’t we compel industrial producers of low-end snacks to print on their product packaging this slogan along with a really disgusting photo of the ravages of the diseases they cause?

This has been done for cigarettes packets. So why not for those filthy sweet-salted-greasy products designed to lure children when they leave school grounds?

According to an expert recently quoted in the media, 55 percent of Cambodian children would be snacking on these industrial products high in everything that is bad and low in everything that is good for one’s health. 

We can therefore expect an outbreak of non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in the years to come.   

You may say that this is nothing new as this health alert was issued by some health professionals a long time ago. Which is precisely why this is alarming: the fact that this is known and that nothing is being done.  

We let professional poisoners act undisturbed.

Their target clientele is easy prey since they are children. Garish colors on plastic packaging with, inside, sweet or salty snacks that fizz or melt in the mouth for a ridiculously low price, and that does the trick. Here are kids hooked and feeling full without their bodies having been properly fed.

The cynicism of those poisoning-good manufacturers has no end. Those who cannot not know the damage their products cause are targeting the most easily influenced segment of the population.        

To block and prevent them from causing an “epidemic” of non-communicable diseases to be brought upon the country in the coming years, the authorities could at the very least launch nutrition education campaigns in the media. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport could include in the primary school curriculum classes on this topic to help children—and their parents—think about what they eat.        

But the most effective way would certainly be to foil manufacturers’ marketing strategies by compelling them to describe on the outside of their products’ packaging what is inside, that is, poison.   

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