Yogurt, Scarce and Bad / 14ymedio, Orlando Palma
Posted on November 11, 2015
14ymedio, Orlando Palma, 11 November 2015 – The shortage of soy yogurt
in the regulated market has worsened in recent weeks, and this product
intended for children between 7 and 13* years of age is also
characterized by its low quality.
The shortage of soy yogurt has worsened in recent weeks in the regulated
market where the product intended for children aged seven to thirteen
years it is also characterized by its low quality.
Designated mostly for the “basic family food ration” and school meals,
soy yogurt began to appear on the island in 2003, but manufacturers have
never been able to fulfill their commitments for 275,500 tons annually.
In the last session of the National Assembly in July, industry officials
blamed the instability of Party managers, technological obsolescence and
the deterioration of refrigeration systems for the distribution problems.
On that occasion, the Minister of the Food Industry, Maria del Carmen
Concepcion, reaffirmed the importance of soy yogurt and agreed on the
urgent need to “find immediate solutions.” However, over the months the
problem has worsened rather than improved.
The points of sale, distributed in each municipality, should be supplied
three times a week, so that each child receives twelve bags in a month.
Consumers complain that the quota is never met, but it is possible to
find the same yogurt in the unregulated markets*.
“It shows up once or occasionally twice a week, but it is not safe,” an
employee of a dairy in Central Havana explained this Tuesday, while a
mother complained that “sometimes it doesn’t arrive for a whole week.”
Consumers also reported a loss of product quality due to failures in
refrigeration and sanitary control.
In some areas the product has been replaced by a powdered mixture to
prepare it, but with little acceptance among customers. “People do not
want it because you need milk to mix it with. Made with just water the
children don’t like it,” says an employee of a market in Havana’s Vibora
Modesto Perez, director of the dairy complex in the capital, explained
the technical problems facing the industry on national television this
week. “Maintaining stability and three operating boilers is complex.
Whenever there is a situation with a boiler, production stops because
steam is essential to the production.”
In the middle of this year the official press announced that nine
million convertible pesos (CUC) would be earmarked to “gradually resolve
the issue of technological obsolescence in the production and
distribution of soy yogurt.” The results are not yet visible to the
Across the country the situation is repeated; the 15 companies that
produce this food are all affected by breakdowns that prevent or hinder
production. The most affected regions, including the capital, are
Bayamo, Guantanamo and Santiago de Cuba.
*Translator’s note: Children under 7 receive a cow’s milk ration in
Cuba; older children do not. See also: Children without milk, and Soy
yogurt meant for children ends up feeding pigs.
Source: Yogurt, Scarce and Bad / 14ymedio, Orlando Palma | Translating