This Island Just Banned Junk Food

Torba, a province of Vanuatu in the South Pacific, has restricted imports of Western foods and is encouraging inhabitants to grow organic crops.

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03 February 2017, 12:45pm

Torba is a province of Vanuatu, a nation of around 80 islands in the South Pacific. Go there and you'll find tropical fruits hanging from the trees and fresh seafood. But you won't be able to have an ice cream on the beach or even rice with your evening meal.

Last week, Father Luc Dini, chairman of the Torba Tourism Council, announced that the province would no longer be importing Western junk or convenience foods in an attempt to encourage the 10,000 or so inhabitants to grow organic crops and eat only local produce.

Well, that's one way to stick to your healthy eating kick.

READ MORE: This Man Is Helping the Entire Country of Bhutan Go Organic

In a statement, Dini explained that the ban would cover foods like rice, noodles, sweets, biscuits, and tinned fish and meat. He added that Torba has enough locally produced food—including fish, shellfish, taro, yams, and paw paw—for the population to sustain itself and feed tourists who stay on the island. It's not yet clear whether alcohol will be included in the ban.

And the reasoning behind it? To protect Torba residents' health. Dini claims that sugary Western junk food has already had a detrimental impact on other islands within the Vanuatu nation. According to the Guardian, he said: "In other provinces that have adopted Western diets, you see pretty young girls but when they smile, they have rotten teeth because the sugar has broken down their teeth. We don't want that to happen here and we don't want to develop the illnesses that come with a Western junk food diet."

He continued: "It is easy to boil noodles or rice, but they have almost no nutritional value and there is no need to eat imported food when we have so much local food grown organically on our islands."

READ MORE: Inside the Galapagos Islands' First Organic Coffee Farm

Alongside the new food import restrictions, Torba Tourism Council also laid out its plan to become entirely organic by 2020. It follows in the footsteps of the Bhutan, located on the eastern side of the Himalayas, which has been phasing out the use of agricultural chemicals since 2011 in an attempt to become entirely pesticide- and fertiliser-free.

Dini added: "If you really want to live on a paradise of your own, then you should make do with what you have and try and live with nature."

Still, bet they're going to miss those beachside Calippos.