Wheat flour shortage means no Communion hosts in Cuba

wheat flour shortage

The latest problem to come out of Cuba’s economic crisis is a wheat flour shortage.

Besides all the usual wheat flour products the population can no longer access, the shortage means Communion hosts aren’t being made any more.

“We inform all the dioceses that there are no longer hosts for sale,” the St. Teresa Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Havana announced last week.

“We have been working with the little flour that was left and what was in reserve has already run out.

“We hope and trust in the Lord that we can resume work soon, and once we have enough to distribute to all the dioceses, we will notify you.”

In the Catholic Church, Communion hosts may be made only from wheat flour, the Redemptionis Sacramentum instruction says.

“It follows therefore that bread made from another substance, even if it is grain, or if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat to such an extent that it would not commonly be considered wheat bread, does not constitute valid matter for confecting the Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Sacrament.

“It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist.”

Cuba’s wheat flour stocks have been depleting for several months.

At the end of August, the Cuban Ministry of Domestic Trade acknowledged “the difficulties for importing wheat” had worsened.

This was attributed to “the tightening of the blockade, the current international logistics crisis, and the country’s financial limitations.”

The US trade embargo of Cuba does not include food products.

Last month Guantánamo Food Industry director Albis Hernández Díaz said they had ended the week with 60,000 fewer units of bread, affecting homes in the municipalities of Guantánamo, Baracoa and El Salvador.

There is also a shortage of fuel for the bread ovens as well as blackouts, which have been ongoing since Hurricane Ian hit Cuba in September.

“The quality of the bread has been affected by the type of flour available, with less fine grains and loaded with bran or wheat husks, and the use of national yeast with low fermentation power, components that affect the flavour and colour of the bread and, in addition, they slow down the production process,” Díaz said.


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