Breaking

Three Parallel Inquiries Underway on Contaminated Relief Food

Top story
This follows reports that three people died from Matany Hospital, Napak District on March 16, and two others from within the communities, as a result of complications developed after consuming the food. Reports indicate that a total of 262 people had developed mental confusion, high fever and abdominal pain after consuming the same food within a space of one week.
A World Vision worker checks food ration at Nyumanzi WFP stores before dispatch to the settelements.

Audio 3

Three parallel investigations are underway into the possible contamination of super cereal, a fortified blended food that was distributed by the World Food Programme to prevent malnutrition in Karamoja sub-region.    

This follows reports that three people died from Matany Hospital, Napak District on March 16, and two others from within the communities, as a result of complications developed after consuming the food. Reports indicate that a total of 262 people had developed mental confusion, high fever and abdominal pain after consuming the same food within a space of one week.

Three separate teams are now investigating the connection between the deaths, the illnesses and the food, which according to WFP has a robust record of fighting malnutrition and protecting pregnant or nursing women against malnutrition during the first 1,000 days of their child’s life.  

According to WFP, Super Cereal is a key component in support of the Government’s nutrition programmes that aim to prevent stunting or life-threatening malnutrition.  

Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng says that samples of Super Cereal stocks, blood, vomitus and urine from patients, and water which was taken from the affected areas are currently being analyzed at the Directorate of Government Analytical Laboratory and the Central Public Health Laboratory.  

Additional food samples have been sent to a laboratory in Mombasa, Intertek Kenya LTD and another in Johannesburg Intertek Testing Services, S.A. LTD, for further analysis. According to Aceng, preliminary results of the Government investigation are expected in the next 24 hours while results from abroad are expected within a week. 

//Cue in; “Government and the…  

Cue out…Government analytical laboratory.”//  

Karamoja Affairs Minister Eng. John Byabagambi says the supply of the food has been temporarily halted as a precautionary measure until investigations are concluded. WFP is already working with district authorities to retrieve all Super Cereal stocks from health centres and communities.   

Byabagambi adds that the investigators will seek to find out why the food affected residents of Napak and Amudat, yet the same food was distributed to all districts of Karamoja. 

Cue in; “But particularly, those…   

Cue out…affected the people.”// 

World Food Program Country Director El Khidir Daloum says that Super Cereal undergoes all the verifications of quality control before being distributed to needy communities and that no previous complaints have been reported about the product over the years. 

Daloum says they still have 3500 tonnes of super cereals whose supply is halted. He equally calls for more research on why the food affected only two communities out of the eight districts in the region where it was distributed. 

//Cue in; “When it comes…  

Cue out…level of standards”// 

WFP says that it has provided Super Cereal in Uganda for more than 10 years. The current coverage of Super Cereal is at 252 locations in Karamoja in addition to many sites across the 13 refugee hosting districts, where refugees receive Super Cereal in the general food basket.