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Gov’t, dispatches poisoned food samples to Kenya and South Africa for testing

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The government and World Food Program (WFP) have dispatched samples of super cereal, a fortified blended food to Intertek Kenya LTD, a laboratory based in Mombasa and Intertek testing Services S.A. LTD in Johannesburg South Africa for analysis, according to Health Minister Dr Ruth Jane Aceng.

This follows reported deaths arising out of the consumption of the suspected poisoned food that was being supplied by WFP.

The food was distributed early this months through 44 government health centres in Karamoja sub region with the aims of improving nutrition among pregnant or breastfeeding women, and children aged between six and 59 months in order to prevent stunting.

Minister Acheng said her ministry received an alert through its surveillance teams on the ground in Karamoja about suspected food poisoning prior to distribution by WFP.

A total of 262 people have been affected since 12th March with symptoms of mental confusion, vomiting, headache, high fever and abdominal pain, this prompted WFP to suspend the distribution process of food.

The minister said two lives have been lost in Lorengechora, Lookit village, Napak district and another female in Amuna village in Karita Sub County, Amudat district.

DR Acheng said, samples of super cereal stocks and water were taken from the affected areas including blood, vomitus and urine from patients and are currently being analyzed at the Directorate of Government Analytical Laboratory and the Central Public Health Laboratory.

“Preliminary results of the Government investigation are expected in the next 24 hours. Results from Kenya and South Africa are expected within the next five to seven days. Tests are aimed at establishing whether there is a connection between recent illnesses reported in two districts of Napak and Amudat,” she said at media centre.

Acheng said, Investigating teams from the Ministry of Health and WFP food technologists remain on the ground carrying out surveillance and epidemiological mapping to establish the associated factors and possible causes of this recent illness.

“WFP has distributed Super Cereal in Uganda for the past 10 years. Super Cereal is also distributed in many countries and 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,” she said.

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