Uganda: WFP, Government Sued Over Contaminated Food

New arrival refugees receive daily food rations of maize grains (posho) and beans at Imvepi settlement.

Kampala — An anti-counterfeit body has petitioned court to declare that the supply of contaminated food by World Food Programme (WFP) to the people of Karamoja violated international standards.

In March this year, food poisoning occurred, which left 296 people sick and four dead in Napak and Amudat districts.

It is alleged that the victims suffered mental illness, vomiting, headache, high fever and abdominal pains in communities resulting from consuming the super cereal corn soya blend supplied to Karamoja Sub-region by WFP.

In the case filed before Kampala High Court, the Anti-Corruption Network (ACN) is seeking declaration that the supply of contaminated food was due to the negligence of WFP, the Health ministry and government.

Through its lawyers, Muwema and Company Advocates, ACN is seeking a declaration that WFP is liable for the injuries and deaths.

"A declaration that the failure by the health minister and government to cause the reprimand, sanction or prosecution of the first respondent (WFP), its agents or servants for the acts and omissions is an act of connivance against the public which is illegal, irrational and procedurally irregular," the petition reads in part.

It is alleged that the act of supplying contaminated food is capable of causing widespread serious bodily injury and death is an act of bio-terrorism which is criminal.

In May, the Ministry of Health issued a public statement indicating that the laboratory tests had revealed the food had bacterial contamination and the potential cancer causing aflatoxins.

The petitioners state that WFP has a duty to ensure that food aid supplied to various communities is of quality and free from any adverse substances.

Court is yet to set a hearing date.

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