Uganda: Health Officials Issue Rules for Grasshopper Dealers

3 December 2019

Masaka Municipality leaders have issued guidelines for grasshopper vendors following concerns of poor hygiene.

Dr Patrick Kasekende, the municipal health officer, said they will start impromptu inspections of the areas where vendors operate. He added that the vendors are also required to wear aprons and stop spreading the insects on streets.

"We have come up with new laws to guide our vendors, which include putting on aprons, having leaders and routine supervision from health inspectors in areas where they are sold," he told journalists yesterday.

Dr Kasekende said they have received at least 20 cases related to poor grasshopper hygiene.

He said they have discovered that some vendors are selling rotten grasshoppers, which they mix with preservatives that are dangerous to humans.

Mr John Behangane, the town clerk, revealed that more than 500 vendors in Nyendo, Kyabakuza, Buddu Street, Elgin Street and Saaza, spread grasshoppers in dirty places where they get into contact with germs. Mr Siraje Luyima, a councillor representing Katwe Butego, said poor hygiene among grasshopper vendors is a growing concern.

"Our people are complaining that vendors, in a bid to keep the grasshoppers for a long period without going bad, use chemicals, which we suspect to be the source of these complications," he said.

Mr Henry Sekabira, a resident of Kimanya Kyabakuza Sub-county, said after eating the grasshoppers, his family members started vomiting. "We had had a normal meal but after a few minutes, one of my daughters started complaining of headache before all of us started vomiting. We were taken to a nearby clinic," Mr Sekabira said.

However, Mr Ben Sempijja, the vice chairperson of Masaka Grasshoppers Association, dismissed reports that some vendors use dangerous chemicals to preserve grasshoppers.

"It is not true to say that vendors use chemicals to treat grasshoppers because they also consume them. Vendors have no capacity to buy such chemicals but we suspect that dealers from other districts are the ones who brought contaminated grasshoppers," he said. Masaka is a hub of grasshoppers between November and December.

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