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Experts Warn Against Stocking Up Refined Food

Apart from this, Kirabo says their field visits are revealing that some unscrupulous farmers are using chemicals to induce produce such as beans and maize to dry faster than they should in a bid to sale faster something she worries could be behind the raising levels of cancer as consumers literally eat these chemicals away.

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Experts in food safety have expressed concerns on food quality and storage pointing to the restrictions in movement due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission that had people ignorantly stock food while in panic.

Nutritionist Dr. Paul Kasenene says when the lockdown was announced in March many rushed to stock dry rations yet they only need to eat less of these.

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Experts note that while there are challenges of substandard food on the market, a lot of it equally gets contaminated at home especially in urban areas where both cooked and uncooked food is kept in refrigerators, often in plastic containers never designed to be kept under cold conditions.

When it comes to dry cereals, they say are never kept in airtight containers at home, which makes food more vulnerable.

Speaking to Uganda Radio Network - URN on Monday, just a day after the world marked world food safety day, Agnes Kirabo, the Executive Director of a nutrition advocacy Organization Food Rights Alliance (FRA) said the lockdown and the move by government to supply food rations just exposed this with complaints of expiry and contamination rising. 

Though the issue of aflatoxicins in the food donations has been countered with government coming out to clear the air after Uganda National Bureau of standards found 28% of it unsuitable, Kirabo says there were no clarifications on whether or not the milk was expired as it was claimed.

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Apart from this, Kirabo says their field visits are revealing that some unscrupulous farmers are using chemicals to induce produce such as beans and maize to dry faster than they should in a bid to sale faster something she worries could be behind the raising levels of cancer as consumers literally eat these chemicals away.

As organizations that advocate for food safety she said, they are planning a campaign where together with government will come up with a tracking system and whistle blowers to have such farmers arrested. 

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Currently, however, an estimated 1.3million Ugandans diagnosed with foodborne diseases annually.

According to Ministry of Health figures, one in ten people will fall sick after eating contaminated food. While some will get easily treatable illnesses, Kirabo says some end up with stomach ulcers whose treatment leads to catastrophic expenditure and death. 

According to her, most food processing in the country is done using ungraded technologies which increases the risk of sickness.

“The use of nonfood graded machines results in the iron of these machines mixing with the processed food. Consumption of such machine particles has been highly linked to stomach cancer”.

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