FOOD SAFETY: CSOs Task Government On Food Safety Laws, As Food Poisoning Soars

food safety

FRA Executive Director Agnes Kirabo, SEATINI U Peninah Mbabazi and Rose Betty Aguti from CARITAS during the presser ahead of this years’s World Food Safety day

By Our Reporter

KAMPALA, Uganda [SHIFTMEDIA] Uganda will join the rest of the world on June 7 to celebrate the World Food Safety Day amidst growing concerns of increased food poisoning.

At the backdrop of these concerns, civil society organisations (CSOs) working on trade, the right to food, health, land, investment and agriculture have tasked government to sort the “mess”.

The CSOs echoed their concerns at a presser held at the SEATINI Uganda offices in Kampala. In line with this year’s theme, “Food standards saves lives”, Agnes Kirabo the Executive Director Food Rights Alliance (FRA) said when it is not safe, it is not food. “No body is safe in Uganda regarding the food that we eat. 75% of what we eat is poison filled with chemicals. 85% of the vegetables we eat are laced with pesticides that cause liver cancer,” said Kirabo,

She noted with dismay that fact that the aflatoxin filled maize that was rejected in neighboring Kenya was not destroyed but ended up being consumed by Ugandans, especially school going children. “Now another millions of tons has been banned in South Sudan, it will end up in stomachs of Ugandans. Can someone show us where the maize that was banned from Kenya was incinerated from? She called upon Ugandans as consumers to start enforcing safety standards right from when they purchase goods from the market, and supermarkets.

Peninnah Mbabazi the Trade and Policy Investments Analyst at SEATINI said food safety is a critical concern that affects the health and well-being of individuals.

“According to the World Health Organization (WHO) at least 600 million people worldwide suffer from food borne illnesses, with at least 420,000 dying every year. In Africa, about 91 million people fall sick each year from foodborne diseases,” said Mbabazi.

Jonah Lubega the Program Coordinator Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) said Uganda wouldnot achieve the sustainable Development Goal SSD) no. 20 come 2030 when we still have a high rate of people dying of hunger.

“We are still using the 1964 Food and Drug Act which is very old and needs amendment. We need new food law that is comprehensive, and good for us all as a country,” said Lubega


85% of vegetables in Uganda are laced with chemicals

Betty Rose Aguti, the Coordinator Uganda National Farmers Common Voice Platform wondered why food in Uganda is not safe and why government is not acting to address this issue. “No vegetable is safe in Uganda. We are sitting on a time bomb as Ugandans, and we need to rise up. I urge government to review these obsolete laws,” said Aguti.

Aisha Ntabadde from the Consumer Consent Uganda, the firm that seeks to protect Ugandan consumers from contaminated food. “The responsibility of consuming safe food starts with you. It is your responsibility as a consumer to ensure safe food. How often do you check for that expiry date of the product you are buying from the grocery?” asked Ntabadde.

Tabaro Denis from the African Institute of Culture and Ecology noted that agriculture goes hand in hand with culture. “Traditionally we never used to spray food. Food would be kept in granaries for even three years and eaten with no issues,” said Tabaro. He said the improved seeds currently in the market cannot survive without pesticides. “Our farmers think that if they don’t spray, they won’t get better yields,” said Tabaro.


The CSOs tasked to government to amend the Food and Drugs Act 1964, structure the fragmented food mandate scattered across many Ministries and Agencies. They also demanded that the issue of food safety be fully encompassed in Uganda’s legislation.

“Food labeling should be emphasized. Standards and proliferation of counterfeits should be reinforced,” explained Mbabazi Peninnah. The CSOs also urged government to invest in data collections, promote sustainable agricultural practices, and improve post-harvest handling among others.

Shift Media News

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