Potentially Lethal U.N. ‘Super Cereal’ Blamed for Making Dozens of Ugandans Sick

Children eat porridge, locally known as Uji, as the WFP, The 'World Food Programme' distribute hot meals at the Imvepi Settlement on February 23, 2017 in Imvepi, Uganda. The continuing flow of refugees from South Sudan is putting pressure on the many humanitarian partners and their capacity to cope with …
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The World Food Program (WFP) for the second time this year stopped distributing a “nutritious porridge” known as “Super Cereal” across Uganda pending an investigation into food poisoning concerns, the Daily Monitor learned this week.

Until late last month, WFP continued to distribute the “Super Cereal” even after learning of a potential connection between illnesses — some fatal —and consumption of the porridge.

In an August 30 statement recently obtained by Uganda’s Daily Monitor and signed by Ryan Anderson, the food agency’s deputy director and officer-in-chargee in Uganda, WFP declared:

With immediate effect, the WFP is suspending the distribution of Super Cereal (CSB+) in all the nutrition’s programs in Uganda.

This action is taken out of an abundance of cautions while a case of potential food contamination/ poisoning is investigated in Palabek settlement. The government and WFP are working closely together to determine whether there is a link between Super Cereal consumption and people falling sick.

On Tuesday, the Daily Monitor further revealed that “the [WFP] agency impounded more than 21,000 tonnes of the product, pending the outcome of safety tests.”

The recent decision to suspend the distribution of Super Cereal in Uganda is not without precedent.

In March, the U.N. agency reportedly halted the dispensation of the porridge after health officials linked the “Super Cereal” to the death of four people and making nearly 300 others sick.

“Health workers said that all patients presented symptoms of mental disorder after eating the flour,” the Daily Monitor pointed out, referring to WFP’s decision in March.

WFP reportedly began probing the matter following the four deaths.

Dr. Charles Akia Oyo, the health director in Lamwo District reportedly confirmed that officials admitted 33 people into the region’s health center after they consumed the porridge.

“We admitted 33 people from Palabek settlement camp, and we discharged them on Friday, and they are recovering,” he proclaimed.

Dr. Oyo noted that there are more people undergoing food poisoning examinations linked to Super Cereal at the health facility.

He indicated that “those admitted were vomiting and complained of stomach upsets.”

“The situation is calm, and there is no cause for alarm because we have not received any new cases since Saturday,” he proclaimed.

WFP is working on reducing the impact of the potentially tainted food supply, Brenda Akuruchet, a spokeswoman for the U.N. agency, told the Daily Monitor.

“WFP is still working out what options are best and determining the best way forward to minimize the negative impact on activities,” she said.

John Komakech Ogwok, the Lamwo District chairperson, urged the government also to investigate the root cause of the health problems attributed to “Super Cereal.”

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