KAMPALA (Reuters) – Uganda is investigating a supply of food from the World Food Programme (WFP) after three people died and more than 150 others became sick in recent days, police said.
The food was part of a community feeding programme in northeast Karamoja region, a semi-arid area where the United Nations food agency has long provided food aid for people facing poor harvests.
People suffered diarrhoea, nose bleeds and other health problems after eating the food, police said in a statement late on Monday.
Police are “actively investigating the death of three people…from eating adulterated or poisonous food supplied by the World Food Programme,” according to the statement.
Samples of the food and patients’ urine and blood had been sent to a government laboratory for analysis.
WFP was not immediately available to comment on the police investigation.
The food agency said on Saturday it had suspended distribution of Super Cereal – a fortified blended food – at all its operations in Uganda.
“From the outset, WFP has treated this as a matter of extreme urgency,” the agency said.
Uganda hosts a large population of refugees mostly from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo where widespread insecurity has uprooted hundreds of thousands of people.
(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Omar Mohammed and Darren Schuettler)